COLOGNI Franco and NUSSBAUM Eric, Cartier, le Joailler du Platine, La bibliothèque des Arts, Paris
NADELHOFFER Hans, « Les pendules Mystérieuses », in Cartier, Editions du Regard, Paris
The Magical Art of Cartier, An Important Collection of Horology, Jewelry and Objects of Vertu, auction sale : Hotel des Bergues, Geneva, Tuesday 19 November 1996, Antiquorum & Etude Tajan.
For similar exemples :
Sotheby’s New York, Important Watches, December 7th 2016, lot 105, Cartier, an exceptional and rare platinum, yellow gold, rock crystal, onyx, mother-of-pearl and diamond-set mystery clock pendule, Mystérieuse Model A, made in 1929
The "Pendules Mystérieuses" or Mystery Clocks were Cartier's masterpieces. Their name is due to the secret movement they jealously hide. Mystery Clocks fascinate for their high level of preciosity and for the ingeniosity of their movement, which requires several months of minutious work. As a matter of fact, an average of one Mystery Clock is produced per year, as each part is made by hand.
It is the result of collaboration of Louis Cartier and the technical skill of Maurice Couët, after a careful study of Mystery Clocks created by Jean-Eugène Robert Houdin. Coüet's invention is based on the principle of an optical illusion. The mystery is in the hands that appear to float in space without any connection to the movement, when, in fact, they are each fixed onto a separate crystal disc. These discs are each surrounded by a tooth-edged border and driven by worm screws fixed at the ends of the two lateral axles, working at the levels of 9 and 3 o'clock, invisibly concealed within the frame. The rotation of the axles is activated by the movement hidden in the base. Therefore, it is not the hands which move but each disc on which they are individually fixed.
The very first Mystery Clock, "Modèle A", was produced in 1913, and sold to JP Morgan; it was rectangular in design and made in rock crystal, enhanced with mother-of-pearl and mounted on a base of onyx, white agate or fluted gold. This model was also offered to the Queen Mary in 1924; in 1945, General Charles de Gaulle chose this model with a lapis-lazuli base for Staline.
 La Gazette du Bon ton, 1925
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