Lot 2528
  • 2528

Cartier "The Lapis Lazuli and Rock Crystal Single Stem Mystery Clock"

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 HKD
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  • height 34 cm, diameter of flower-head dial 13.8 cm
• manual winding lever movement, 15 jewels • the movement housed within a heavy rectangular silver gilt, lapis lazuli and mother-of-pearl base, the single-stem of rock crystal, with silver gilt and diamond-set accents to the top and bottom, the rock crystal dial encased within a blooming silver gilt and mother-of-pearl flower-shaped head, diamond-set bezel, finely decorated and silver gilt diamond-set hands, silver gilt Roman numerals set with diamonds and applied to lapis lazuli cartouche, the reverse with applied diamond-set quarter hour numerals and circular five-minute markers applied to lapis lazuli cartouche • base signed Cartier, Paris and numbered, movement signed


Generally, overall in very nice condition. Base is intact with no chips or blemishes to the lapis or mother-of-pearl, the stem with inclusions in the rock crystal near the base on the right hand side, smaller inclusion near the top of the right side of the stem, dial is clean and clear, movement is in working order. All-in-all, a stunning visual mystery clock of great proportions.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.

Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches
Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."

Catalogue Note

The total diamond weight is approximately 10 carats. 
The total weight of the clock 6.28 kilograms.
With an associated travelling case and winding key.

The Cartier "Pendule Mystérieuses" or "Mystery Clock" exudes a mystic elegance that has captured the imagination of Cartier collectors for decades.  Inspired by the work of the 1850s French magician and clockmaker, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, Maurice Couet devised the first Mystery Clock in 1913 which was named "Pendules Mysterieuses Model A." 

This mechanically and aesthetically remarkable design was the basis for some of Cartier's most impressive clocks of the 1920s and beyond. The time appears to float, indicated by two rotating crystal disks that suspend the hour hand and minute hand in a captivating dance.  From the perspective of the viewer, the clock operates without mechanical means, hence its description as a Mystery clock. 

Undoubtedly, these fascinating clocks demand an inquisitive mind-set, determined to decode their complexity while appreciating their perplexing beauty.  These magical objects “depended on a secret which was supposed to never be revealed.”1   Often times, Cartier’s own retail staff were discouraged from knowing in-detail the mechanical intricacies of the famed Maison’s Mystery Clock creations.  They accepted that “the wonder of these clocks guarded their secret like the Sphinx, and [Cartier] protected them from the eyes of prying admirers.”     

Following the legendary creations from the 1920s, Cartier revisited the Mystery clock theme in the 1980s, creating modern masterpieces based on the earlier models.  The magical wonder of Cartier Mystery Clocks prevails today with the present lot and the following two examples, 'The Grand Mogul Pavillion Mystery Clock' (Lot 2529) and 'The Egyptian Temple Panther Portico Mystery Clock' (Lot 2530).

1Nadelhoffer, H., Cartier, pp. 276