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Details & Cataloguing

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Cartier
'FLOWER MYSTERY CLOCK' A RARE AND POSSIBLY UNIQUE YELLOW GOLD, OBSIDIAN, DIAMOND, MOTHER-OF-PEARL AND CRYSTAL-SET MYSTERY CLOCK, CIRCA 1990
Dial: faceted crystal
Calibre: mechanical
Case: 18k yellow gold, obsidian, mother-of-pearl and diamond-set
Case number: 179'958
Size: 140 mm diameter, 105 mm length x 165 mm width x 270 mm height
Signed: case
Accessories: Cartier presentation box and two winding keys
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Catalogue Note

The Cartier "Pendule Mystérieuses" or "Mystery Clock" 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 mechanical 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 magically in the air, 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 any mechanical means, hence its depiction as a Mystery clock.

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 present example belongs to that later series. The present clock represents a discreetly elegant example in mother-of-pearl and black obsidian of this style. With its undulating ruyi-shaped bezel surrounding the magnificent faceted citrine, the clock is evocative of the timeless elegance of Eastern cultures.

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