The present example belongs to the beautiful and fascinating genre of Cartier works known as 'Mystery' timepieces. The first Cartier Mystery clock was created in 1913, the work of the brilliant Maurice Coüet. This mechanically and aesthetically remarkable design was the basis for some of Cartier's most impressive clocks of the 1920's and beyond.
The design of the present model is very unusual, as the movement and gearwork are located around the periphery of the transparent dial, rather than directly behind it. The time is indicated by two rotating crystal disks on which the hour hand and minute hand are located. The overall effect on the viewer is that the watch operates without mechanical means, hence its description as a Mystery watch.
For an example of earlier Mystery pocket watches by which the present example was inspired, see Barracca, J., Negretti, G., and Nencini, F., Le Temps de Cartier, p. 196, and Nadelhoffer, H., Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary, pl. 61.
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