The mystery clock was first created at Cartier in 1912 by master clockmaker, Maurice Couet and was inspired by the famous magician Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin. The mystery clock, still celebrated today, is based on a clever optical illusion, whereby the hands appear to be magically floating when indicating the time. The hands appear to have no connection to the movement that is situated to the base of the timepiece. This ingenious creation is achieved by each hand fixed on its own crystal disc, and the disc has a toothed metal rim, which is driven by gears concealed by the bezel and the frame of the case.
This timepiece celebrates Cartier, the mystery clock and the orient. At the turn of the 20th century, the Orient influences Cartier's design heavily and this influence is due to Louis Cartier, the grandson of the founder, who himself was a passionate collector of Chinese objects. Simulating a pagoda with an aventurine roof, the 19th century malachite Auspicious animal once activated, will open the temple door and as the mystery clock moves from inside the pagoda to outside the temple doors, a light illuminates the time as displayed on the citrine dial. A second touch of the Auspicious animal results in the clock retreating back inside the pagoda, the doors closing and the lights being switched off.
This exceptional mystery timepiece is a result of 6,000 hours of work. Made up of 2,476 diamonds weighing 61 carats, 55 emeralds weighing 25 carats, over 200 coral beads, un-cut mother-of-pearl, 6.9 kilograms of gold, 5 kilograms of silver, 74 grams of platinum, 8 kilograms of moss-agate, 8 kilograms of obsidian, 1 kilogram of rock crystal, solidate, jasper, onyx and 2,700 carat of citrine.
This magnificent clock has been retained in close to new condition, serviced at Cartier once every three years since being made, retains its original fitted box and Cartier Certificate of Origin. Sotheby’s is delighted to present a clock of this magnitude to the market.
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