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Cartier Prism Mystery Clock

$34,500

About

This mystery clock by Cartier, known as a “prism” clock, is a work of exceptional engineering and stylish artistry. Crafted in a sleek Art Deco style with lapis lazuli accents, this prism clock is silver-plated and fitted with quartz crystal prisms and mirrors. These allow the dial, which is concealed in the base, to become visible through the glass window, but only from a certain angle. This ingenious design was first developed and patented in 1937 by Gaston Cusin, who was inspired by an underwater periscope. Cartier manufactured a number of different models of the prism clock, many made of impressive materials and stylish designs such as this one. Founded in 1847, the firm Cartier is renowned for classic luxury. In 1898, the firm, known for their exquisite jewelry creations, expanded their craft to include clock-making. Thereafter, Cartier's clocks, table clocks, and watches were manufactured with an emphasis on perfection, beauty, and originality. The “Pendules Mystérieuses,” or mystery clocks, were Cartier’s masterpieces and continued to epitomize the company’s exceptional artistry for decades. This elegant example epitomizes the Cartier tradition of striking style and exceptional quality. The movement is signed “Cartier Plaqué Argent 20M Swiss”, circa 1960. Measures: 3 1/2” wide x 3” deep x 4” high. Reference: Le Temps de Cartier, 1989, Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti, and Franco Nencini.

Details

  • Creator
    Cartier (Maker)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 4 in. (10.16 cm)Width: 3.5 in. (8.89 cm)Depth: 3 in. (7.62 cm)
  • Style
    Art Deco (In the Style Of)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1960
  • Condition
  • Seller Location
    New Orleans, LA
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 30-23481stDibs: LU891110684431

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $20 Standard Parcel Shipping
    to United States 0, arrives in 3-8 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: New Orleans, LA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Maker

Cartier

Perhaps 1847 was not the ideal time to open a new watchmaking and jewelry business, as the French Revolution was not kind to the aristocracy who could afford such luxuries. Nevertheless, it was the year Louis-François Cartier (1819–1904) — who was born into poverty — founded his eponymous empire, assuming control of the workshop of watchmaker Adolphe Picard, under whom he had previously been employed as an assistant. Of course, in the beginning, it was a relatively modest affair, but by the late 1850s, Cartier had its first royal client, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, who commissioned the jeweler to design brooches, earrings and other accessories.Under the leadership of Louis-François’s son, Alfred, who took over in 1874, business boomed. Royalty around the world wore Cartier pieces, including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Maharaja of Patiala and King Edward VII, who had 27 tiaras made by the jewelry house for his coronation in 1902 and issued Cartier a royal warrant in 1904. (Today, the British royal family still dons Cartier pieces; Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, regularly sports a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch.)Cartier’s golden years, however, began when Alfred introduced his three sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, to the business. The brothers expanded Cartier globally: Louis reigned in Paris, Pierre in New York and Jacques in London, ensuring their brand’s consistency at their branches across the world. The trio also brought in such talents as Charles Jacqueau and Jeanne Toussaint.One of Cartier’s earliest major successes was the Santos de Cartier watch — one of the world's first modern wristwatches for men. (Previously, a large number of people were using only pocket watches.) Louis designed the timepiece in 1904 for his friend, popular Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted to be able to check the time more easily while flying.Cartier’s other famous timepieces include the Tank watch, which was inspired by the linear form of military tanks during World War I, and the so-called mystery clocks. Invented by watchmaker and magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and later crafted exclusively for Cartier in the house’s workshop by watchmaker Maurice Couët, the mystery clocks were so named because the integration of glass dials on which the clocks’ hands would seemingly float as well as structures that are hidden away within the base give the illusion that they operate without machinery.On the jewelry side of the business, Cartier’s internationally renowned offerings include the Tutti Frutti collection, which featured colorful carved gemstones inspired by Jacques’s trip to India and grew in popularity during the Art Deco years; the panthère motif, which has been incorporated into everything from brooches to rings; and the Love bracelet, a minimal, modernist locking bangle inspired by medieval chastity belts.While the Cartier family sold the business following the death of Pierre in 1964, the brand continues to innovate today, renewing old hits and creating new masterpieces. It’s certainly one of the most well known and internationally revered jewelers in the world among clients both existing and aspirational.On 1stDibs, find a growing collection of contemporary and vintage Cartier watches, engagement rings, necklaces and other accessories.
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in New Orleans, LA
Recognized Seller
These prestigious sellers are industry leaders and represent the highest echelon for item quality and design.
Established in 1912
1stDibs seller since 2010
64 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 11 hours
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