When Cartier presented in January the Rotonde de Cartier Mystery timepieces, we were so enthusiastic about these timepieces and the fact that Cartier launched again new watches with Mystery movements, that we almost forgot to report about the new Mystery clocks, that were also presented at the SIHH in January.
2006 was the last time that Cartier presented a Mystery watch, the Santos Mysterieuse, but it was another 10 years earlier, that a Mystery travel clock was presented.
It were the (Mystery) clocks were it all started with.
Clock & watchmaker Maurice Couet made the first Model A clock, with a rectangular 8 day caliber, for Cartier, as early as 1912.
The clock had a gold plated movement, Swiss lever escapement, bimetallic balance and a balance spring made by Breguet.
The back of the clock was smooth, since the winding mechanism was, not in the body of the clock, but underneath the base.
How the platinum and diamond hands seem to float in the air, behind the glass, was at the time, a top secret. Now we know that each hand of the clock is mounted on a flat crystal disk, with a invisible toothed edge. Two vertical racks, that are hidden in the left and right side of the clock, drive the toothed discs. The movement, located in the base of the clock, drives the vertical racks.
Lateron, around 1927, when more, larger and different Mystery clocks were produced, Maurice Couet was over seeing the Cartier workshop at 53 Rue Lafayette. The cabinet in the back of the workshop shows various small clocks and in the centre the famous Egyptian clock, that is often on display at exhibitions.
The crystal Chimaera clock is in the process of being made, 1927.
This year Cartier did everything to present two most amazing model A Mystery clocks. Clocks that can certainly compete with the vintage Model A clock.
Two almost identical time pieces, where craftsmen and watchmakers have been working 800 and 1000 hours on. Both are pieces unique, build on the finest rock crystal, with brilliant-cut diamonds, mother-of-pearl marquetry on the one and silver sheen obsidian marquetry on the other clock.
For these two Mystery clocks, Cartier developed In House the new mechanical winding caliber, the 6002MC, with 8 day power reserve, just like the first clock from 1912.
Mystery clocks have always appealed to many prestigious figures such as John Pierpont Morgan Jr., the Queen of Spain, Queen Mary, the wife of King George V, and the Maharaja of Patiala, some of whom owned more than one of these precious clocks. And the two new clocks that were just presented, will I am sure, find their way to a good home.
Cartier has re-bought many of it’s Mystery clocks from owners or at auctions and the Cartier Collection now contains seventeen different Mystery clocks, including the first of the six Portique clocks and two Model A clocks, similar to the original creation of 1912, pictured above. Many of these clocks were shown at the exhibition Time Art, that was held in Zürich and Singapore and hopefully again somewhere else in the world.