The mystery clock was invented in the 19th century by the illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and later developed exclusively for Cartier by the watchmaker Maurice Couët. It is a fascinating object in which the hands appear to float like magic within the crystal, unconnected to any mechanism. Mystery clocks require months of patient work before being lavishly decorated by the jeweler. They are exceptional pieces in Cartier's total production of watches. The first example was the Modèle A, a crystal parallelepipede, produced in 1912. In the 1920s, Maurice Couët developed several versions of the mystery clock, including 12 with Chinese origins and 6 with the "Portique" structure. These have remained the most expensive decorative objects ever produced by Cartier.

 

MODEL A MYSTERY CLOCK

CARTIER PARIS, 1914

Platinum, yellow gold, rock crystal, white agate (base), four sapphire cabochons, rose-cut diamonds, white enamel. Particularly rare, this clock is one of the very first mystery clocks created by Cartier. 
Sold to Count Greffulhe, husband to the famous Countess Greffulhe, “the most beautiful woman in Europe” according to Marcel Proust, who partly modeled his character of the Duchess de Guermantes on her.

Height 13.0 cm