Cartier’s first mysterious clock was born in 1912: The hands suspended in the air made the world exclaim ‘miracles in the history of clocks’. Now, the curtain opens, and the gorgeous magic of a hundred years ago is staged again.
Time-the most eternal and mysterious thing in the world, stirs up waves of inspiration in the human world. In history, the wise man who accompanied time offered sacrifices unparalleled insights, picked between culture and art, laid out between mechanical twists, and finally created brilliant timepiece treasures. There is no doubt that Cartier’s mysterious timepiece is just such a masterpiece.
Cartier’s first mysterious clock was born in 1912: the pointer suspended in the air made the world exclaim ‘miracles in the history of clocks’. Now, a hundred years ago, the gorgeous magic was re-enacted. Cartier borrowed from the production principle of this classic masterpiece, and creatively launched two more complicated and exquisite mystic watches and two classic and modern mystic clocks. Craftsmanship is elevated to a whole new level. Where did this magic legend come from over a century? What kind of stories and masterpieces are there? What’s so amazing about the new work? Let us uncover the secret of time magic.
The mystery of the mysterious clock
The hour and minute hands float in the air and rotate precisely, indicating the time. The crystal dial is crystal clear, but there is no trace of mechanical devices. This is the mysterious clock.
The birth of the mysterious clock begins with a great magician—Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871). He has been associated with machinery since he was a child, and has taught himself to make many automatic devices, including clockwork. At one occasion, he ordered Berthoud’s ‘Clockmaking Essays’ from a bookseller, but accidentally got two magic books. Udan was inspired by the magic of visual trickery in magic, so he gave the clock magic, invented the world’s first mysterious clock, and exhibited it at the French Industrial Exhibition in 1839.
Forty years later, the mysterious clock maker Maurice Couet (1885-1963) was born in a watchmaking family, which made him eye-catching from his ears and showing extremely talented in watchmaking. In 1910, at the age of 25, he became Cartier’s exclusive supplier for his extraordinary skills, and founded his own workshop the following year.
Inspired and inspired by Udan’s magic creation, in 1912, Coué and Louis Cartier cooperated sincerely to create the first Cartier mysterious clock, named Model A. As later top fashion magazine ‘La Gazette du Bon Ton’ called it, it is a ‘miracle in the history of watches and clocks.’ The secret of Coué’s time magic is that the hands are not directly connected to the movement, but are fixed on two serrated metal bezels. The water crystal disc is driven by the movement and rotates at the speed of the hour and minute hands, respectively. To make the illusion more realistic, the disc’s metal frame is hidden under the time scale circle.
The noble and elegant Model A mysterious clock of the year is not prestigious. In addition to the amazing magic of time, it also embodies a great aesthetic value. The clock uses the Belle Epoque decoration style as a whole, and the combination of straight lines, ladder-shaped shells and crystal body calls for the advent of the Art Deco period. This mysterious clock is also the purest of many series. Its opaque clock seat is equipped with an eight-day power reserve movement. All the devices are cleverly hidden, and the nearly transparent clock body can not find the driving hands. Clues to any mechanical device.
The Legend of Mysterious Timepieces
Cartier’s mysterious clock, with a magical visual experience, lingers in the mysterious mysteries. These magnificent and rare timepieces often require more than a year of intensive work, with the participation of many skilled craftsmen.
From 1912 to the early 1930s, Cartier’s mysterious clock continued to be innovated. Both in terms of materials, design and aesthetics, they made bold attempts and achieved great success. For a time, Cartier’s mysterious clock became a bell of hot topics and aspirations for the nobles and celebrities: including American banker John Pierpont Morgan Jr, Queen of Spain, King George V His wife, Queen Mary, Maharajah de Patiala, India, etc., have one or more of these rare timepieces.
Among the many subsequent works, the mysterious clock with a central single axis, created in 1920, marked Cartier’s extraordinary innovation in the production of mysterious clocks. Unlike Model A, its two disks are driven by a central hinge, rather than the dual shafts on both sides of the base. This innovation also gave Cartier a higher degree of freedom in aesthetic design and was widely used.
At the same time, Cartier’s high aesthetic accomplishments are continuously reflected in the mysterious clock works. Drawing on elements of oriental art, Cartier has created the famous ‘Portique’ series of mysterious clocks. In the first work of the series launched in 1923, the movement was placed on top of the clock, and the crystal dial was driven by the transmission hidden in the side columns. This mysterious clock that combines superb craftsmanship and extraordinary aesthetics was repurchased by Cartier in 1973 and became the first treasure in the Cartier Collection. This piece of oriental charm also appeared in the Cartier Art Treasure Exhibition held in the Palace Museum of China in 2009.
Not only that, but Cartier’s beloved theme of animals and beasts was also incorporated into the creation of the mysterious clock. Exotic images such as Kamala, elephants, carps, and idols are often carved from exotic materials: crystal agate, moist nephrite, and dazzling K gold. These animal figures often carry a movement on the back, while the dial usually stands on it. Among all Cartier’s iconic collections, they are truly unique.