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  • Harry Fane

Surprise surprise

It is extremely rare for something important, yet completely unknown to appear out of the blue these days. With all the studies of Cartier in recent years, there are few surprises left. Whilst many, many pieces made in the golden days of the 1920s and 1930s have never been seen again, it can probably be safely assumed they are now lost forever. So, it was with some surprise when Parisian Auction House Piasa, announced they were selling this completely unknown Mystery Clock. Even Hans Nadelhoffer did not list it in his extensive count of the Cartier Mystery Clocks. My first reaction was that it was not a Cartier creation. All Cartier’s known Mystery clocks are so jewel-like what is this ugly duckling doing joining the ranks? According to the catalogue, this was probably a special commission, and it has all the correct marks and numbers. Even so, why would Cartier make something so undistinguished…Please note my carefully chosen words…

It seems heavy and solid. Rhodonite is not a particularly pretty material and the construction is industrial rather than beautiful or delicate. The only really interesting aspect is the hands shaped like The Empire State Building in New York. That, I think, is quite fun.

Let’s see what happens. The auction is next week, and the clock carries a hefty estimate of € 400-600,000.

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