A work of exceptional engineering and stylish artistry, this mystery clock by Cartier is known as a “prism” clock. Crafted in a sleek Art Deco style with simulated lapis lazuli accents, this silver-plated desk clock is equipped with a set of 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 mechanism was first developed and patented by Gaston Cusin, who was inspired to create this design by the way in which periscopes operate. Housed in its original red embossed leather case, this clock is truly a remarkable find.
The movement is signed “Cartier Plaqué Argent 20M Swiss.” The case is marked “Cartier Paris/ Marques et Modèle Déposés/ Registered Trademarks and Design/ CO 586.”
3 1/2” wide x 3” deep x 4” high
In 1898, Louis Cartier, one of the three Cartier brothers and grandson of founder Louis-François, moved to 13 rue de La Paix with his father, Alfred. Louis was a talented creator of jewels and art objects, and expanded his skills by tying his craft with clock making traditions, lost now for more than a century. 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.
Le Temps de Cartier, 1989, Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti, and Franco Nencini