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101 Rare Cartier Clocks up for Auction This Summer

Art deco fans, here's your chance to own an iconic piece of Cartier history.


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Auction paddles at the ready. A once-in-a-lifetime collection of rare Cartier clocks will be going up for auction this summer.

The 101 art deco timepieces were painstakingly put together by a private collector over a period of 30 years and feature the so-called mystery clocks, or pendules mystérieuses, conceived by a collaboration between Louis Cartier and the Maison’s master clockmaker Maurice Coüet​​​​ at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Cartier and Coüet​​​​ were inspired by the work of illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and so their iconic design was created with the illusion that the minute and hour hands are floating freely, in actual fact, the hands are attached to two transparent discs with the mechanisms hidden in the frame.

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Leading the collection are two examples of Coüet​​​​'s iconic design: a semi-mystery clock circa 1920 made with rock crystal, enamel, and rose-cut diamonds that's estimated to sell between $75,000-$110,000 and a light pink onyx, diamond, and enamel semi-mystery desk clock circa 1918 once owned by Lady Iya Abdy, a Ukrainian actress who'd socialize with the likes of Coco Chanel, Man Ray, and Cecil Beaton in 1920s Paris. Her elaborate timepiece is set to go between $130,000 and $190,000.

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The impressive and intricate collection spanning more than 80 years of clockmaking is set to take place on July 1 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, making it the first major live auction planned by Christie's Geneva as the Swiss government have recently eased lockdown restrictions.

Can't wait 'till summer to see the full collection? Make your way to Christie's website now for a closer look at these unique pieces.


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