Just shy of 20 Mystery Clocks from the Cartier Collection will be displayed as part of a new exhibition that blends art, history and time-keeping
By Sarah Jordan
Cartier knows a thing or two about exhibitions. Its recent Cartier In Motion collaboration with London’s Design Museum offered an interesting journey through 100 years of innovation, while also spotlighting the iconic Cartier Tank.
These types of events are given life through the Cartier Collection – a selection of fine jewellery, watches and objet d’art that the brand has been steadily buying back since the 1970s. Its first acquisition in 1973 was a Portique Mystery Clock, designed by itself more than 50-years earlier, which is why its latest exhibition – 19 Mystery Clocks from the Cartier Collection – is so apt for SIHH 2018.
Hints that the Cartier Mystery Clock was going to be a spotlight for the brand in 2018 emerged in the final months of 2017. The new Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day & Night watch is directly inspired by the Mystery Clocks produced in the early 1910s, and is available with a 40mm case in 18k white or pink gold.
At SIHH 2018, Cartier will unveil its most outstanding Mystery Clocks, chosen by Pascale Lepeu, who has the enviable job of curating the Cartier Collection. The first Mystery Clock, where the hour and minute hands appear to float unconnected to any mechanism in rock crystal, was conceived by Louis Cartier and the maison’s clockmaker Maurice Couët. The duo took inspiration from 19th century illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, who is considered the father of modern magic. By the 1920s, Couët had developed several versions, including 12 with Chinese origins and six with the what is known as the ‘Portique’ structure. They have remained some of the most expensive decorative objects ever produced by Cartier.
Highlights from the exhibition will include the Grande pendule mystérieuse Portique, created in 1923, and the 1928 Pendule mystérieuse Éléphant, where the clock sits atop a jade elephant sculpture.
SIHH will take place from January 15-19. Cartier’s 19 Mystery Clocks from the Cartier Collection exhibition will be available to view at the Geneva Palexpo from 8.30am to 7pm daily.