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Cartier 1920s Art Deco Platinum Diamond Enamel Gold Shutter CLOCK

$80,000 [Reserved]
Condition: Pre-owned
Availability: Available now
Delivery time: 2-6 days
US - New York, New York
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Basic Info

Brand Cartier
Ref. No. 1920s Art Deco Platinum Diamond Enamel Gold Shutter Clock
Chrono24-ID 40j6d5
Movement Manual winding
Case material Yellow gold
Year 1920s
Condition 1 (mint)
Gender Men's watch/Unisex
Location United States of America, New York, New York, New York
Price $80,000 [Negotiable]
Availability Available now


Movement Manual winding


Case material Yellow gold


Clasp Fold clasp, hidden
Clasp material Platinum


Guilloche Dial, Limited Edition, Only Original Parts
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The present Cartier shutter clock is one of the earliest known examples of its kind ever produced and the smallest known example in the marketplace. Today, the iconic design concept known as a " shutter" design concept is still part of Cartier's modern line of clocks nearly 80 years later. Cartier's shutter clock has had many variations to its interior mechanical design over the years due to the evolving technologies that allowed for Cartier to upgrade their timekeeping mechanism's capabilities. A quick example of this is seen by taking a look at the original clocks which were mechanically different from the modern designed examples, where Cartier implements quartz and battery movements in lieu of the originally created mechanical ones found only in the earlier prototype examples of the 20s. Although their have been slight changes to the outer case design over the years, the initial shutter clock case design has always maintained the same famously, recognizable concepts of which made them so desireable for generations and stemmed from the originally produced prototype examples such as the one being offered here today.

Cartier has always been known to design specific concepts such as the concept demonstrated by the shutter clock design concept by incorporating elements he observed societal and cultural interests gravitating towards and current events which the masses were experiencing. In the early 1900s, when Cartier produced his earliest Art Deco clocks many of their early clocks were inspired by the invention of illusion and on the premises of magic and Houdini. The attraction and intrigue to illusion was very common in the early 1900s and late 1800s and was a growing mass phenoma spreading amongst socialites and inventors a like, who would go to see magicians and illusionists as entertainment. It was not long before magicians or illusionists would compete with one another, each by using different visual illusions to outdo one another and trick, intrigue and mystify their audience. Cartier sought to incorporate illusion into his various design concepts and like the masses was himself extremely intrigued by this phenoma which was reflected in his various design concepts(#2).

As you take a closer look at the present shutter clock, Cartier deploys the same inventive illusion accents which were found throughout many of his other clock designs. Each of the variations of clocks that Cartier commissioned during 1900-1920s were focused on using different elements of Mystery, Hidden doors, and/or floating dials to intrigue the client who ordered it from Cartier similar to the way in which he observed magic and illusion were grasping society's attention. For example, Cartier's most famous clock case design, the Cartier mystery clock hides the movement from traditional view of the dial to keep the observer wondering how it is running, hence the mystery. The present clock design concept known as the shutter clock draws from the same sense of illusion, as it uses seemlessly designed hidden doors to hide and conceal the clock's dial through the use of the "triptych" design mechanism (#2). The triptych design mechanism opens and closes the folding doors in three separate panels. This was a revolutionary design concept to be implemented on a clock at this time. On the present clock, it is demonstrated by the solid 18kt yellow gold and hand painted enamel door panels which when pulled open reveal the outer dial of the clocks roman numeral hour markers.

In addition to the elements of magic, Cartier was also famously fascinated by far away lands and his earlier examples implemented attributes from the Orient into in his special commissions. These attributes are also displayed on the present clock, which can be found by observing the Chinese geometeric shape and design concepts on the front of the hidden doors, which are designed in platinum and set with diamonds. "These and other Chinese signs were taken over in Cartier's Art Deco, either directly or in adaptation. (#1, 202)" As a result, many of these unique commissions were very seldomly produced and a true trophy for a collector to commission during this timeframe and almost never commonly found today. In some instances, select Chinese laquer and/or diamonds would be hand-painted or mounted onto the doors in specific Chinese geometerical patterns such as the present clock offered here. Styles would include various Chinese geometeric shapes for heaven, Sea and Earth which would be employed into the case design of many of their clocks and boxes either in the patterns of beveling on the case or shapes that would be handpainted or set with diamonds along the doors(#1). The motif employed by the present design concept is the Chinese 'air pattern' for heaven which is placed over where the two doors meet and pulled open by the user to unlock the doors. The symbol is set by platinum and diamonds into the Chinese geometeric shaped octagon or flattened honeycomb shape and set in the middle of the two doors. Essentially by pulling on the geometeric shape for Heaven, the doors open to reveal the hidden time. These two concepts have always been extremely significant in Cartier's works and it is extremely rare to find such an early example in such excellent condition.

Additionally, the Cartier's case design which holds the clock's movement mechanism between the Onyx top and the Onyx base is perfectly designed proportionally to represent Cartier's " strictly cubic structure which represents the firm's purest contribution to 1930s modernism."(#1,204)

More importantly, the present example is the smallest known example of this case design and one of the only known miniatures of this Iconic Cartier clock concept. "The Orient- the world of myth and fairy tale provided the themes for Cartier's vanity cases, table clocks, scent bottles and other decorative objects. (#1, P.207)"Cartier's achievements in integrating the fairy tale world of myth and saga into the context of contemporary decorative arts mark a clear break from his predecessors and gives the Cartier firm both an unrivaled quality in their commissions and a unique individuality in the contribution of decorative arts when compared to rival design firms of this period.

The present clock is signed in three areas, serial numbered in three areas and the case is hallmarked in five areas. The clock is in perfect working condition with original, unrestored hand-painted enamel dial and undented, unchipped base, doors, and top.Every timepiece is guaranteed authentic and has been cleaned and serviced by our inhouse timepiece engineers before being offered here online and comes with a two year warranty from our store.
Please feel free to contact us for any additional inquiries or photo requests.

Recent Auction Results:
Sothebys - Lesser Example with less enameling and more modern the present clock, brought 37,000 CHF in 2008
Christies - Lesser Example / modern reproduction with quartz battery movement from 1960s, brought 65,000 USD in 2012

Cited books, (Please find additional references for more information listed in the References Section)
1. NadelHoffer, H., Cartier - Jewelers Extraordinary, P. 101,202
2. Patrizzi, O The Magical Art of Cartier, P. 88-91
3. Rudoe, J., CARTIER 1900-1939, P. 70,132

A Similar piece is illustrated in Baracca, J., Negretti, G. & Nencini, F., Le Temps de Cartier, p.177. And also The book Cartier in the 20th Century.

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Ye Olde Timekeepers, Inc.

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