Cartier - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FOUR Hong Kong Monday, May 29, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: Circa 1928
    Reference No: Hand stamped Cartier reference number M17522 and 12'557
    Material: Silver, marble and turtle shell
    Dimensions: 277 mm. length and 275 mm. width
    Signed: Case and dial signed and numbered
    Accessories: With fitted key.
    Literature: For another example of a Cartier magnetic table clock with turtle, please see The Cartier Collection Timepieces, pages 312 to 315.

  • Catalogue Essay

    It was in the 17th century that the concept of the magnetic clock was conceived by Nicolas Grollier de Servière, which inspired Maurice Coüet to make a series of three clocks that work through magnetism. He placed a rim of a small basin edged with numerals on top of the base and would fill the basin with water, a floating figurine will then slowly move around the edge and would point to the right time on the dial. The concept of a magnetic clock is that the movement is laying horizontally in a box or base beneath a pewter dish and drives a magnetized disk, which makes a complete rotation every twelve hours. On it there two magnets, one north pole and the other south pole. The turtle has a little steel needle magnetized to the north and south pole and they are placed in such a way that the turtle floats in the water and is drawn between the two magnetized poles. The turtle’s head points to the numerals on the engraved dish, the turtle then follows these magnets in rotations. The present magnetic table clock was made by Cartier in New York in the late 1920’s. The clock is fitted with the largest base known to exist of all Cartier magnetic clocks and was purchased by an important esteemed Asian collector directly from Cartier in 2008. The clock is in beautifully original condition and can be classified in the mystery clock league because not being familiar with the magnetic system, one may never figure out how the turtle swims around the basin.

  • Artist Biography



    With the Constitution of 1848 came a new standard for luxury in France. Founded one year prior by Louis-Francois Cartier, the house of Cartier was one of the first to use platinum in jewelry making. This incredibly expensive material became the stepping-stone for Cartier to experiment in form, mechanisms and attitude. It helped men move from pocket watches to wristwatches, effectively making the watch much more functional and prominent in a man's overall wardrobe.

    Cartier did not only touch on functionality. Inspired by a commissioned painting by George Barbier featuring a black panther at the feet of an elegantly bejeweled woman, Cartier began incorporating wild animals in his designs—most notably, Cartier Panthère rings, bangle bracelets and watches. Yet it wasn't until the late 1960s that the house of Cartier debuted their iconic yellow and rose gold LOVE collection, which includes the famous bracelet that only a special screwdriver can open. 

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Ref. Hand stamped Cartier reference number M17522 and 12'557
A very fine, extremely rare and unusual silver and marble magnetic floating table clock

Circa 1928
277 mm. length and 275 mm. width
Case and dial signed and numbered

HK$600,000 - 1,000,000 

Sold for HK$3,800,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030

Ziyong Ho
+852 9386 2032

Jill Chen
+852 2318 2033

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FOUR

Hong Kong Auction 30 May 2017