The "mysterious" pendulums are so called this due to their invisible mechanism and their needles that appear to ''float'' in space.

blog.php-549 Pendulum mystérieuse Cartier, circa 1920
Image: courtesy Mallié-Arcelin

They were designed by Louis Cartier and master watchmaker Maurice Couët, who at the time was only 18 years old. In 1911, he became the exclusive supplier to the Cartier house and was inspired directly by the celebrated conjurer Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin who was also an illusionist and manufacturer of automatons and watchmaker.

In 1912, Maurice Couet invented the very first mysterious pendulum, which he labelled model A. In 1920 he worked in collaboration with Cartier to develop the pendulum with a single central axis, unlike model A which had discs actuated by two axes located on each side of the base.

blog.php-550 Detail of Pendulum mystérieuse Cartier, circa 1920
Image: courtesy Mallié-Arcelin

This single central axis allowed for great aesthetic innovations, such as the introduction of a central piece of citrine. The production of this ''mysterious'' pendulum model lasted about a year, making this piece incredibly rare.

blog.php-551 José Yves Limantour

The pendulum on sale at Mallié-Arcelinhere comes from the collection of Luz Bringas, Mexican a philanthropist of the 1920s who bequeathed this unique piece to the Mexican politician José Yves Limantour in thanks for his help in founding the "Fundacion Luz Bringas" dedicated to education.

blog.php-552 The Cartier clock in a Parisian interior, on the coffee table on the left
Image: courtesy Mallié-Arcelin

blog.php-554 Detail of The Cartier clock in a Parisian interior
Image: courtesy Mallié-Arcelin

The piece remained in the family, passing on to the hands of the Yturbe family, related to the collectors Carlos and Charles de Besteigui who had their Parisian hotels decorated by the Russian painter Alexander Serebriakov.

blog.php-555 Pendulum mystérieuse Cartier in its original presentation box
Image: courtesy Mallié-Arcelin

Presented in its original case and dating from the very beginning of the production line, this mysterious pendulum is today a rare testimony of the innovative spirit of the Cartier house and a tribute to France's master watchmakers.

The Cartier house collection is home to five similar models whilst the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris has a model called "screen" in their collection.

The timepiece will go under the gavel at Mallié-Arcelin on November 19 with experts estimating it to fetch between $217 500-272 00 (€200 000- 250 000.) Check out the full sale here.

Comment