Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Auction

    by Dr Andrew Hildreth
    Four Seasons Hotel. Geneva
    13th May 2020

    Cartier was always avant-garde, the jeweller and clockmaker to the upper echelons of society. The French maison’s designs were elegant and refined, the very best of what could be achieved and money could buy. From founder Louis Cartier to the other family members who were involved with the brand, the name was one that represented innovation and bespoke.

    In the same way that Cartier changed the design of the wristwatch, their clocks set the standard of luxury for their era, always distinctive and unique in terms of aesthetics.

    Being so exclusive meant that the absolute number of clocks made by the house of Cartier was pretty limited. Collecting Cartier is always a labour of love, a recognition that they produce unique and definitive items, whether jewellery or timepieces. In this instance, in one collection, 104 clocks go on display and sale on May 13th, at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, all signed by Cartier, ranging from the1900s to the 1980s.

    Simply as a statement of Cartier’s expansive and distinctive design acumen, this is an important show, with the largest collection of its kind ever to come to auction, amassed over a lifetime. From an art-deco “altar” desk clock in enamel to a Belle Epoque “Planet semi-mystery day and night” desk clock, all pieces are in exceptional condition and working – just imagine the sound of 104 alarms going off at 8.00am!

    The collection portrays many different styles and materials in which Cartier worked over these eight decades and comes with renowned provenances such as Rothschild and others. Estimates range from CHF10,000 to CHF150,000


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