Cartier is a master at concealing timepieces in its finest jewelry pieces, and a historic example of the art is coming to auction at Christie’s Important Jewels sale, which takes place in London and online tomorrow, November 27.
A multigem and diamond art déco fob watch, made by Cartier in the early 20th century, will go under the hammer with a pre-sale estimate of £800,000 to £1,500,000 ($1m to $1.95m).
The piece came after a trip to India in 1911 where Jacques Cartier met with Sayaji Rao III, the Gaekwar of Baroda, who commissioned Cartier to reset his entire jewelry collection in the new precious metal, platinum.
This proved an important turning point for Cartier; which until this time had remained loyal to the traditional Belle Epoque motifs.
In 1913, Cartier New York held an exhibition of fifty ‘jewels from the Hindoo, Persian, Arab, Russian and Chinese’.
For the next quarter of a century Indian rulers asked Cartier to transform their jewels, including The Maharajah of Patiala.
The art déco fob watch is an example of the Indian influence prevalent in Cartier’s work during the 1920 and 30s, combining richly colored gems and brilliant-cut diamonds with a 19th century carved emerald inset with a modern miniature skeletonized watch.