The “pendulette bloc” (“block” clocks) are a variation of the square hard stone easel clocks; they are themselves derived from 19th century officer’s clocks. They can be distinguished from their predecessors by their thickness (they are thicker and without an easel) and by the presence, almost always, of a handle at the top. They have been manufactured since 1920 in large numbers and sometimes in very elaborate models.
However, this “large number of examples” must be put into perspective on the scale of the Cartier company, which is more accustomed to unique pieces than to mass production; these “block” clocks therefore remain true and rare marvels of Art Deco.
In the 1920’s, jadeite, nephrite and aventurine (a form of quartz) were the hard stones most used by Cartier to render the colour green. At that time, green fluorite and eclogite (a metamorphic rock), although widely used during the Belle Epoque (c.1890-1910), practically disappeared from the Parisian company’s production.
The four-element dial-bezel is a great classic of the watchmaking decoration at Cartier in the 1920’s (often with ruby cabochon). It is most often found on so-called “block” clocks, such as this one, or on paperweight clocks.
• L’Art de Cartier, exhibition catalogue (Paris, Musée du Petit-Palais; October 20, 1989 – January 28, 1990), Paris-Musées Editions & Cartier Editions, 1989, p. 151, No. 416 (similar example).
• Barracca, Jader, Negretti, Giampiero, & Nencini, Franco, Le Temps de Cartier, Milan, Publi-Prom Editions & Wrist International Editions, 1989, pp. 111, 170 (similar examples). • Cologni, Franco, & Mocchetti, Ettore, L’Objet Cartier, 150 ans de tradition et d’innovation, Paris, La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1992, pp. 100-101, 149 (similar examples).
• Christie’s, Geneva, auction, May 12, 1992, Jewellery by Cartier, lot 542 (similar example).
• Cartier, Splendeurs de la Joaillerie, exhibition catalogue (Lausanne, Musée de l’Hermitage; 1996), Lausanne, La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1996, p. 42, 129, No. 66 and No. 67.
• Bachet, Olivier, & Cartier, Alain, Cartier, Objets d’Exceptions - Exceptional Objects, Paris & Hong Kong, Editions Palais Royal, 2020, vol. I, p. 203, vol. II, p. 113, 273, 336, 426, (similar examples).