The circular dial, made from three clear glass plates of near-identical size, indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes with precision indicators, with two arrow-shaped gilt-brass hands. The hours and signature are painted on the back of the first glass plate; the second glass plate contains the motion work in its center and moves with the hour hand, the third glass plate is the rear support of the assembly.
The whole dial is contained by a gilt-brass surround that sits in a chased gilt-bronze mount supported by a crystal column terminating in three patinated-bronze griffins on a shallow ebony-simulated terrace decorated to end in gilt-bronze scrolls and grotesque motifs.
Like the dial with multiple glass plates, the crystal column is actually made of two separate crystal tubes, the inner one being fitted with rotating wheels at both ends. A long rod with an endless screw is the link between the glass inner column and the removing middle dial, it is hidden within one of the decorative dial supports.
Another such long rod with lantern pinions on both sides is hidden within one of the three griffins, and acts as the link between the movement and the crystal column.
The movement, unable to be contained inside the base, is concealed within the circular black-lacquered pedestal bordered with fine brass fillets, the top covered in crimson velvet.
It is made of two separate trains (one for the strike and the other for the time) with all wheels placed in a linear fashion so as two place them all in a narrow space. The movement ends with a platform escapement in a line, with Swiss-type escape wheel, and cut bi-metallic balance wheel. The strike is every hour and half hour on a coiled gong attached in the base and controlled by a countwheel. The movement is stamped E. Robert-Houdin and numbered 3857 on the winding side. The same very long brass key is used for winding and setting the hands through 3 holes at the rear of the base.
THE MYSTERY CLOCK
This so-called “triple mystery” clock is the perfect expression of Robert-Houdin’s talent as an illusionist. First mystery: the glass dial, on which the two hands seem to move as if by magic, has no visible means of propulsion. Second mystery: the dial, supported by a crystal column, has no apparent means of transmission. Third mystery: the movement, concealed in the pedestal has no obvious mechanical connection to the rest of the clock, the reason being that the controls between the rotating shaft and the motor are concealed in one of the three cast griffins. Perched on the summit of a perfectly transparent column, devoid of any workings, this dial became an object of fascination from its inception, intriguing collectors in quest of mystery and novelty ever since.
This model is the fourth of a series of six mystery-clock models known today, and is identifiable by its minute hand, introduced for the first time on transparent dials.
Delevery information :
All clocks are carefully selected and restored to the highest standards, and are supplied with a full guarantee of authenticity and working order, delivered and installed personally wherever possible.
Shipping and dellivery conditions on request.
Price : on request
16 000 €