Antiques Roadshow clock expert Richard Price was clearly enraptured by a guest’s Cartier carriage clock on Sunday’s episode at Crathes Castle in Scotland.
Price told the guest. “Well, I have to tell you this is an exceptional little clock isn’t it? Typically dated from the ’20s and ’30s and, of course, the magic name, that superb jeweller, Cartier.”
The guest explained how it came to be in her possession: “My grandmother was left it by an actress called Lily Elsie who was the original merry widow in the early 1920s, I think. So that’s how it came into my family. It was my grandmother’s, then my mother’s, then me.”
She said the family never used it as a working clock, rather it was an ornament.
“Now the enamel, this lovely dark purple is absolutely superb, a very commercial colour and it’s over this very lovely what we call “guilloche” work, which is machine turning,” said Price.
“Beautiful on the front, lovely on the sides, but at the top you can actually see those sun’s rays going from front to back. And the typical Cartier hands just with tiny diamonds there.”
Price was intrigued by a little subsidiary dial on the front, with Cartier’s signature.
“We’ve got five apertures on the back. The top two are for winding and time-setting, the bottom two are for setting and winding the alarm which is the little dial on the front. The base is agate as is this handle… [There’s] a little bit of damage there but it could easily be done beautifully without really noticing.”
Which all, of course, led to a classic Antiques Roadshow denouement.
“You really should have it restored,” said Price. “It’s a lovely thing. So I’m going to say, in the current market, because Cartier has zoomed, these sorts of things are immensely popular, in my opinion that’s going to be retailing for in excess of £30,000. And in a top retail outfit they could well be asking toward £50,000.”
“So the thing to do is leave it on this table and let me put it in my pocket!” he quipped.
The stunned guest was suddenly snapped back to reality and quickly responded: “Certainly not!”
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