Mantel and Table Clocks

Square glass dial mystery clock

    Square glass dial mystery clock

    France, Paris

    Late 19th century

    Robert-Houdin, Jean-Eugène

    Mahogany, brass, glass, steel; gilding, casting, mechanical and glass works

    Height 36 cm

    On the dial: “Hamilton & Inches/Edinburgh”; on the bottom mounting plate: “MOUVEMENT/AIGUILLES”; in oval stamp: five-pointed star between letters “A and C/ PARIS”. On the cockwork mounting plate: “211”, in small oval stamp: “AC”; on the key: “200.400”


    Square clock face shield of transparent faceted glass is mounted in the thin metal frame with the sides manufactured in the form of reed bundles tied by ribbon. Cast composition of branches, leaves and buds surrounding cartouche with engraved lettering “G” on an oval polished shield is set on the frame upper bar. Minutes divisions and Arabic numerals are painted on the glass face side. Openwork gilded minute and hour hands with counterweights are located in front of the glass and rotate on the axis passing through the dial center. The hands have no visible connection with the clockwork mounted in the mahogany base. The frame with the dial is mounted on curly gilded stand decorated with ribbons and “beads” and mounted on metal panel lying on the base. The clock with attached lever escapement, mounted on the movement bottom mounting plate of the movement and spring engine. The movement bottom part is closed with metal plate with apertures for the winding key and subscriptions in French. Paper sticker is with warning inscription in English is on the plate. Double end key for winding the springs and setting the hands is the set. The clock belongs to so-called fifth series of Mystery Clock that was created for the customers further confuse and discourage. The secret of the clocks with round transparent dials of the third and fourth series by that time was well known, so the master created a new, square version. The movement of the glass plate for rotating of the hands was used in the new design as well; hence, it was achieved cam and rod by minute fluctuations, as distinguished from rotating the glass disk as in previous models.