Historic Cartier Clock, Given to President Roosevelt by Cartier i n 1943 to be offered at Sotheby's On December 4, 2007, Sotheby’s will offer a magnificent and unique Cartier clock, given as a personal gift by Pierre Cartier to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second President of the United Sta
News-Antique.com - Oct 12,2007 - New York, New York – On December 4, 2007, Sotheby’s will offer a magnificent and unique Cartier clock, given as a personal gift by Pierre Cartier to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second President of the United States, in 1943.
The clock is made of onyx with nephrite and silver accents and contains a main dial for mean-time in New York/Washington, D.C., and four subsidiary
dials, which are labeled to keep time in London/Paris, Berlin/Rome, San Francisco and Tokyo, all important strategic locations for the Allied forces in World War II. The hours of each of the individual time-zones can be set separately, and the minutes advance in unison. Together with its Cartier red leather presentation box, inscribed “F.D.R.,” the clock is estimated to sell for $600,000/1 million* and will be on exhibition in the 10th floor galleries at Sotheby’s from 1pm on November 29th to noon on December 4th. This extraordinary offering will be the first lot for sale in the December 4, 2007 evening session of Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby’s New York. The signed Cartier clock is geometric and masculine, in black and green shades reminiscent of camouflage and militaria, which was appropriate for the ethos of the time in which it was gifted in 1943; Paris was still occupied by Nazi Germany and the United States was in the midst of one of its biggest military challenges, having deployed ten million service people. Pierre Cartier, who ran the firm’s Fifth Avenue boutique in New York, included a personal letter to the President with this gift, which was presented on December 20, 1943, and Roosevelt replied in turn. The original correspondence, housed in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, provides insight into the thoughts of these two great men during a difficult time for both of their nations. In his letter, Pierre Cartier expresses his gratitude to President Roosevelt: “My countrymen are particularly grateful for what you are doing for them, and we realize that it will be thanks to your efforts and marvelous leadership that France will again live.” Cartier continues, “I have thought that a clock marking the time in the different parts of the earth where the glorious American armies are fighting – a clock which therefore will mark the hour of victory – might be a useful addition to your desk.” Pictured: Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York December 24, 1943
President Roosevelt, in his letter from the White House thanking Pierre Cartier, replies, “And, too, I am intrigued by the differing times of world capitals. Soon, very soon, I hope that Paris will resume her place among the free capitals of the world. All of us are doing our best toward that end.” That end would be achieved the following year, on June 6, 1944, marking the beginning of the Battle of Normandy. This effort, led by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, would succeed in ultimately liberating mainland Europe from Nazi occupation.