Light pink opalescent guilloché enamel, white enamel, rose-cut diamonds, onyx case, circa 1918, mechanical movement, 7.8x2.0 cm, signed Cartier, maker Maurice Coüet, no. 365, red fitted case
New York, 11 December 2013, lot 401
O. Bachet & A. Cartier, Cartier Exceptional Objects, Éditions Palais Royal, 2019, book I, p. 184 for the photograph of this clock
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Lot Essay


Iya Grigorievna de Gay was born in St Petersburg in 1897. During the Russian Revolution, together with her family she escaped to Finland, before moving to Paris. She became Iya Lady Abdy in 1923 after her marriage to English ship-owner Sir Robert Abdy.
Iya was a striking blonde over six feet tall, Cecil Beaton said that she ‘invented size’. Not only remarkable by her physique, Iya was clever and sharp-minded, she frequented the salons of the Comtesse de Noailles and rubbed elbows with the most fashionable artists of the time, couturiers like Chanel, photographers like Man Ray, Cecil Beaton or George Hoyningen Huene, writers like Cocteau and Antonin. Just like many of the ‘bright young things’ of the early 20th century, Lady Abdy regularly shopped at Cartier. It is hardly surprising to find in her collection a beautiful example of Cartier mathematic design, such as this comet clocks. Lady Abdy died in Paris in 1993.

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