Cartier. A Very Rare and Historically Important 18k Gold Single-Button Chronograph Wristwatch, Formerly Belonging to William Clay Ford, Grandson of Henry Ford
This watch is pictured with straps made of endange… Read more
Cartier. A Very Rare and Historically Important 18k Gold Single-Button Chronograph Wristwatch, Formerly Belonging to William Clay Ford, Grandson of Henry Ford

SIGNED CARTIER, NO. 6526, CIRCA 1943

Details
Cartier. A Very Rare and Historically Important 18k Gold Single-Button Chronograph Wristwatch, Formerly Belonging to William Clay Ford, Grandson of Henry Ford
Signed Cartier, No. 6526, Circa 1943
Movement: Manual, Cal. 6717, 24 jewels
Dial: Silvered, Breguet numerals, two subsidiary dials, spiral tachymeter scale
Case: 18k gold, engraved snap on back, 28.5mm diam.
Signed: Case and movement signed C. H. Meylan, dial signed Cartier
Buckle: Associated steel buckle
Accompanied by: An original strap
Special notice

This watch is pictured with straps made of endangered or protected animal materials such as alligator or crocodile. These endangered species straps are shown for display purposes only and are not for sale. Christie’s will remove and retain the strap prior to shipment from the sale site. At some sale sites, Christie’s may, at its discretion, make the displayed endangered species strap available to the buyer of the lot free of charge if collected in person from the sale site within 1 year of the date of the auction. Please check with the department for details on a particular lot.

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Lot Essay

The present watch stands out due to its important horological as well as historical relevance. An extremely rare war time single-button chronograph, Cartier treasures such as this rarely come to market, especially those that are also valued for their Americana interest.

Collectors consider the single-button chronograph one of the most complex and sophisticated mechanisms available. Unlike the more common chronograph in which the functions are typically operated through two crowns in the band, the single-button chronograph is fully operated through the crown. In the collecting community, a single-button chronograph from the 1940s is a special discovery as they were made in small numbers and very few have survived the last 70+ years.

Most interesting is that the majority of the Cartier watches from this period house movements made by the European Watch Company but during times of war alternative suppliers needed to be leveraged. In this case, the movement is made by C.H. Meylan Watch Company. Quite remarkably, the standard Cartier numbered stamp is still visible to the back of the top left lug as is the gold hallmark to the side of the top right lug.

William Clay Ford Sr. (1925-2014)

William Clay Ford was the youngest child of Edsel Ford and the last surviving grandson of Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company- one of the largest American automotive companies in existence. Born in Detroit, near the headquarters of the motor company, William was welcomed into a life of wealth and success. One year after his grandfather, Henry Ford’s, passing in 1948 he was appointed to Ford Motor Company’s Board of Directors. Afforded with this large responsibility, William had proved himself to be worthy of such responsibility after his graduation from the Hotchkiss School in 1943 and also after receiving a Bachelor Science in Economics from Yale University soon after. Upon his graduation from Hotchkiss, William was given the present watch by his father, Edsel. The case back is engraved with the school logo inlaid with blue enamel and surrounding text; William Clay Ford, May 22, 1943. William Ford Sr. went on to own the Detroit Lions National Football League franchise.


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