CARTIER. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD ASYMMETRIC WRISTWATCH WITH ORIGINAL ‘CRASH’ DEPLOYANT CLASP
CARTIER. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD ASYMMETRIC WRISTWATCH WITH ORIGINAL ‘CRASH’ DEPLOYANT CLASP
CARTIER. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD ASYMMETRIC WRISTWATCH WITH ORIGINAL ‘CRASH’ DEPLOYANT CLASP
CARTIER. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD ASYMMETRIC WRISTWATCH WITH ORIGINAL ‘CRASH’ DEPLOYANT CLASP
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This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules an… Read more CARTIER LONDON ‘CRASH’ 1990THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
CARTIER. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD ASYMMETRIC WRISTWATCH WITH ORIGINAL ‘CRASH’ DEPLOYANT CLASP

SIGNED CARTIER, LONDON, ‘CRASH’ MODEL, CASE NO. 80298, THE CASE WITH JACQUES CARTIER ‘JC’ MARK AND LONDON HALLMARKS FOR 1990

Details
CARTIER. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND ATTRACTIVE 18K GOLD ASYMMETRIC WRISTWATCH WITH ORIGINAL CRASH DEPLOYANT CLASP
SIGNED CARTIER, LONDON, ‘CRASH’ MODEL, CASE NO. 80298, THE CASE WITH JACQUES CARTIER ‘JC’ MARK AND LONDON HALLMARKS FOR 1990
Movement: Manual
Dial: White painted
Case: Stamped ‘JC’, 1990, 22.3 wide, 43 mm. overall length
With: 18k gold Cartier London asymmetric deployant clasp no. 80298, stamped ‘JC’, 1990, London hallmarks for 1990
Remark: A superb example of the Cartier ‘London Crash’ 1990 series with original gold ‘London Crash’ deployant clasp
Literature
For the full story of the Cartier Crash watch see: ‘How the Cartier Crash Became The Most Important Vintage Watch of 2021’, Tony Traina for Hodinkee, November 15, 2021.

See also: ‘The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire’, Francesca Cartier Brickell, 2019.

A London Crash watch is illustrated in: ‘Le Temps de Cartier’, Barracca, Negretti & Nencini, 1989, p. 295.
Special notice

This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules and 7.7% VAT will be charged on the ‘hammer’ and the ‘buyer’s premium’

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Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Department, Geneva

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Lot Essay

Very few of Cartier’s 1990 London-made ‘Crash’ watches have ever appeared at auction. Consigned by a private owner, Christie’s is delighted to be able to offer this wonderful example of what is regarded as the most attractive and sought after versions of this undoubted design icon. The present watch, with its large cursive script signature ‘Cartier London’ on the untouched painted dial, crisp heavy gold case and matching gold ‘Crash’ deployant clasp both with full Cartier London signature and hallmarks for 1990, is a sublime specimen that could hardly be improved upon.

Cartier’s ‘Crash’ watch is overwhelmingly an object of desire, once seen it can never be forgotten. The ‘Crash’ watch instills in its beholder an almost magnetic fascination that is borne from all truly great design and craftsmanship, its fluid free-form shape and specially designed dial is unique among wristwatches. The ‘Crash’ watch is an exemplar of what can only be described as “the genius of Cartier”.

In 1967 when the first ‘Crash’ watch was created, the design was not only avant-garde but positively and deliberately shocking. Available only in yellow gold and sold exclusively at the Cartier Boutique London, it is thought that only around 20 examples were originally made. Small numbers of variants were produced over the following decades until the present day. The original production London-made Crash watches from the 1960s and 1970s and the 1990 version, such as the present watch, all signed with the magical ‘Cartier London’ script are quite naturally the most desirable of all.

The Cartier Crash
For such an extraordinary creation as Cartier’s Crash watch, it is quite surprising that the story of its origins were, until recently, shrouded in mystery. The absence of any official information led to some wonderfully romantic myths surrounding the source of Jean-Jacques Cartier’s inspiration for the Crash’s design. Some claimed the idea was ignited by Salvador Dali’s painting ‘La Persistance de la Mémoire de Dali’, others believed that its form came from a melted Cartier Maxi Baignoire Allongée. It was also rumoured that one of Cartier's founders was in a car crash in the late 1960s and the resulting mis-shapen watch served as the influence for the watch. However, the true full story is now confirmed by Francesca Cartier Brickell, Jean-Jacques Cartier’s granddaughter, whose recent book ‘The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewellery Empire’ was published in 2019.

1960s London was an exciting place to be and Jean-Jacques Cartier, who had instigated the making of Cartier watches in London, wanted to create a wristwatch that was truly a response to the spirit of the age. In fact, the Crash watch was the idea of Jean-Jacques Cartier and designer Rupert Emmerson, who together, after many attempts, eventually came up with a final design. The appearance of the resulting watch, named the ‘Crash’ was in complete contrast to the straight lines of the traditional Tank and oval.

Always hand-made, and produced in such small numbers, the Crash watch is almost impossible to obtain, its quasi-mythical status as an instantly recognizable yet highly exclusive design icon has assured its eternal appeal.

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