The revival of gold watches in round cases in the mid-1940s inspired Cartier to design models completely different from the classical Cartier style. Amongst these post war creations figured the famous Helm watch, the name derived from its design resembling a ship's wheel.
The Helm model was made in various versions, comprising dress watches and wristwatches, varying in layout and sizes, the majority cased in yellow gold. Celebrities such as Barbara Hutton and the Maharajah of Kapurthala owned examples of this model.
The present watch is amongst the rarest types of the Helm wristwatch, attractively combining a case in gold with platinum setting for diamonds and an 14K gold Vendôme bracelet. According to our research twenty Cartier Helm watches from 40s and 50s are known. The present watch is believed to be one of the four with diamond hours from that period.
The production of this watch, according to the manufacturing archives, started on 17 May 1946. It was then shipped to Cartier's New York office where a special Cartier Vendôme bracelet was made for it (patented in 1933).
A similar watch is illustrated in Le Temps de Cartier by Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti & Franco Nencini, p. 209.