Cartier - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: circa 1952
    Movement No: 375'289
    Case No: 38'663
    Model Name: Helm
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 7"", 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold bracelet, max length 190mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold concealed deployant clasp stamped 12126
    Dimensions: 35mm. DIameter
    Signed: Dial signed Cartier, movement signed European Watch Co.
    Accessories: Accompanied by a fitted presentation box
    Literature: Similar timepieces are illustrated in La Collection Cartier - Horlogerie pp. 396-397.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cartier is a name not only associated with Parisian glamour but also with bold and seductive designs and the present lot eloquently embodies the je ne sais quoi that makes Cartier’s timepieces so enticing.

    Upon their introduction in the early 20th century, wristwatches were basically a wrist version of the pocket watch with lugs soldered onto them. Cartier’s artistic free spirit could only push it to turn away from these designs by creating shaped wristwatches such as the Tonneau, Tortue or Tank which would become milestones of horological design.

    In the late 1940s the round wristwatch surpassed the Art-Deco inspired form watches of the previous decades in terms of popularity. The present Helm watch, named as such because of its design resembling a ship's wheel, fuses with Cartier’s inimitable artistic refinement and finesse.

    The Helm watches were produced in different variations either as wristwatches or pocketwatches but always in extremely limited examples. An almost identical timepiece is part of the Cartier private collection, having previously belonged to the Maharaja of Kapurthala, a ruler known for his exquisite taste.

    It is extremely rare to come across these quasi-unique museum quality watches and the present lot, in superb condition, will appeal to the aesthete looking for a timepiece embodying creative liberty.

  • Artist Biography



    With the Constitution of 1848 came a new standard for luxury in France. Founded one year prior by Louis-Francois Cartier, the house of Cartier was one of the first to use platinum in jewelry making. This incredibly expensive material became the stepping-stone for Cartier to experiment in form, mechanisms and attitude. It helped men move from pocket watches to wristwatches, effectively making the watch much more functional and prominent in a man's overall wardrobe.

    Cartier did not only touch on functionality. Inspired by a commissioned painting by George Barbier featuring a black panther at the feet of an elegantly bejeweled woman, Cartier began incorporating wild animals in his designs—most notably, Cartier Panthère rings, bangle bracelets and watches. Yet it wasn't until the late 1960s that the house of Cartier debuted their iconic yellow and rose gold LOVE collection, which includes the famous bracelet that only a special screwdriver can open. 

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A fine and rare yellow gold helm shaped wristwatch with bracelet

circa 1952
35mm. DIameter
Dial signed Cartier, movement signed European Watch Co.

CHF40,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017