Cartier - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: Circa 1930
    Case No: 30141 87A
    Model Name: Tortue Chronographe Monopoussoir
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, ECW, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 26mm Width, 35mm Length
    Signed: Dial signed by maker, case and movement signed by watchmaker
    Provenance: Lot 379, Christie's South Kensington, June 30 1989

  • Provenance

    Lot 379, Christie's South Kensington, June 30 1989

  • Catalogue Essay

    This incredible timepiece is a rare testament to the design and watchmaking proficiency of Cartier during the first half of the past century. It is a well accepted reality that Cartier’s design department gifted the horological world with some of the most iconic and everlasting timepieces ever drawn - since the very beginning actually, with - for example - the inception of the Tank in 1917.

    The present Tortue design is in fact even earlier than the Tank, having been introduced in 1912. It will however take 15 years for this single-button chronograph variation to be presented, in 1927.

    This watch proves that in some very exclusive pieces, the design mastery of Cartier was coupled with the most refined watchmaking skills. The heart of this exquisite chronograph is a superbly executed movement signed by European Watch & Clock Co. and based on a Victorin Piguet ébauche. Very few pieces were made, of which only an even smaller fraction is known to the collectors’ community today.

    Cartier dials are notoriously sensitive to ageing, thus it often happens that some degree of restoration is to be found on such dials. In this exceptional instance, the dial is instead absolutely unrestored, with all the graphics present and perfectly preserved. The strong patina that has developed with age is proof of the absolute honesty of the timepiece, and enhances the vintage vibe of this phenomenal watch.

  • 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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An exquisite, exceptionally rare and highly important yellow gold tortue-shaped single-button chronograph wristwatch

Circa 1930
26mm Width, 35mm Length
Dial signed by maker, case and movement signed by watchmaker

CHF60,000 - 100,000 

Sold for CHF189,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021