Cartier - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: Circa 1950
    Case No: 38'663
    Model Name: "Timone" or "Helm Watch"
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Manual, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K white gold later bracelet, max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Cartier deployant clasp with Cartier numbers
    Dimensions: 35mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial signed, movement signed European Watch and Clock Co., buckle numbered (however bracelet is after market), inside caseback with EJ maker's mark for Edmond Jaeger

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cartier is a name not only associated with Parisian glamour, but also with bold and seductive designs - the present watch embodies such spirit perfectly, and is absolutely singular in its design language.

    Upon their introduction in the early 20th century, wristwatches were basically a wrist version of the pocket watch with lugs soldered onto them. Cartier pushed conventional design and boundaries by creating shaped wristwatches such as the Tonneau, Tortue or Tank which would eventually become milestones in horological design.

    In the late 1940s, the round wristwatch surpassed the Art-Deco inspired form watches of the previous decades in terms of popularity. Cartier took the notion of a round wristwatch one step further by creating one with another circular bezel attached by circular fixtures. This design gave way to the name "Helm Watch", or "Timone" in Italian, named such because of its design resembling a ship's wheel.

    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, however cased in yellow gold. White gold is particularly rare compared to yellow gold for vintage Cartier models, making the present watch virtually one of kind, particularly considering the relatively large diameter of the watch.

    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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An extremely rare and very attractive white gold helm-shaped wristwatch with bracelet

Circa 1950
35mm Diameter
Case, dial signed, movement signed European Watch and Clock Co., buckle numbered (however bracelet is after market), inside caseback with EJ maker's mark for Edmond Jaeger

CHF50,000 - 100,000 

Sold for CHF52,920

Contact Specialist

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

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021