Cartier - Disruptors: Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Design and Watches Hong Kong Thursday, May 25, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: Circa 2010
    Reference No: 2774
    Case No: 10215PX
    Model Name: Crash
    Material: 18K white gold and diamonds
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 8970MC, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold and diamond-set Cartier deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 38 mm length x 22 mm width
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Cartier Certificate of Origin stamped Cartier Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong and dated 13th July 2010, instruction manual, product literature, CD, red document holder, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    A swanky icon from the swinging sixties, the Cartier Crash is arguably one of the most disruptive designs in the horological world since its debut in 1967. Given the recent craze for fancy shaped Cartier creations, this fabulous contortionist has regained its status as the ultimate holy grail collectors fight tooth and nail over, just to have a chance to flash the Crash.

    The legend of its origin is compelling and is sometimes romanticised. While many believe the Crash was the jeweller’s attempt to materialise the distorted clocks in Salvador Dalí's famed painting—The Persistence of Memory, others swear by the highly plausible rumour that the watch was, in fact, a Baignoire that had melted after being engulfed in the flames of a burning car. The true accounts were finally addressed in 2019 by Francesca Cartier Brickell, who recounts a conversation with her grandfather, Jean-Jacques Cartier, about how the design actually came about in her book, The Cartiers.

    Many of Cartier's most eccentric timepieces can be traced back to one address, Bond Street London. For north of three decades, Jean-Jacques Cartier was at the realm of the London outpost and was a champion of producing watches for a more adventurous clientèle, each channelling their own distinct flair without deviating from the Maison’s design DNA. According to his granddaughter, the Crash was resulted from the joint effort of Monsieur Cartier and one of the most influential artisans at the time, Rupert Emmerson. Together, the pair played with Cartier's visual identity, stretching and bending it with much more audacity than his predecessors.

    Very rarely do watches of such beauty appear on the market, and the present dazzling Cartier Crash from 2010 certainly exudes an element of glamour and sophistication. Complete with its full set of accessories, this gorgeously preserved timepiece not only possesses the sinuous curves of the iconic model, but is also framed in a white gold and diamond-set case that is destined to turn heads.

    At times, it is easily forgotten that behind the many admirable watches, however impressive, sits humble humans. Whilst one tends to focus on the quest for precision and perfection in watchmaking, errors are a fundamental part of this human element, and the present dial is the perfect example. Though it is not often that Cartier, the jeweller of kings and king of jewellers, make the odd mishap in their creations, this dial is however an exception as it left the factory with an incomplete printed Cartier signature. The magic of wabi-sabi (finding beauty in imperfection) that comes with this attractive, slightly patinated dial further elevates its already-unparalleled rarity. Offered by the original owner, this lot will no doubt excite the seasoned collectors of the Cartier Crash.

  • 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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Ref. 2774
A rare, possibly unique and exquisite white gold and diamond-set asymmetrical wristwatch with Certificate of Origin and presentation box

Circa 2010
38 mm length x 22 mm width
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$500,000 - 1,000,000 

Sold for HK$990,600

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Head of Mid-Season Sales
+852 2318 2014

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

Disruptors: Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Design and Watches

Hong Kong Auction 25 May 2023