Cartier - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: TWO Hong Kong Monday, May 30, 2016 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: 1997
    Reference No: 723207
    Case No: No. 1/1
    Material: 18k white gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds
    Calibre: Quartz
    Bracelet/Strap: 18k white gold, diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald-set Cartier bracelet
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k white gold and diamond-set Cartier concealed folding clasp
    Dimensions: 14 mm. width
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: With Cartier Certificate dated 25 February 1998 confirming the present watch is numbered 01/1, International Guarantee Certificate dated 25 February 1998 and fitted presentation box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Property From an Important Collector

    The late 1920s was a time of economic expansion and wide spread growth in the arts, literature, architecture and design. With the crash in 1929 and the Great Depression that followed, a sense of uncertainty filled the vacuum created by the economic downturn. As a result, luxury jewelry houses and watch manufactures tried to encourage spending by introducing exquisitely decorated objects such as the tutti-frutti design. As women sought to expand their social and economic freedom gained during the war years, a hunger for novelty, luxury and frivolity became widespread. There became a fascination with Egypt and India, which was stimulated by accounts of artists and travellers visiting these regions. The tutti-frutti bracelet watch consists of a mixture of rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds that give so much color, and are often set as undulating vines with craft-gem leaves, flowers and fruits.

    Cartier’s expertise in ‘Tutti Frutti’ jewels began in 1901 when Queen Alexandra commissioned Pierre Cartier to create a necklace inspired by the magnificent jewels of Southern Asia. Ten years later, Jacque Cartier embarked on a voyage to India that would alter the course of jewelry in the Western world. There, Cartier sought the traditional expertise of master craftsmen in carving rubies, sapphires and emeralds into leaf designs and cabochon berry shapes. Gemstones, especially emeralds, are notoriously difficult to carve due to their delicate nature. Such techniques had not been used in Europe before, and Cartier incorporated them into their repertoire.

    While the term ‘Tutti Frutti’ was only coined in the 1970s, Mughal-inspired designs from the 1930s onwards were an instant hit in Europe and the Americas, beloved by socialites and the elite. Among famous clientele was Daisy Fellowes, the Singer machine heiress who particularly loved 'Tutti Frutti' style of jewelry. A particularly stunning and historically important piece she commissioned is the ‘Hindou’ necklace that Cartier created in 1936. The necklace is composed of graduating layers of carved rubies, sapphires, emeralds and cabriolet sapphires on the fringe of the necklace. Later sold at auction in 1991, the necklace achieved the highest price for any Cartier jewel offered at the time. Indeed, it was Cartier who bought the necklace back for $2,655,172 USD. Cartier's fascination with Indian jewels was not merely one-sided. The Maharajas and Maharanis were also enamored by the East-meets-West style, and commissioned Cartier to create 'Tutti Frutti' necklace sets, sautoirs, pins and other pieces for their vast collections.

    Cartier is very proud of its illustrious history, and from time to time, will dig into its archives for inspiration. The 150th anniversary was such an occasion. The present watch is a modern day interpretation of the iconic ‘Tutti Frutti’ design. Set with carved rubies, emeralds, sapphires and brilliant diamonds, the bracelet is also studded with cabochon rubies that appear as berries on a winding stem. This design pays homage to the historically important pieces within the jeweler’s archive. The bracelet watch also features a unique concealed dial, set with baguette diamonds, tallow-cut ruby and emerald cabochons which provide an Art Deco aesthetic. Underneath lies a mother-of-pearl dial.

    This unique piece was specially designed for Cartier’s 150th anniversary in 1997, which is confirmed by the No. 1/1 engraving on the case back and original certificate. To our knowledge, no comparable contemporary bracelet watch has ever appeared at auction before, no less by Cartier. We are thrilled and honored to offer this 20th century masterpiece that was created with the inspiration of the magnificent Tutti-frutti.

  • 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. 723207
A lady's unique and highly important white gold and multi gem-set tutti frutti bracelet watch with concealed mother-of-pearl dial, original certificate and fitted presentation box

14 mm. width
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

Ziyong Ho
+852 9386 2032

Jill Chen
+852 2318 2033

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: TWO

Hong Kong Auction 31 May 2016