Cartier - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XVII Hong Kong Friday, November 24, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: Circa 1991
    Case No: 037-91, A'108'333
    Model Name: Crash, Paris Edition
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 1978-2, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Cartier deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 38mm length x 23mm width
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • 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.

    A superlative timepiece that has remained an exclusive flagship boutique model of the firm, Cartier Paris released their own Crash in 1991 as a limited edition of 400 pieces in yellow gold followed by 50 pieces in platinum. The present example Cartier Crash in yellow gold belongs to an example numbered 37 of a limited edition of 400 pieces from the 1991 Paris series. Offered in excellent overall condition, this quirky timepiece will be a fantastic addition to any collection.

  • 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 unusual, impressive and iconic limited edition yellow gold asymmetric wristwatch, numbered 37 of a limited edition of 400 pieces

Circa 1991
38mm length x 23mm width
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

HK$550,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,524,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XVII

Hong Kong Auction 24-25 November 2023