From Bond Street to Auction Records: The Journey of Cartier’s Crash Watch

From Bond Street to Auction Records: The Journey of Cartier’s Crash Watch
CARTIER LONDON CRASH 1967, Source - Loupe This.

1. Cartier's Innovative Design Legacy

Founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier in Paris, the brand, as Sotheby's beautifully puts it, is an epitome of "legacy and romance". Spanning generations, the maison’s design style revolves around creativity, attracting esteemed collectors throughout eras. Under the stewardship of Louis Cartier, Pierre Cartier, and Jacques Cartier, the brand became a dominating force in jewelry and watch designs during the early 20th century.

2. Inspiration from the Unexpected

Cartier has a history of seeking inspiration from unique sources. The Cartier Tank watch, designed in 1917, mirrored the Renault FT-17 tank used in World War I, juxtaposing the brutal imagery of war with the sophistication of time-keeping.

Similarly, the Cartier Crash, birthed at their iconic London boutique on Bond Street, embodies innovation and unconventionality. This location, with its rich lineage of groundbreaking designs, was notably shaped by Jean-Jacque Cartier and his autonomous craftsmen.

Sotheby’s Watches Specialist Charlie Foxhall emphasized how Cartier’s designs play with foundational shapes. With the Crash, it seemed as though an oval was intentionally distorted.

CARTIER LONDON CRASH 1967, Source - Loupe This.

3. Debunking Myths: The Crash’s Origin Story

Contrary to the belief that the Crash design might have ties to Salvador Dali's surreal masterpiece "The Persistence of Memory", it doesn't. The inception of the Crash was a blend of accident and ingenuity. In 1967, a Cartier client presented a damaged Baignoire watch at the London maison, the aftermath of an automobile mishap. This incident serendipitously led to the creation of the Crash.

4. Rarity and Auctions

The Cartier Crash is a testament to limited production, making it a prized possession for collectors. Its scarcity and unique design history have contributed to its elevated status in the watch collection realm. An example of its unparalleled value is the record-breaking sale by LOUPE THIS, where a 1967 Cartier Crash “London” fetched $1.5 million in 2022, establishing a new benchmark for Cartier watches.

How much is the Cartier Crash Worth?As of the most recent records, a 1967 Cartier Crash “London” was auctioned for a staggering $1.5 million in 2022 by LOUPE THIS, marking it the most valuable Cartier watch ever sold. However, the value of these watches vary depending on the year of manufacture, provenance, materials and condition.

Does Cartier still sell the Crash?While Cartier has reissued the Crash in limited editions over the years, its availability directly from Cartier may vary. It's advisable for interested buyers to consult Cartier boutiques or authorized dealers for current availability.

How rare is the Cartier Crash?Given its limited production and distinct history, the Cartier Crash is exceptionally rare, especially specific models like the 1967 “London” variant.

CARTIER LONDON CRASH 1967, Source - Loupe This.

5. Conclusion: A Timeless Collision of Art and Accidents

The Cartier Crash, beyond its intriguing design and legacy, stands as a testament to Cartier's unwavering commitment to innovation, even when inspiration stems from the most unexpected places.


Sotheby's (2021), The Unusual History of the Cartier Crash.

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