In case you hadn’t noticed yet, Cartier is hot, not only with their latest models but also at auction. Last weekend Phillips had only a modest nine Cartier’s on the roster of their Geneva auction, one being a clock. Nearly all of them didn’t have the slightest problem smashing through even their highest estimate. This proves once more that Cartier, new and (relatively) vintage, are among the hottest commodities in the world of watches.
King of the auction was without a doubt the “Pebble,” made in 1972 by Cartier London. It features a beautiful smooth case of yellow gold with an unusual square dial. While the concept is relatively simple, the visual impact is significant. With a diameter of 35.5 mm is this Cartier also a very wearable watch, but I doubt if it will see the day of light much. Vintage Cartiers have become so popular and valuable that a future as safe-queens is more likely. This especially in the case of the “Pebble,” as only six have been made. Combine this rarity with its good looks and pedigree, and it doesn’t take an expert to explain why it was sold for CHF 403,200.
In general, vintage Cartiers are doing very well. A Tortue Monopoussoir was sold for CHF 189,000, almost double its high estimate. This particular watch had a very nice patina, combined with a good overall condition. Watches like this are becoming increasingly rare, while demand is on the rise. The design of the Tortue remains ever charming and the complication is a novel one, even today. Honestly, I expect the price of this particular model to rise even more in the near future.
That Monopoussoirs are in demand was also underscored by this modern version from 2003, which sold at CHF 52,920. The watch has a lot going for it, as its proportions are perfect, the complication is a very attractive one, and the movement was developed by legends Denis Flageollet, and Francois-Paul Journe. Because it is of a more recent date, the watch is also less fragile to wear than its predecessor, and that is also the place where this watch belongs: on the wrist!
This 1920 Tonneau didn’t break its high estimate yet still did quite well. The reasons that it didn’t do better might have something to do with the patina, as the greenish discoloration on the dial is not the most attractive. It also features more traditional-looking lugs on this model, which quite frankly make it rarer but don’t look as good as the screw-type, which Cartier also uses in the ones in the current collection.
What a beauty this Tank Cintrée from 1965 is! Its condition is near perfect, given its age, and it just oozes style and sophistication. While we see increased performance of a monetary kind for this type of watches, I personally don’t think that they are at their height. They remain very rare, especially in these appealing conditions.
I feel the same with this Tank Asymétrique. Yes, Cartier made 150 of them, as part of the CPCP collection, which is a significant number. However, its unique style is unmatched. When compared to other Tank models, as well as the other varieties Cartier made of the Tank Asymétrique, it is not that much. I expect more and more demand for them in the upcoming years, also because they are quite the style statement on the wrist.
The Tank à Guichet is another historic delight of Cartier, and this modern version is simply the one to have. It is a heavy watch, made of platinum, to commemorate La Maison’s 150th anniversary in 1997. That is also why it has a ruby crown and not the traditional blue sapphire. A jump hour is among one of the rarest complications at Cartier, and combined with the minute indication on a disc below does it make for a Tank unlike any other. While this watch more than doubled its high estimate, I feel that it could have done even better. The reason why it didn’t is probably because this type of Tank is not too well known, even among collectors, and its looks require a bit of getting used to. However, for those who do appreciate it, is it one of the finest horological delicacies.
This Tank Cintrée with two timezones even tripled its high estimate and did so on charisma. This watch makes the most of the room available on the stretched Tank design, giving it even more appeal while taking nothing away from its elegance. Even the two crowns give it an exotic touch, while the watch as a whole becomes even more practical. While I think that the estimate was a bit on the low side, it does clearly indicate that the Tank Cintrée, along with its (semi)vintage siblings, are in demand and on the rise!