The Cartier Crash is a legendary timepiece with multiple spurious origin stories detailing things from fiery car crashes in central London to spontaneous inspiration following the arrival of a badly damaged watch in for service to Cartier’s London location. No matter its origin, the Cartier Crash is wrapped in mystique, and London is widely acknowledged as its spiritual, and literal, home due to its production being the brainchild of Jean-Jacques Cartier, the head of Cartier London at the time, and famed designer Rupert Emmerson. Jean-Jacques had decided in the mid-60s that it was time for Cartier London to create their own watches, and so, London-signed variants of the Cartier Crash are some of the most highly collected, given they were first produced there. Designed by Cartier and Emmerson to reflect the surrealist design culture that was popular during the '60s, the Crash is entirely recognizable by its unconventional case shape reminiscent of Salvador Dali's melting clocks in his 1931 painting 'The Persistence of Memory' and its warped dial layout. The design was conceived as a Cartier Oval with "twisted ends". Constructed of 18kt yellow gold with its signature London-signed Cartier dial featuring black exploded Roman numerals and blue steel hands, this timepiece is a beautiful example of the Crash in all of its wonderful glory. Dating from 1967, this piece is one of the earliest to have surfaced at auction.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$500,000 – $800,000
Watch is in excellent original condition. There is surface wear evident, and some light wear on the hallmarks at 9 o'clock. JC and London hallmarks are crisp and perfectly visible inside the caseback, as is the serial number in the strap lug area. The original crystal has some light marks as shown in the images. Dial has some light marks as shown in images, but they are very minor and do not detract from the beauty of the piece. Original deployant buckle with unique asymmetric closure is in excellent condtion with crisp hallmarks fully visible.
ADDITIONAL INFO: The watch was previously erroneously described as being from 1969, when it is actually from 1967. It is one of the earliest we have ever seen, being from the very first year of production. We have uploaded an additional picture of the inside caseback with the hallmarks as well as movement visible.
Please Note: Due to CITES considerations, if the watch is to be shipped outside of the USA, the exotic skin strap will have to be removed.
The Crash has long been used as a vehicle to deliver Cartier's explorations of contemporary design over the years. From its debut in the 1960s to the various limited edition runs Cartier has produced since then, the Crash has a reputation as a sought-after watch that isn't released by Cartier often. With its mysterious origin story and extreme rarity, it has quickly become every Cartier connoisseur's favorite timepiece to fawn over. My personal favorite watch, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a very early- first year of production and fresh to market original Crash, of which less than a handful were ever made.