- Harry Fane
Hurray!! World Record Price
As you are aware, I have been tracking the prices of Cartier Crash watches for some months. Little did I ever imagine, I would be writing that an original (albeit, late version) London Crash had come to the market. Sure enough last week, Christie's, NY sold a yellow gold Crash which was made in London in 1990. London was the birthplace of these watches. Born at the height of the 'Swinging Sixties', this watch has become one of the most potent and iconic symbols both of that time and of the remarkable jewellers, Cartier. No history of either House nor time is complete without reference to this extraordinary design.
Cartier, by repute, made as few as twelve original models in the 1960s. They were fearful of making more because they were worried they would not sell. In 1987, due to popular demand, the London firm made another ten (again, by repute. Cartier refuses to share any information about their history through, as one wag described it, pure pig headedness!) This model from 1990 was probably a special order and is definitely the last Crash made in London. The most important feature of this model is the size, 43 cm versus 38 cm. When Cartier moved production to Paris in the early 1990s, they shrunk the size to make it more attractive to women who were the main customers for the Crash. The smaller size is very attractive and men do quite comfortably wear it.
But this London watch is The Holy Grail, minus 1...Clearly, an original 1967 version is the holiest of grails but any Crash made in London (ignoring the 2018 re-issues) is something very, very special..Something very, very rare...and something unlikely to appear on the market again.
As for price..this watch made US $ 225,000. Exactly US $ 100,000 more than one of the 1991 series which sold in Hong Kong recently and a lot less than the 1991 platinum version which also sold in Hong Kong very recently.
For Crash aficionados, this is the 'one'....an original London Crash...a dream
The influential Hodinkee Watch Magazine wrote the following after the auction:
Auctions: Christie's Sets World Auction Record For A Yellow-Gold Cartier Crash
A huge result, but peak Crash is likely yet to be seen.
DECEMBER 11, 2020
With an estimate of $70,000-$90,000, an 18k yellow gold Cartier Crash offered at Christie's has set a new auction record, hitting a remarkable $225,000. The sale took place last night and, thanks to several high-performing lots, Christie's totalled almost $7.75M while celebrating a handful of records – including one from the sale of this iconic model from Cartier.
This specific Crash dates back to 1990 and includes both box and papers. Being of the earlier variety (pre-1991, though its warranty was dated in February of 1991), this crash is 43mm in length (post '91 models use an updated case that is 38mm long), has "London" on the dial and, like all such Crash examples, was sold exclusively via the brand's London boutique.