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  • Harry Fane

Just a pebble...

Updated: May 31


A little history was made today when Phillips sold this very rare Cartier, London wristwatch from 1972 for close to $ 500,000. This is a world-record price by far for any vintage Cartier, London watch and confirms that Cartier, London wears the crown when it comes to desirability. If you go back to the entry in this Report from March 15th, there Cartier London watches are discussed but only a passing reference is made to this extraordinary design. This watch is known most properly as 'The Pebble' because it really is pebble-shaped. In America, however, it is also known as 'The Baseball' because the shape of the dial corresponds to the shape of a baseball field. Interestingly, way back in the 1930s, Cartier made a watch of a similar design. In that watch, the case was much rounder with straight edges not the organic shape of this case, and the square dial was set square-on, not in this diamond shape. This illustrates that whilst Cartier London appears to wander far from the fold when they started making their own watches, they didn't really go very far (The Crash excluded). What fascinates me is how widely appreciated this tiny, tiny niche within the watch world is. Cartier, London made so few models over only a decade, and yet, as soon as a model like this, one of rarest of the group, appears there are many interested buyers including a couple of diehards who were prepared to slug it out into unprecedented ground. Many congratulations to the winner. You have something extraordinary and immensely rare. I know many of you will be asking how many Pebbles were actually made. This is a hard question to answer but it is probably something like six of this large size and six of the smaller lady's size. Cartier is famously unhelpful in providing these important details or any details for that matter. These London watches are amongst the most famous in the world and this new price catapults them into a whole new category. Come on Cartier! Regardless, the aficionados know the story and clearly know what they want. They are very astute. If you look back over the short life of this Report, you can track the ever-increasing prices being paid for Cartier watches. Where do we go now??

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