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Keeping Time with Cartier

A lot can happen in 170 years. In fact, quite a lot has since jeweler Louis-Francois Cartier took over at the Paris shop where he was an apprentice, following the death of master jeweler Adolphe Picard. While brands have come and gone as the global marketplace has evolved, the popularity of Cartier jewelry and watches has remained strong. Talk about staying power.

A significant reason for the company’s relevance, especially in its first century operation, was due to the visionaries within multiple generations of the Cartier family. This is most evident in the company’s masterful watchmaking.

This Cartier watch exemplified the influence of Cartier’s roots in fine-jewelry design. The platinum Art Deco ladies watch, circa 1915, features a “panther” design diamond and onyx on the setting and band, as well as graduated pearls on the band. The timepiece is a creation of Cartier and European Watch & Clock Co. It sold in a 2016 Heritage auction for $42,500. Heritage Auctions image.

Cartier’s History: By the time Henry Ford had introduced the Model T automobile, created in an assembly line and available at a price more Americans could afford, Cartier’s watchmaking operation was already in its 20th year. When men were starting to get behind the wheel of a Model T, in 1908, their driving attire might have included Cartier’s Tonneau wristwatch. And if they were particularly well connected, they might be able to acquire the Santos, which was not readily available to the public until 1911.

Cartier quickly became well known in European high society and abroad for creating lavish and unique items of jewelry. Applying the same approach the firm used in designing jewelry, Alfred Cartier (Louis- Francois’ son) expanded the company’s line to include timepieces. As explained in an introductory video on the Cartier website, the company’s foray into watches began with fob and chatelaine watches for women, followed in 1888 by the first ladies Cartier wristwatch. Alfred wasn’t alone in this timekeeping venture; by the turn of the 20th century, all three of his sons (Louis, Pierre and Jacques-Theodule) had joined the family business.

However, working side-by-side in the company’s Paris headquarters wasn’t the Cartier family’s vision for the future. By 1910, the three sons were overseeing Cartier’s overseas branches in London and New York. Cartier remained a family-run operation until 1964, following the passing of Pierre. Louis and Jacques both had predeceased their brother in 1942.

Classic Cartier: In the 21st century, Cartier is owned by Richemont, a conglomerate that owns other luxury brands including Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget. More than nine decades ago Cartier was partnering with each of those companies, producing “white-label” watches to be sold under their own brand names, according to Collectors Weekly. One of the earliest and most innovative partnerships in Cartier’s history was with Jaeger, the company behind the movements in Cartier watches.

There’s no mistaking the influence and appeal of Cartier watches. Let’s look at four of the company’s notable styles:

A square-shape 18K gold Cartier Tank, circa 1962, gifted to Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963 and worn regularly, was part of an affinity lot that sold for $379,500 at an auction presented by Christie’s in June 2017. Christie’s image.

1. Tank: This year marks the 100th anniversary of this iconic Cartier model. Various historical accounts attribute the name and styling of the watch to the military armament by the same name first used during World War I. The first examples of this watch were given by Cartier to members of the American Expeditionary Force, according to A Blog to Watch.

As is the case with many sought-after collectible items, the stories and provenance related to the antique and vintage watches undoubtedly add to their appeal at auction. This was evident recently, when a Cartier Tank wristwatch owned and regularly worn by Jacqueline Kennedy more than doubled its estimate at a summer 2017 auction at Christie’s.

According to Christie’s auction preview, Mrs. Kennedy’s watch was a gift from her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill, husband of her sister, Lee Radziwill. The watch’s engraving adds to its historic relevance. It bears the engraved inscription, Stas to Jackie, 23 Feb. 1963 2.05am to 9.35pm. The words correspond to the date and duration Radziwill and friends spent completing a 50-mile hike at Palm Beach, Florida. The hike was tied to President Kennedy’s aims to make America a fit nation by making health and wellness a priority. The first lady and her sister were driven to a section of the hike to meet up with the walkers, and at various points during the hike, President Kennedy was also said to have joined the endeavor.

Radziwill’s gift was not the only gift commemorating the event. The first lady created a painting depicting Radziwill and one of his friends on the hike and inscribed it similarly to what is seen on the watch: February 23, 1963 2.05am to 9.35pm /Jackie to Stas with love and admiration. The painting, paired with the watch, formed the lot that sold for $379,500 at Christie’s June 21, 2017 auction.

Limited edition 18K white gold Santos Triple 100 wristwatch, one of 20 made, features a full diamond-set case and three rotatable dials, circa 2008, sold in 2011 for $218,382 at Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s image

2. Santos: As Cartier history reveals, this famed watch model (the company’s first style for men) came about as a solution to a friend’s problem. The friend was noted aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The issue he relayed to Louis-Francois Cartier was the frustrating challenge of accessing his pocket watch while at the controls of a plane. Cartier went to work and in 1904 approached Santos-Dumont with a watch that had an easily visible face, sat flat on the wrist and was held in place by a strap and buckle. In no time, the watch – which Cartier named the Santos – also became known as a pilot’s watch, according to Monochrome. The watch was made available to the public in 1911.

3. Tonneau: One of the earliest readily available wristwatches created by Cartier, the Tonneau appeared on the market in 1906. Named for the shape of the case (tonneau is French for barrel), it was an incomparably sophisticated design for the time. This model of Cartier watch was introduced during the Belle Époque period, an age during which Cartier’s watchmaking business flourished.

Collecting Tip: Two sets of numbers are stamped on the backs of Cartier watches made from about the mid-20th century onward. The 4-digit number is the model number, while the 8-digit number is the serial number.

4. Crash: Steeped in urban lore, this model of Cartier timepiece was inspired by the result of an accident, or heat exposure, or possibly Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. According to an article by George Cramer for Revolution.watch, it was 1967 and Jean-Jacques Cartier, the head of Cartier’s London office at the time, designed the Crash style of watch after seeing a warped Cartier timepiece. Regardless of the source of inspiration, the radically uncommon watch captured the world’s attention. Three times in the years since its debut (1991, 1997 and 2013), Cartier has released limited-edition versions of the Crash watch. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cartier Crash and chatter on horological sites is rife with speculation (perhaps hopefulness) about a re-release of the Crash in 2017.

This 18K pink gold Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon watch, featuring blued steel sword-shaped hands and a brown alligator skin strap, was auctioned for $36,830 on June 12, 2017 at Morphy’s. Morphy Auctions image
This 18K pink gold Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon watch, featuring blued steel sword-shaped hands and a brown alligator skin strap, was auctioned for $36,830 on June 12, 2017 at Morphy’s. Morphy Auctions image

5. Ballon Bleu de Cartier: This Cartier model appeals to both men and women, making it modern choice. The shape of the case is circular, with both the top and bottom featuring a rounded design. Another uncommon design element of the Ballon Bleu is the inclusion of a guard over the traditional Cartier sapphire cabochon crown.As historical records demonstrate, the connection between Cartier and royalty dates to the company’s earliest years, when King Edward VII of England famously referred to the company as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” Today, that connection continues, as England’s Duchess Kate Middleton is often photographed wearing a Ballon Bleu Cartier watch.

All That Glitters: Signed Designer and Modern Jewelry  

A classic line from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice observes, “All that glitters is not gold.” Those words appropriately describe this diverse selection of signed designer and modern jewelry that you might enjoy trying on for size. In addition to imaginative creations in fine, glittering gold, there are several gleaming examples in platinum or sterling silver, set with an array of gemstones ranging from aquamarines, citrines and amethysts to every girl’s best friend: diamonds.

Let’s lift the lid on a special jewelry box brimming with beautiful pieces by some of your favorite names, including Tiffany, Yves Saint Laurent, Buccellati and Prada.

Frascarolo 18K Enameled Gold, Diamond & Emerald Lion Brooch

For sheer eye appeal, this 1960s Pierino Frascarolo 18K enameled gold lion brooch is hard to beat. Fully three-dimensional, it is set with oval-shape emerald eyes and a pave diamond muzzle and ears. On a coat, dress or suit jacket, his handsome cat will attract the lion’s share of compliments, wherever you go.

 

Frascarolo 18K enameled gold lion brooch with emerald eyes and pave diamond muzzle and ears. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000

 

Rare Vintage Chanel Coin Charm Bracelet

The jewelry designs of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, 1883-1971) have captivated collectors for nearly nine decades. Chanel viewed each piece of jewelry as an important component of the overall look of an ensemble. Nothing she designed was meant to be a standalone item; to Chanel, each jewelry creation was potentially part of a greater visual presentation of head-to-toe fashion. There’s always a demand for vintage Chanel, like this rare gold-plated coin charm bracelet. And how nice to have the original Chanel box in which to keep it safe.

 

Rare vintage Chanel gold coin charm bracelet, made in France. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000

 

Buccellatti 18K Gold, Ruby & Sapphire Cufflinks

The ultimate in Italian sophistication, these Buccellati 18K yellow and white gold cufflinks are set with sugarloaf-faceted rubies encircling a blue sapphire cabochon. What a rich look!

 

Buccellati 18K yellow and white gold cufflinks set with rubies around central sapphires. Estimate $6,000-$8,000

 

Louis Vuitton Gold-Metal Bangle Bracelet

Want high style without a high price? This good-looking Louis Vuitton gold-metal bangle bracelet features a scalloped design and 11 salmon-color cabochons. It also comes with its original box and dustbag.

 

Louis Vuitton gold-metal bangle bracelet with 11 cabochons. Estimate $450-$600

 

Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Platinum Open Heart Necklace with Diamonds

Elsa Peretti’s designs for Tiffany & Co. have a consistent look of high quality and chic simplicity. This open heart platinum necklace features five round, brilliant-cut diamonds with a total weight of .04 carats. It goes with everything and could easily become some lucky girl’s everyday favorite.

 

Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti platinum open heart necklace with diamonds. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000

 

Cartier 18K Gold & Diamond Trinity Ring

A timeless celestial design from Cartier, this 1989 trinity ring combines pink gold for love, yellow gold for fidelity and white gold for friendship. Adorned with five diamonds in each band, the ring is signed Cartier, numbered and stamped with French hallmarks. So elegant!

 

Cartier 18K pink, yellow and white gold trinity ring with five diamonds on each band. Made in 1989. Estimate: $3,500-$4,000

 

Want more? View the full catalog containing many other signed designer and modern jewelry pieces.

Classic Luxury Watches to Polish Your Presence

Time marches on, and what better way to measure it than wearing a classic watch – an accessory that polishes your presence. This week we’re presenting a collection of personal luxury timepieces where you’ll find 20th century watches by world-class Swiss, French, and American manufacturers. From Cartier to Rolex, these creators endow watches with boldness and precision.

Topping the list of women’s watches is a classic 18K white gold Cartier Tank watch from the turn of the 21st century. Louis Cartier revolutionized watchmaking design in 1918 when he introduced the Tank watch, which featured a rectangular dial and Roman numerals. This modern version has a quartz movement and is estimated at $6,500-$8,000.

Solid white gold Cartier Tank watch, quartz movement, circa 2000. Estimate: $6,500-$8,000

Solid white gold Cartier Tank watch, quartz movement, circa 2000. Estimate: $6,500-$8,000

Also by Cartier is a recent 18K gold curved case watch, which has a $4,000-$5,000 estimate. A pioneer in watchmaking style, Cartier combines utility, luxury, and elegance.

Cartier curved case watch, Model 0211, 18K solid gold, circa 2006. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000

Cartier curved case watch, Model 0211, 18K solid gold, circa 2006. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000

One of the most unusual watches in the auction is a Rolex cover watch from the 1960s. It features an 18K bracelet and a white waffle dial, which is covered by a gold half shell. It is expected to sell for $3,000-$3,500.

Rolex solid 18K gold cover watch, 1960s, 15mm diameter. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

Rolex solid 18K gold cover watch, 1960s, 15mm diameter. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

For more spark in your game there is an 18K Bucherer diamond tennis bracelet watch from the 1960s, which has a $4,000-$5,000 estimate. The Bucherer brand has been family owned since 1888, and the company is renowned for innovation and creativity.

Bucherer diamond tennis bracelet watch, 18K gold case. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000

Bucherer diamond tennis bracelet watch, 18K gold case. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000

The auction features 19 pocket watches including an American-made Waltham 14K pink gold oversize box pocket watch. Its heavily engraved case depicts a bridge and castle. Made in 1892, this timepiece is estimated at $3,000-$3,500.

Waltham 14K solid gold oversize box pocketwatch, 1892, 55mm in diameter. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

Waltham 14K solid gold oversize box pocket watch, 1892, 55mm in diameter. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

Much smaller is a 14K gold repeater pocket watch that features stopwatch, quarter-hour and initial plate blank functions.

Repeater pocketwatch, 14K gold, white porcelain dial, 1890s. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

Repeater pocketwatch, 14K gold, white porcelain dial, 1890s. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

The auction for this collection of luxury timepieces ends on Sunday, December 11. Bidding starts at just $1 – Click now to bid.

Vintages Watches and Timepieces with Bold Design

From Cartier to Rolex, world-class Swiss, French and American timepiece manufacturers have created watches with bold designs and precision movements. Take a look at some of the beautiful pieces featured in this week’s watch auction.

Ranking at the top of the auction estimates is a rare Tiffany & Co. Piaget model 924-C4, in an 18K gold and bracelet. It is one of the thinnest movements made by Piaget. This stunning watch carries a $10,000-$12,000 estimate.

Piaget Tiffany & Co. 18K gold watch, model Piaget/924-C4, serial no. 88490. Estimate: $10,500-$12,000. Jasper52image

Piaget Tiffany & Co. 18K gold watch, model Piaget/924-C4, serial no. 88490. Estimate: $10,500-$12,000

 

A LeCoultre eight-day desk clock  has attracted much attention. This handsome gold-plated timepiece from the 1960s has a $900-$1,200 estimate.

LeCoultre eight-day desk clock, manual movement, 1960s. Estimate: $900-$1,200. Jasper52 image

LeCoultre eight-day desk clock, manual movement, 1960s. Estimate: $900-$1,200

 

Also by LeCoultre, the renowned Swiss luxury watch and clock maker, is a Memovox alarm watch in a gold-filled case, estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

LeCoultre Memovox alarm watch, circa 1960, gold-filled case. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Jasper52 image.

LeCoultre Memovox alarm watch, circa 1960, gold-filled case. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500

 

One of the earliest items in the auction is a Zenith wristwatch with bold radium numerals and hands and a sterling silver case. This stylish antique from 1918 carries a $2,000-$2,500 estimate.

Zenith Swiss-made wristwatch, sterling silver case, 1918, porcelain dial. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500

Zenith Swiss-made wristwatch, sterling silver case, 1918, porcelain dial. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500

 

For a modern look, consider the Movado 14K gold watch that has a dial design by Bauhaus-influenced artist Nathan George Horwitt. The watch dial has a simple design defined by a solitary dot at 12, symbolizing the sun at noon. The dial was selected for the permanent design collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1960. The single dot dial now appears in many of Movado’s watches.

 

Movado 14K gold watch with antique white texture dial, original bracelet and buckle. Estimate: $1,000-$1,250. Jasper52image

Movado 14K gold watch with antique white texture dial, original bracelet and buckle. Estimate: $1,000-$1,250

Also noteworthy is a Cartier 18K gold curved case watch, model 0211, which was manufactured in 2006. Certain to be a classic, this ladies watch is estimated at $3,500-$4,000.

Cartier 18K gold curved case watch, Model 0211, circa 2006. Estimate: $3,500-$4,000

Cartier 18K gold curved case watch, Model 0211, circa 2006. Estimate: $3,500-$4,000

 

View the full catalog of vintage watches and timepieces here. Your wrist deserves some new jewelry.

Fine Jewelry Auction Sets Stage for Premier Designers’ Gems

David Yurman, Georg Jensen, William Spratling, Cartier and Tiffany are a few of the famous names represented in this weekend’s upcoming fine jewelry auction.

Sparkling with fine creations by illustrious designers, this collection offers a kaleidoscope of exquisite pieces, including vintage and estate jewelry. Trends evolve, but diamonds, silver and gold never go out of style. Here are a few of our favorite things… from this collection:

Diamond and sapphire earrings, 1.5 ctw. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000

Diamond and sapphire earrings, 1.5 ctw. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000

Topping the list is a pair of diamond and sapphire earrings in 18K white and yellow gold. The diamonds in these flower-shape earrings have a total carat weight of approximately 1.5 to 2.0 carats (est. $6,000-$8,000).

Seven pieces designed by sculptor David Yurman are entered in the auction, including an 18K gold X crossover diamond ring. The size 7 ring features Yurman’s signature cable detail and pave diamonds (0.04 ctw).

David Yurman 18K gold X crossover diamond ring. Estimate: $900-$1,000. Jasper52 image

David Yurman 18K gold X crossover diamond ring. Estimate: $900-$1,000

A classic example of Mexican silver is a 1930s River of Life cuff bracelet designed by William Spratling, which is estimated at $1,750-$2,000.

 

William Spratling ‘River of Life’ cuff bracelet, 980 silver. Estimate: $1,750-$2,000. Jasper52 image

William Spratling ‘River of Life’ cuff bracelet, 980 silver. Estimate: $1,750-$2,000

Two postwar Georg Jensen lots will be sold: a 1 1/2-inch sterling silver No. 20 brooch and a pair of sterling silver No. 66 “Bird” earrings by Kristian Mohl-Hansen.

 

Georg Jensen sterling silver ‘Bird’ earrings by Kristian Mohl-Hansen, with screw back clasps, 1-inch diameter. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

Georg Jensen sterling silver ‘Bird’ earrings by Kristian Mohl-Hansen, with screw-back clasps, 1-inch diameter. Estimate: $500-$600

This 18K white gold and diamond “C” heart ring by Cartier has an estimated value of $4,500-$6,000.

 

Cartier 18K white gold diamond ‘C’ heart ring, sized 5.25. Estimate: $4,500-$6,000.

Cartier 18K white gold diamond ‘C’ heart ring, size 5.25. Estimate: $4,500-$6,000.

Just “a little something” from Tiffany’s, the pair of 14K yellow gold full links shown below carry a $200-$300 estimate.

Tiffany & Co 14K yellow gold cuff links, 11.3 grams. Estimate: $200-$300. Jasper52 image

Tiffany & Co 14K yellow gold cuff links, 11.3 grams. Estimate: $200-$300

Also within this unique assortment of more than 100 lots are a Victorian gold conch brooch and a Navajo green turquoise necklace. And the best part? All bidding start at just $1.