No New Watches: New Cartiers are great, but how about a unique Cartier Cloche in platinum?
Sometimes vintage just does it better.
No New Watches, day 3.
Okay, I said these ‘sletters weren’t going to have any relation to the new releases from Watches & Wonders 2021. But, I had this whole screed about how the Cloche is the most underrated shape watch from Cartier ready to go…and then Cartier had to release those sick new Cloches (more on those in my Highsnobiety Watches & Wonders Takes). So now I’m just chasing a trend.
But I promise, I’ve had this one loaded in the Take chamber for a while. Last December, I pointed to the Cloche as sneaky good geometry. PEOPLE FORGET — the Cloche dates back to the 1920s, and if you want, you can give it credit as the first really experimental non-rectangular/square wristwatch from Cartier.
All this is lead-in to a 1-of-1 Cartier Cloche in platinum up at Monaco Legends’ Exclusive Timepieces Auction on April 17. If I wanted to mail it in by day 3 of No New Watches, I’d just highlight lot 230, the 1991 Cartier Crash I’ve been tracking prices of for over the past year or so, but no.1 Living up to my promise to go f**king deep in 2021 and well aware of the coital implications of a third date, let’s cozy up to this Cloche from *The Maison* (“The House” in French) in Bianco.
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So what is this voluptuous wonder?
In 1996 Cartier did a bunch of stuff to celebrate its 150th anniversary. Most notably, Antiquorum hosted an auction, “The Magical Art of Cartier”, featuring some 600+ Cartier lots (check them all out here2, it’s wild). In conjunction with that, *The House* commissioned some timepieces, often with different dials to make them unique. Among those were a handful of Cartier Cloches (“bell” in French) in platinum. Some of these timepieces were sold via the auction, while others were sold privately.
The example up for sale at Monaco was originally sold privately back in 1996. It’s about as classic as it gets for Cartier, with Roman numerals, an outer minute track, and Breguet hands. This particular watch is also featured in Patrizzi’s White-Cartier-Bianco, the tome that costs more than your average Cartier baby spoon.
If you look at The Magical Art of Cartier catalog, you’ll see two other Cartier Cloches in platinum with unique dials. One has “Cartier Paris” scattered around the dial instead of numerals, and another has bold Roman numerals, but no minute track, setting it apart from the example for sale in Monaco.
Interestingly, both of these examples sold for about $36k at Antiquorum, and that was back in 1996. Monaco Legends places the estimate for this example at €50k-100k. Over the past couple of years, we’ve thought of The House as this undeniable rocketship, but if this lot lands in the middle of its estimate, that imputes a mere 2x return on these platinum Cloches across 25 years. Not exactly significant (more like results you’d expect from a “world-class” hedge fund). Instead of a rocketship, the Cartier market has been more like a roller coaster over the past generation or two.
One more significant Cloche from 1996. Of course, this one from the wrist of John Goldberger. Again, it’s a platinum Cloche, but this one’s got Arabic numerals. Goldberger explains that it’s one of two examples with this dial:
Through the Wire
Speaking of “old is new” again. Also up at Monaco is a pink gold Breitling Duograph. Of course, Breitling brought back the Duograph last week — which features a split-seconds chronograph — in a hefty 42mm x 15.3mm case. Thanks to the excellent work of Alpha Hands, I was quickly able to identify the example at Monaco as a watch that previously sold at Christie’s back in 2005 for CHF 19,200. this time around, it’s got an estimate of €25-50k.
Somewhere over the rainbow. Much like the Duograph, the Mido Powerwind “Rainbow Diver” got its reissue last year. But for those yelling “I only like their older stuff,” Monaco Legends has a vintage Powerwind on the block.
Davide Parmigiani, who’s now with the auction house, even took to Instagram to brag about this find, saying it’d been locked in a box for 60 years before he unearthed the horological horcrux. Estimate of €8-16k for this one:
Check out the full Monaco Legends Exclusive Timepieces catalog here.
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Spoiler alert, better be ready to drop six figures.
A ‘91 Crash sold for CHF 30k, which is also what they were selling for as recently as 2018.