A watch steeped in history meant for the modern collector. Limited to only 50 numbered pieces, this creation is definitely gonna be auctioned years later.
by Nirja Dutt

Is there really a way to know when you are making history? It’s debatable. Some breakthroughs are undeniable, like Abraham-Louis Bregeut and the tourbillon movement, Gerald Genta and sporty chic watches, Patek Philippe and well, everything, I’m kidding. But you get the drift, and then there’s Cartier. The house has been synonymous with so many icons that it’s hard to choose one that truly made them stand apart. But amidst the many, the Cartier Crash is perhaps their most unique contribution to the world of horology.

Mechanical Legends Crash Skeleton
Mechanical Legends Crash Skeleton

It all began in the 1960s at the Cartier boutique on New Bond Street in London, according to Francesca Cartier Brickell (a direct descendent of the Cartier family and the author of the popular book The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire) her grandfather Jean-Jacques Cartier wanted to find a way to adapt the classic Cartier oval watch into something that would appeal to the rebellious attitude of the swinging sixties. After numerous tries and versions the Cartier Crash was finally born in 1967.

Cartier Crash (London Edition)
Cartier Crash (London Edition)

Ever since, the house has produced them in limited numbers and various renditions. However till this day the first series also known as ‘London editions’ are considered most precious and only three of which have been sold on auction in the past 25 years. The third one was up for grabs in late 2021 where Sotheby’s sold it for a whopping CHF 806,500 (approximately 6,25,89,540 INR) which was broken by the sale made only weeks ago in an online auction held on Loupe This. The 1967 London Cartier Crash sold for $1,503,888 (minus buyer’s premium) which outlandishly surpasses the previous record.

Cartier Lond Crash 1967 auctioned for for $1,503,888 at an auction held on Loupe This
Cartier Lond Crash 1967 auctioned for for $1,503,888 at an auction held on Loupe This

Over the years, plenty of adaptations have appeared, the 1980-90s editions saw sharper edges and forms but even then, the house maintained limited numbers for each version. “I understand the rationale of evolutionary change when it comes to watch design although my preference as a collector is always for the first born. I believe with Crash the subsequent changes have certainly been true to the original design from its birth in 1967 to the individual pieces and smaller runs in the 1970s, 1980s,1990s and as late as the 2000’s (yes there were some produced as special orders and I know the collectors for whom they were made) to the run of 150 pieces for the 150th Anniversary to the London edition of 67 pieces in 2019” explains collector extraordinaire Roni Madhvani who has been collecting asymmetrical watches from the mid 20th century for over 30 years.

Roni Madhvani’s Crash Watches
Roni Madhvani’s Crash Watches

The Salvador Dali-esq design has also been spotted on Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Tyler the Creator, Jay-Z, Dan Levy and numerous other personalities who have definitely bumped up the watch’s value in the market and made it a compelling contender for any collector’s repertoire. Today, the watch sees a completely new life, bejewelled, skeletonised, with a bracelet and even in platinum, Cartier has truly taken a creative arc with the iconic design.

(Left) Kanye West wearing the Cartier Crash London & (Right) Kim Kardashian wearing the Cartier Crash Paris
(Left) Kanye West wearing the Cartier Crash London & (Right) Kim Kardashian wearing the Cartier Crash Paris

This year, the Crash comes back once again with an artistic twist, say hello to the latest Crash on the block: Cartier Metiers D’Art Crash Tigrée Metamorphoses. Seeking inspiration from the wildlife of Africa hued in the painterly hues of turquoise, green and midnight blue, the new Crash Tigrée is truly a piece of art. Dubbed very quickly as ‘the most striking timepiece at Watches & Wonders 2022’ the creation features a cocktail of diamonds, 18k gold and stripes of champlevé enamelling. Reminiscent of a tiger, crocodile, or mussel, depending on how the wearer wishes to see it, the Metiers D’Art Crash Tigrée Metamorphoses is the first ever crash to be enamelled.

Cartier Métiers d_Art Crash Tigrée Métamorphoses
Cartier Métiers d_Art Crash Tigrée Métamorphoses

“As a collector my original thoughts were that any design extensions were bastardisations of something that should be sacrosanct; the preservation of the original with perhaps some evolutionary changes like the case size. This was my view of the Skeleton Crash and the Crash Tigrée. However, following my visit to the recent Watches & Wonders Geneva as an invitee of Cartier where I got to see the Tigree first hand and subsequently visiting the Metiers D’ Art at the Cartier manufacture and getting to feel and experience the Tigrée and see and understand how it was created and to meet the person that made each of the pieces my opinion changed and I fell in love!” relinquishes Madhvani when asked about his thoughts on the latest edition.

Limited to only 50 numbered pieces, the Crash Tigrée is equipped with the manufactured mechanical movement 1917 MC and has a 38 hour power reserve. The crown is set with a pyramid-cut diamond and the strap is crafted in iridescent calf leather, acting as the perfect canvas for the exquisite watch.

Comments (4)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *