When examining the Cartier Crash, one may be inclined to think that it is a Salvador Dali-inspired piece, the design being inspired by arguably his most recognizable painting, The Persistence of Memory. The unconventional shape of the Cartier Crash, as well as its name, served as tribute to a important Cartier official back in the 1960s who died because of a car accident, or crash. As legend has it, the car lit up in fire and badly burned everything inside the automobile, including the driver’s Cartier Baignoire Allongé watch. The deformed appearance inspired then-head of Cartier London, Jean-Jacques Cartier, into creating the now iconic Cartier Crash.
Release Date & Price
Release date: 1967
Price: starting at US$74,000
The Cartier Crash, first launched in the 1967, became among the most memorable watches of the decade, even forming part of the popular culture back then. Originally, it was sold in a gold case and a dial bearing psychedelic markers that seemed apt for the time. The originals, now sought after collectibles, have been refreshed in later decades, particularly in the 1990s and the 2010s. Unusual even for Cartier, the watch still had some of its most recognizable traits in the form of the classy design and wearability despite its unconventional form.
- Movement: Manual
- Caliber: Cartier Calibre 8970 MC
- Jewels: 18
- Frequency: 21,600vph
- Power reserve: 48 hours
- Functions: Hours, minutes
- Water resistance: 30 meters
The Cartier Crash may employ a bizarre shape, but it is a classy piece that has only become more refined in the years since the original was released. It is now offered in more options than one, which include rose gold, white gold and diamond, all dazzling in their own way. It can be said to be very artsy, particularly because of its inevitable association with surrealism and Salvador Dali, although the dial itself can justify that even in the absence of the mentioned references. The way the classic Roman numerals were designed as if they were melting and molding into the case is intriguing. Asymmetric and unconventional as the case may be, it is still in its every inch a Cartier piece, especially when noting the sapphire crown and the blue hands.
This classic from Cartier does not come cheap; options start at a whooping $74,000. It may be justifiable for its collection-worthy reputation, but not for its modest movement.
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Image credits: Phillips (featured image), Matthew Bain Inc, Loupiosity, Watchonista, The Classy Choice (article images)