The Best Vintage Cartier Watches From The Upcoming Monaco Mega Sale
It’s hard not to be a fan of Cartier if you’re into watches. From the fascinating, multi-generational history of the original Cartier family, to the project of relentless creativity that Cartier has embarked upon since its earliest days, there’s just so much to love about the best vintage Cartier watches.
The reason why Cartier is such an important watchmaking brand can be summed up by Louis Cartier’s favourite saying: “Never copy, only create.” Cartier was just 23 years old when he joined the family business in 1898, the eldest of three brothers who would turn the small jewellery business into a household name, competing with the likes of Fabergé and Tiffany & Co.
It was that motto which Louis Cartier drilled into his designers, not only looking to offer his clients the most exciting new designs they could imagine, but to never, ever imitate the designs of others. This produced some of the most exquisite jewellery, worn by royal families across Europe, as well as some of the most creative watch designs in the history of the craft. From the iconic Cartier Tank and its endless variations to the Pasha, the Cloche, and beyond, Cartier watches are the undisputed pinnacle of avantgarde design.
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But what are the pieces you need to know about? Of course, Cartier watches arrive in endless expressions, but there are a few pieces you have to know about, especially if you’re looking to get one on your wrist.
As it so happens, the Monaco Legend Group auction house is about to host one of the best all-Cartier watches auctions to take place in recent memory. As you’d expect, the catalogue is packed with some of the most iconic and rare watches that Cartier ever made, essentially offering a who’s who of the most important Cartier watches ever produced. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the very finest Cartier watches offered in the sale.
Like all good stories, we have to start at the beginning. The first wristwatch ever made, not just by Cartier, but by any watch manufacturer, was the Cartier Santos watch. Remember, before the 20th century, wristwatches were thought of as feminine, with the gentlemen of the day choosing to wear pocket watches. But when, in 1904, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont asked his friend Louis Cartier to make him a watch. Specifically, a watch he could read without taking his hands off the controls of his prototype aircraft, and the Cartier Santos was born.
The Cartier Santos watch can be recognised by the polished bezel that stands out against the brushed case, complete with eight screws or pins that attaches the bezel to the case. The Santos watch also features the iconic square dial, made famous by the black Roman numerals that align with the heat-blued sword hands. This example is the reference 1575 and was made during the 1990s, inspired by the original design that was first drawn nearly a century earlier. The case is platinum, with dimensions of 27mm by 36mm, making it a modestly sized watch by modern standards.