There's drama and intrigue to a live auction, but sometimes tapping your keyboard is easier than raising a paddle. Christie's is hosting more online-only auctions these days and over the next few weeks has a collection of vintage women's Cartier wristwatches up for grabs that you don't want to miss.
Cartier is often credited with creating the first men's wristwatch in 1904 with the Santos. Later in the 20th century the Parisian design house would cement its place in the horological pantheon with watches like the rectangular Tank and the wonky Crash. This auction contains some of the less well-known Cartier watches from the 1930s through the '60s, most with estimates well under $5,000. A lot of them are in less-than-ideal condition, so they're not going to be investment pieces. But, if you're looking for beautiful watches that you can wear and beat up a bit, there are a ton of good options.
Cartier's best known for the rectangular Tank watch, but there are plenty of other rectangular Cartiers here, too. Lot 19 is a strange Tank variant that has a similar shape and Roman-numeral dial, but with the case hanging out over the side of the band instead of sitting in the middle of it. There's also a more minimalist art deco driver's watch that sits sideways on the wrist (Lot 16) and one with blue lacquer rings around the edge of the otherwise traditional case (Lot 3).
My favorite of the typical rectangular Tanks is one with an extremely simple stick-marker dial (Lot 18) from the 1940s that you very rarely see. The dial is so clean and the sword-shaped blued steel hands really stand out against the brushed silver. It's a totally different look for the Tank.
The auction is focused on women's watches, but this round stepped-bezel watch (Lot 2) from the 1950s would be a great dress watch for a man with small wrists. It's 32mm across, and the double-bezel will make it wear even larger. The 18k yellow gold case has a warm hue, and the lighter brushed gold dial keeps it very subtle.
For something a little smaller and more stylized, there's Lot 13, which dates to the 1930s. It's only 27mm across and has large curved lugs and a stark silvery white dial with fewer numerals. I wish the dial were in better condition, but the $2,500-$3,500 estimate reflects the slightly beat-up condition.
There are a few non-Cartier watches in the sale, including a nice 34mm yellow gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual from 1958 (Lot 24) and a really weird 1970s Audemars Piguet (Lot 32) with a woven gold bracelet.
The auction, aptly titled "Women's Watches Featuring Vintage Cartier," is online only and runs through Nov. 12. Lots begin closing at noon EST that day, with a different watch hammering every few minutes for the next hour and a half.
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