At a Bonhams London auction in 2021, a sale featuring a George Daniels Millenium, Patek Philippe grand complications and an F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Sport was headlined by a 1975 quartz watch by Cartier.
Such is the hype around watches made by Cartier’s London workshops in the 1960s and 70s, that an ultra-rare Cartier Pebble with turtle lugs eclipsed some of the most desirable watches in the world and sold for £225,250 ($254,846).
Earlier the same year, Philips Geneva Watch Auction XIII set a record for the sale of a Cartier London Pebble with a hammer price of CHF 403,000 ($450,000).
Cartier London was operating independently from the Parisian jeweller in the 1960s, and its designers may have been enjoying the swinging sixties a little too much as they created iconic shapes including the Crash.
Watches from the workshop are rare, and the Pebble may be rarest of all, with only six thought to have been made in a larger size and a handful of slightly smaller pieces.
Those auction prices and rising demand from collectors that is fueling them, may be behind a limited edition reissue of Cartier’s Pebble this week.
Only 150 are being made, and a visit to a Cartier authorised dealer yesterday by WATCHPRO confirmed they could be sold several times over.
“In the week when Patek Philippe announced its white gold successor to the Nautilus 5711, my phone has been pinging all day with requests for the Pebble,” WATCHPRO heard.
The new Pebbles, each individually numbered, is made from 18ct gold and uses the modern Cartier 430 MC ultra slim hand wound movement.
“As well as showcasing a singular design, it also reflects the great creative principles established by Louis Cartier: pure lines, precise shapes, harmonious proportions and an attention to detail,” Cartier says.
Although modernised, the 36mm watch has all the design elements of its vintage forefather including an eggshell-coloured dial, Roman numerals, blued hands, a secret signature and a light brown calf leather strap.
It goes on sale in November for $40,000.