2515 Cartier Baignoire Allongée in Pink Gold
Baignoire Allongée sounds incredibly sexy in French, but translates literally as long bathtub. The naming conventions at Cartier have always proven quite literal, but not all are equal. The first Baignoire-like case was created in 1912, a unique gift from Louis Cartier to Russian Grand Duchess Pavlovna. Note 1912 is well before the Tank. The nickname Baignoire then became attached to the design officially in 1957 when New York and London reintroduced the case. But the ‘final form’ came in the early swinging ’60s, when the more experimental Cartier London referenced that watch and stretched the design, creating the arguably more elegant, unarguably more dramatically curved Allongée case.
In the famous and possibly apocryphal story surrounding the creation of the first Crash at Cartier London, it was said to be a Baignoire Allongée that was in the 1967 car wreck and burned to the Crash shape. Similar to the Crash, the Allongée has always been produced in very limited runs since inception, never a mainstay of any collection. As a design, the bathtub only really became popular after Jane Birkin (yes, that Birkin) gifted one to her daughter Lou Doillon and there began some marketing. That blip in attention saw a few collections created since the 1980s, but the peak for collectors is generally regarded as the this 90s (ref. 2515) or early 00s, where the model received a mechanical calibre (FP 610) and guilloché dial. This pink gold is considerably rare than yellow, second only to white gold.
Cartier are a design-led watchmaker. I would suggest that no other model save perhaps the Crash is as design-led as the Allongée. It’s an oversized 47x21mm with curves in every dimension, including a ‘wrap’ to your wrist like the Cintrée. The opposite of a tool watch, the Allongée is much closer to art. That’s probably why its proven so popular with sophisticated French actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Romy Schneider and Jeanne Moreau. Very little is as chic, sensual, or pairs with chain smoking and a glass of Burgundy quite so well. Like the Crash, small production and massive interest in Cartier means these aren’t so easy to come by these days, a handful of auction results in the last decade. It’s also probably quite likely there’s a Privé Allongée at some point in our near future, which will only make things more difficult. Until, to quote a very different organization, who dares wins.
This example is in excellent overall condition. The case sports light hairlines, no serious bashes as far as I can see. The dial is undamaged and it comes with its original rose buckle. It comes from a well-regarded, relatively new, retailer in the US on the pictured leather strap.