Cartier Libre Collection Crash Radieuse
Let us begin with obvious: the story surround the Crash name is almost certainly invented marketing. For the unaware, there is legend that a client of Jean-Jacques Cartier brought in a Baignoire that had been damaged in an automobile accident. The oddly damaged and burned watch sparked inspiration for this first-ever asymmetric watch case design. There are experts better informed than I who I have heard argue for the merit and absurdity of this story. Whatever the case, the Crash is probably the absolute height for Cartier collectors (including CPCP with the possible exception of Jacqueline’s Tank) and one just surfaced.
Vintage, period 1960s Crashes are in the ultra-rare category. It is said that no original crash is like another, given the single contract production style Cartier retailers operated on then. Each case has minute differences. Modern crashes are little more precise.
In 2017, a very limited series of reworked Crashes were released by Cartier under the Libre Collection. The collection was a standout at SIHH, sold out immediately, and has been sought after by collectors since. This 18K YG case houses a manually-wound 8970MC with a 48 hour reserve. But this watch is not about mechanical innovation. This is something more akin to fine art. Its dial is an arrangement of rippled circles warped to mirror the case deformation. Small Roman numerals and petite hands bolster that effect for a classic Crash appearance. This WGCH0007 Radieuse was limited to just 50 pieces.
The example offered today is very lightly worn with only small surface wear on its relatively soft 18K YG case. The dial is perfect as one might expect. It comes with a full set from a very well-trusted retailer.
Find this Crash here from K2 Luxury listed as POA.