Cartier Movado Super Sub Sea M95
The majority of quotes, particularly on social media, I find meaningless and unapplicable. One which has repeated with me through life, though, comes from Brooker T Washington: ‘The best way to lift one’s self up is to help some one else.’ Evidently, Cartier thought so too. Because despite what this dial may tell you, you’re looking at a Movado. Or at least, a watch design built for Movado then sold under Cartier. This is the kind of collaboration that simply could not happen today, brand-image and IP run far too deeply. But in 1962 it was not so.
In that era, Movado’s HQ was in the US, on 5th Ave in NYC. Just down the road were both Cartier and Tiffany. This is a watch that was imported through Movado, for a client of Cartier who wanted a Super Sub Sea. Cartier probably had a client who wanted a water resistant chronograph, something contemporary. As that’s a bit outside their traditional purview, Cartier went to their neighbor and lent a helping hand for a quick sale. This was relatively common of both Cartier and Tiffany then, and there are many watches from this era featuring double signatures from any combination of these three houses. That hypothesis is doubled by a US import code on its movement.
Whoever was shopping at Cartier in the 60s and eventually landed on Movado, well that person knew what they were doing. The Super Sub Sea is the sports watch take on Movado’s M95, eschewing a Francois Borgel case for serious water resistance in a 40mm compressor. Underneath is the M95, an in-house, three-register evolution on Movado’s M90 which was the world’s first modular chronograph. Interestingly, its pushers are reverse of a normal chronograph, which is to say bottom start and top reset. Cartier didn’t change the applied ‘M’ signature on the dial or the characteristic serpentine subdial hands. This is probably the quirkiest chronograph with Cartier anywhere on the dial, but more importantly comes from a time when watchmaking houses would help each other out. That’s a spirit I can get behind.
It’s not a safe queen either. The case has a few bashes like the lower right lug’s top surface or upper right’s scratch. Yet, the bevels are proud and the case hasn’t been rounded out. The dial is still deep black and even, minimal spotting present in the subdials. Its hands and dial sport matched tritium, a deep yellow tone. For a watch of this vintage, it’s well-preserved overall. It comes as part of Phillip’s upcoming NYC auctions.
Find this Cartier Movado M95 here as part of Phillips 2022 New York Auction VII set to hammer 10-11 December 2022 (estimated 12,000-24,000)