Look how Cartier became everyone’s new old favorite watch brand. Cartier, always a collector's favorite, has nailed the recipe for updating its classics while injecting them with just enough edge to keep them relevant in the vide du jour—but that doesn't explain the tremendous spike in demand for its timepieces.
The house has proven in recent years that it is contending for wrist real estate with industry heavyweights such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex.
According to Morgan Stanley's annual watch report from last year, Cartier is now the world's second-largest watch brandin terms of revenue, trailing only Rolex.
Meanwhile, prices for the Crash and the Cheich (the Tank in a Touareg headscarf) have skyrocketed into the seven figures at auction, and celebrities ranging from Tyler, the Creator to Henry Golding to Jeff Goldblum are frequently pictured wearing unique models.
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These kinds of headlines certainly add to the enthusiasm and reflect the excitement surrounding fresh releases that are, in fact, rereleases. Harry Fane, a London-based vintageCartier dealer said:
The ‘resurgence’ has definitely been led by the spotlight which has recently been shining on the 1960s London watch production, especially the Crash—surely one of the 20th century’s most iconic watches. This spotlight has illuminated just how innovative Cartier always has been as a watchmaker, and this coupled with Cartier reissuing its classic models, has led to renewed interest in the historic watches.- Harry Fane
For example, the new Tank Normale, which was unveiled earlier this year, appears to be a reasonably faithful tribute to the 1917 original—except for the platinum(shown) and 18-karat yellow goldvariants, which come on matching braceletsfor the first time in the Cartier Prive collection.
There are also three skeletonized variants in platinum, 18-karat yellow gold, and platinum with diamonds, each with a 24-hour complication. All are limited editions of 100, 50, or 20 depending on the style, with prices ranging from $30,150 to $107,000.
Needless to say, if you are not already on Cartier's extra-VIP list, you will not be able to obtain one.
Even non-limited-edition items, such as the Cartier Baignoire bracelets (an update to the classic bathtub-shaped models that now come on a bangle rather than a strap), were rumored to have waiting lists before their official release in June.
Looking for a low-cost, bargain-priced Normale on the secondary market? You've most likely also missed the boat. Cameron Barr, owner of Craft & Tailoredin Los Angeles said:
Normales out of the 1970s and in good condition are trading anywhere between $18,000 to $20,000. Three or four years ago they were probably $3,000 to $4,000.- Cameron Barr