Cartier Crash 1967 London

Credit: Cartier

The Cartier Crash was designed at Cartier’s London location and first introduced in 1967. This watch face is from an image of the quite rare 1967 London version, which sold at auction in 2022 for US$1.5 million.

Clockskin Download Zip File: Cartier Crash 1967 London (WFD enhanced clockskin format)

"One of the reasons the Crash is so steeped in mythology is that its origin is unknown. There are three theories related to its birth. The first is that it was inspired by a Cartier Baignoire Allongée “Maxi Oval” that was returned by a customer after he suffered a terrible car crash, where the watch was smashed, deformed and melted. So beautiful was the resulting deformed shape that Jean-Jacques Cartier was inspired to design a watch based on it. While this is certainly the most entertainingly evocative of the stories, it is also the least likely.

The second theory is that the Crash was inspired by the Salvador Dali surrealist masterpiece from 1931, The Persistence of Memory. In this tableau, we see a Freudian dreamscape with clocks seeming to melt and drape over themselves into contorted shapes. Looking at the clock that appears on the far left, one cannot help but appreciate how closely it resembles the shape of the Crash watch. Indeed, if you were simply to flip the clock 180 degrees from left to right, it would be almost identical in shape to the Crash.

The third theory is put forward by Jean-Jacque’s granddaughter Francesca Cartier Brickell in her tome, The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire. In this book, she recalls a conversation with her grandfather, who explained that he wanted to create a watch that would become an emblem of the swinging ’60s in London, an era of unprecedented social change. He wanted a watch that symbolized rebellion. He started with a maxi oval Baignoire and then pinched each end and put a kink in the center, resulting in the shape of the Crash. This is probably the most likely of the three theories. However, even while this is totally accurate, it still allows for Jean-Jacques and Rupert Emmerson, the designer he worked with on the watch, to be fully aware of the Salvador Dali painting. Considering how close the shape of the clock in The Persistence of Memory is, it is plausible they were directly inspired by it."
Reference: " Cartier Crash ‘First Light’ "


A great watch, an exciting story and an excellent watch face. Thank you for sharing! :handshake:


Thank you @G1NT0N1C.

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Reminds me of the old days doing acid :slight_smile: LOL

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@Warlock_Weary, that’s now the fourth theory on the origins of the Cartier Crash design. And perhaps the most likely one! :rofl:

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