One of the things with vintage watches is that there is always that mystery of what kind of life they have had before you see them or added them to your collection. In most cases, this remains a mystery, but in some cases, this life is rather well documented. A watch that falls in the latter is the Cartier Tanks Normale that used to belong to Jackie Kennedy.
While many vintage Cartier Tank’s have that feeling of understated luxury to them, this one is different. The moment you see the watch in real life you realize that this watch was worn by a strong and elegant woman, a mother, a wife, a First Lady, a style icon. The watch was on Jackie Kennedy’s wrist often when she was photographed, and it became part of her, part of her style, part of what she stood for.
In most cases, vintage watch collectors go for a watch that is in almost pristine condition. Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier Tank is not such a watch. It clearly bears the signs of having being worn, actually having been on her wrist. The case shows some scratches, the sapphire cabochon seemed to have grazed a rough surface at some point in its life, and the dial shows minor discoloration on the edges and the Roman numerals.
For any vintage watch, this would have devalued it, for this Tank, it only enhances the experience. It somehow brings you closer to all the amazing places this watch must have been to the White House, Martha’s Vineyard, Onassis yacht, and in a way, it brings you closer to the extraordinary life that Jackie Onassis lived.
More information on the Jackie Kennedy Cartier Tank Normale as well as the auction at Christie’s in which the watch will be sold can be found in our previous article.