Few watches are as famous and recognized throughout the world as a Cartier Tank. Its rectangular shape made for a timeless watch, and it is no wonder that it also graced the wrists of elegant and sophisticated ladies around the world. Among them, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and her Cartier Tank Normale is coming up for auction at Christie’s June action.
When it comes to celebrity worn wristwatches, this Cartier Tank Normale ticks all the boxes, and then some more. The majority of the time these watches are a gift to the famous person, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessary also be worn. Jackie however, was frequently seen with the Cartier Tank Normale around her wrist, confirming the timeless elegance of both lady and watch.
Jackie was gifted the watch in 1963 by her brother-in-law, Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill. In those days the Cartier empire, still a family firm, consisted out of three boutique’s, New York, London, and the Paris boutique located at 13 Rue de la Paix. It was there that Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill bought the watch, given the signature of “France” on the dial. The Tank Normale was the very first Tank model to be introduced by Cartier, but always stood in the shadow of the later, and more popular, Louis Cartier Tank.
One of Cartier’s expertise was that they were able to engrave a watch in the actual handwriting of an owner or the person who gifted the watch. In this case, it is to be believed that it is the handwriting of Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill in which it is engraved with: “Stas to Jackie 23 Feb. 63 2:05 am to 9:35 pm.” This refers to the start and finish times of the famous 50-Mile Hike in Palm Beach in 1963. Jackie walked this distance with Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill, as part of an initiative by her husband, President Kennedy. In return, Jackie made a painting for Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill, as a way to say thank you. This painting is also included with the sale of the watch.
Given its unique heritage and the fact that the watch was the property of not only a First Lady but also a style icon, the estimate between $60.000,- and $120.000,- feel a bit on the low side. She wore it frequently and is also featured in various photographs with it around her wrist. Combined with the painting, it has become quite a unique lot, combining watchmaking excellence with American heritage.
The watch is part of Christie‘s Rare Watches and American Icons auction to be held on June 21st, 2017 in New York’s Rockefeller Center at 10 am & 2 pm, with viewing options at 16 Jun, 10am – 6pm – June 20, 10am – 3PM