Cartier ‘Knife’ Pocket Watch

While mainly known for their watches and jewellery, Cartier started out producing pocket watches. They launched their first in 1866, and two things stand out. First, they never made their pocket watches in large volumes but kept them exclusive and exquisite, focusing only on the top of the market. Secondly, they continued to make them (often on special request) long after this type of watch got out of fashion.

The Cartier pocket watch shown here is from the 1990s and is a so-called knife pocket watch. This means that it is so thin that the sides of the case are almost sharp, very much like the edge of a knife’s blade. Creating such pocket watches requires exceptional skill, starting with a very thin manual wound movement. There is very limited space, making the tolerances that the watchmakers have to work with utterly challenging, to the extent that it is hard to see how it is possible in the first place. For this particular knife pocket watch, Cartier utilized all the elements that the brand is so famous for. The dial has a very fine guilloche, the typical railroad track, as well as the Roman numerals. The two blued Breguet hands add a dash of color. Cartier pad printed its brand name in a modest font at the twelve o’clock position, while ‘Paris’ is shown just above the six o’clock position, something Cartier only did to indicate its most special pieces. Of course is the crown fitted with the typical blue sapphire cabochon, making this knife pocket watch a true Cartier in every way.

This 18k yellow gold knife pocket watch also comes with a full-length, 18k yellow-gold Cartier chain with an intricate design. Here is where Cartier shows its legacy as a jeweler. To properly store this rare and precious Cartier, the previous owner spared no expense and got a custom-made case made from genuine green alligator leather and lined with very soft goat suede in the same hue. This case comes with two compartments so that the chain doesn’t rest against the knife pocket watch. It is securely closed by a genuine Cartier buckle, making this the ultimate full package for any collector of Cartier’s rarest pieces.

case number: XXXX
year of production: circa late 1990’s
precious metal: 18k yellow gold
case diameter: 49mm
movement: manual wind
box and papers: accompanied by custom made, crocodile leather pouch