One of the most iconic designs in the French maison's legendary collection of timepieces, the story behind the creation of the Cartier Crash is almost as fantastical as the watch itself. In hip Mary Quant-era London, a client, fresh from a car crash, brought his mangled Cartier Tank in to Jean-Jacques Cartier, then head of Cartier London, for repair. What must have looked catastrophic to the unlucky owner triggered something in Jean-Jacques, compelling him to design a watch that flouted convention then and continues to do so now.
Launched in 1967 in "Swinging London", the surrealist, non-conformist design encapsulated the spirit of the time and it became an instant underground success. Over the years, it became a hit with collectors, too. Produced in a very limited series, its skewed elegance - the asymmetric dial and contorted Roman numerals - proved that it was quite possible to combine humour, creativity and watchmaking precision in a serious timepiece.
For 2013, Cartier has launched four new limited-edition Crash watches, presented for the first time with a fluid bracelet composed of tiny droplets of 18ct white or pink gold. On the most precious models, available in white or pink gold, 417 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 4.27ct cover every inch of the bracelet and bezel. In homage to the year of its creation, only 267 Cartier Crash models have been produced with white or pink gold bracelets and 67 numbered white and pink gold models with gem-set bracelets, available exclusively at select Cartier boutiques.