Cartier Art Deco Wristwatch, ca. 1920

Value (2012) | $40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
What I brought in today is a Cartier lady's dress watch with seeded pearls and diamonds. I think the circa is 1920s, but I'm not sure. This watch was inherited by my mother. And my grandmother purchased it in Baltimore between 1950 and 1960 from a friend of hers. My grandmother was a great horse lover and went to the racetrack a lot. And I think her friend actually might have placed a bet that didn't go so well, and he was looking to sell the watch. He needed the cash.

APPRAISER:
Do you know what she paid for it back then?

GUEST:
I think she might have paid somewhere between, I think, $1,500 and $2,500.

APPRAISER:
Have you ever had an appraisal on it?

GUEST:
In early 2000, I took it to a Cartier store close to Washington, D.C. And they sent it to New York, it came back and they said that, you know, they were 99% sure that it was a Cartier watch. But in order to have it completely authenticated, it would have cost me a great deal more of money. So we did not go through with the authentication at that time.

APPRAISER:
All right, we're going to talk first about the case, and specifically the back of the case.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
This is what you see inside when you have the movement out. It is signed "Cartier, Paris." Okay. Inside, that's very important. Okay. Now, when we come over here next to it, we see a dial with the crown and hands, and it's clearly signed "Cartier." Yes. It has a round movement. Now, you can see in the case that we just looked at that somebody has milled the bottom of the case round to fit this movement.

GUEST:
I see.

APPRAISER:
This is the wrong movement.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
It doesn't belong in this watch. Another thing wrong about this is that this dial here, although it says Cartier, was most likely refinished.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So for anybody that collects these kinds of things, it's not original.

GUEST:
Aw, that's too bad. But tell me more.

APPRAISER:
Well, you come in and you open up a little pouch, and then inside of it, to my surprise, is the original dial.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And even more fantastic is the original movement signed "Cartier." So somewhere along the line, somebody took out the original movement, put in the other movement so she could wear it. Now, if we come over here and we look at the watch, we clearly see a beautiful platinum frame. We have old mine diamonds. The seed pearls you're talking about, I really don't call these seed pearls. What these are, though, are natural pearls.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
These pearls used to come from the Persian Gulf, and they're wired together with platinum wire.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And on top of that, you also have a rose gold deployant buckle. Everything on the bracelet is numbered. Everything on the deployant buckle is numbered. And a hallmark, French hallmarks. So here's what has to happen. You're going to have to go back to Cartier.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And you're going to have to spend that enormous sum of money.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Because we're going to hope and pray that it's going to come back right as rain.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
I'm just going to take the dial. And what I want to do is lay it in here.

GUEST:
It's a beautiful watch. You know.

APPRAISER:
It's... It's a fabulous watch.

GUEST:
And it is from the '20s, you think, or...?

APPRAISER:
Oh, you hit it spot on. Right. 1920s, yeah. Well, everything that's wrong with this watch can be repaired.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And I shouldn't even say repaired, restored back to original condition. That's the beauty, that they just... they didn't destroy it.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Because sometimes that happens. If it does come back, and everything's correct about it, what are your feelings about how much it may be worth?

GUEST:
You know, I really have no idea.

APPRAISER:
Today, if this came up to auction, it would be $50,000 to $70,000.

GUEST:
Would it really?

APPRAISER:
It really would.

GUEST:
I can't believe it. My mom's going to be thrilled. That's unbelievable.

APPRAISER:
I suppose if you were going to sell it at auction as it sits right now, with all the parts, I would say $40,000 to $60,000.

GUEST:
Right. Wow. That's incredible.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Doyle New York
New York, New York
Appraised value (2012)
$40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
Event
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 23, 2012)
Period
20th Century
Material
Diamonds, Glass, Metal, Pearl

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