Cartier Crash white gold NSO White Opaline



While Cartier is eternally Parisian at heart, international business was fundamental to their worldwide expansion during the 20th century. London was the second location Cartier expanded to outside of France, and the first showroom opened in 1902 to coincide with King Edward VII's coronation. In 1906, one of Louis-François Cartier's grandsons, Jacques Cartier, took over the London showroom from his brother Pierre before moving to 175-176 New Bond Street, where they remains today. It's here where Cartier London produced some of the most recognisably creative creations, many being bespoke one-off designs and pieces that have become cult classics such as the Pebble and the Crash.

As a decade defined by the unorthodox and creative freedom, it won't be surprising to learn that these watches were born in the 1960s, with the Crash becoming arguably Cartier London's most celebrated design. Despite its eventual popularity, the truth behind its origin story has long been mistold. It all started with a request. British actor Stewart Granger approached Cartier London asking for a watch "unlike any other." This open-ended brief was taken to designer Rupert Emmerson, who discussed using the Maxi Oval as a foundation before making it look like it had been in a crash. It's believed only a dozen examples of the London Crash were produced at the time until the model was later revived in the 80s and 90s with smaller proportions as a limited run of 400 pieces under Cartier Paris.

In 2019, the Crash returned home to London in its traditional form; today, it's believed that approximately one Crash is made a month.

Around this time, pop culture flung the model into the limelight, with auction results following suit. 1960s and 70s Crash auction results periodically have achieved new records due to their scarcity, rising from $16,000 - $40,000 over a 20 year period (1991 - 2012) before breaking records at Sotherby's in 2021 hammering for CHF 806,500. Just one year later in 2022, a 1967 Crash achieved a new $1.5 million USD record via LoupeThis.

1990s Cartier Paris examples have also experienced a similar increase, with examples in all metals sitting around $50,000 USD in 2010 ahead of a spike in 2020 to at least $200,000 USD. The Crash has always remained a favourite of VIP Cartier clients, with images of special orders (NSO) regularly shared online by clients

The Watch

Emblematic. If there could only be one watch to reflect La Maison's alluring flair merged with its mastery of sophistication, it would be the Crash. This phenomenon of a Cartier has enjoyed a recent moment in the limelight, catalysing many current trends and market shifts, not least becoming the darling piece for those fortunate enough to craft semi-customised pieces within Cartier's NSO (New Special Order) program. Take this piece, a special order realised between the original owner and Cartier in 2021. Based on other NSOs we've seen, it's evident that La Maison is open to striking and very creative ideas, but for this example, the brief was kept elegantly restrained: a white gold case, white opaline dial, blued hands.


It's easy to get lost in waxing lyrical about the magic of a Crash, especially thanks to its asymmetrical case. Believed to have been initially based on a Maxi Oval before the idea came to pinch the ends and add a kink, the case is curvaceous, sculptural, and individual. This execution is realised in 18k white gold, a metal historically reserved exclusively for special pieces such as the modern skeleton and gem set references of the 21st century. As with much of Cartier's watchmaking, classically executed Crash examples are typically rendered in yellow or rose gold, with some in platinum, making this original inspired piece in white gold a seldom-seen beauty.

Harmony is Cartier's unwavering, omnipresent trait, and its existence lives in all facets of their icons. Still, the relationship between the case and dial of a Crash is unlike any other. Presented in white opaline, the dial covers the great expanse forged by the case, filling each interior angle and flowing curve. Every Roman numeral is modified in proportion and appearance to reflect and conform with the undulating case form. Of particular note is the exploded 'V' and 'XII' at opposite ends of the dial. A classic set of blued sword hands complete this quintessential Cartier. 

The Movement

The mechanical calibre 1917 MC by Cartier powers this NSO Crash. Named after the year the Tank was first introduced, this slim tonneau-shaped calibre carries a Côtes de Genève striping, 19 jewels, a power reserve of 38 hours and a height of just 2.9mm.

How It Wears

To say a watch wears 'like nothing else' is nearly as overused as calling a watch iconic, but in the case of the Crash, it may be true. Looking down at it on the wrist, it emulates a piece of sculpture art more than a conventional timepiece. It's a watch whose reputation proceeds itself, throwing one of the strongest punches despite its 24mm by 42mm proportions. Few watches spark conversations with admirers quite like a Crash does, and in this white gold rendering with equally stark and monochromatic dial execution, the striking nature of its footprint is even more special. Unisex in wrist presence, significant in white gold, and truly timeless in execution.


Dating from 2021, this NSO Cartier Crash in white gold is presented today in mint condition. It is offered as a full set, including its original Cartier blue alligator leather strap and matching white gold deployant clasp.


If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium

No stock kept on site

Reference 4131
Movement Manual Wound
Calibre 1917 MC
Dial White Opaline
Size (Case) 24 mm x 42 mm 
Material (Case) White gold
Bracelet Cartier blue alligator
Buckle Cartier white gold folding buckle
Condition Very good
Year 2021
Papers Yes
Box Yes
Warranty 2 years

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