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1 of 5?! Art Deco Cartier queen of hearts domino gambling 18k lapel watch NEED HELP

Logan2468

Registered User
Jul 10, 2013
90
1
0
Hello all!
Before you comment with "it's not marked" please read my description here. It's quite the story and worth the read.

According to a Cartier book written by Hans Nadelhoffer, jewelry appraiser for Christies in the 80's, I have found out some very interesting information. Just one paragraph has opened up a whole slew of information regarding the history of Cartier and it's excellency. He was actually given exclusive access to Cartier archives to help in his writing of the books. Here's what I have found out.


In the 1933 Jeanne Toussaint was made head of Cartier Fine jewelry. Her designs were phenomenal. She was a woman of fine taste and was in a direct buying public who, under the Front populaire, economic crises, devaluation and unemployment, were less interested in huge commissions than in objects made of gold and imaginative gifts. Convinced of this she took over the playful ivory and black enamel domino watch from the London factory and promoted it as the gift idea of 1939. "Mine is ivory and black enamel". In 1939 Cartier had an exhibition in Deauville where the newest pieces could be viewed and enjoyed. Basically a huge fashion show. A playground for the rich. Many rich and famous celebrities attended the shows. Millionaires. When you think of a Cartier exhibition what would you go to see, being a millionaire in the Art Deco period? Diamonds, platinum, gold and tutti frutti gems. "This is my analysis" they were not there to see dominos. Minimal gold, small and just not all that fashionable. They wanted the big ticket items to put them above the average individual. "So back to the story"
Jeanne showed her "idea" of the domino watch. Likely a sample model was presented and not to be sold. I would guess it is still in the Cartier collection.
Anyway the book states an elegant lady by the name of Madame Martinez De Hoz ordered 4 of the domino watches straightaway. Not purchased on the spot. Ordered. So it makes it pretty clear that these were not in production if it was an "idea" and she "ordered" them. Not being rolled out of the factory by the hundreds. After that there is no other history about them that I can find. I honestly believe that no more were manufactured due to lack of interest.


So usually when you think of a super rare watch you would find some info about them somewhere? Right? Christies, Antiquorum, Sotheby's and jones and Horan auction houses sell some of the rarest watches on the planet. And lots of them. There is an antiquorum auction record in 1988 of a playful king of hearts Cartier domino watch that was unsold. No pictures because it was an old listing. Then in 1996 Christies actually sold the domino watch. King of hearts for $X,XXX and again in 2004 for $X,XXX. The same watch has been floating the auction houses for 27 years!
I have searched the NAWCC museum, Denver art museum and other museum and they do not have one. The Denver Art museum even had a Cartier exhibit with 250 pieces on display with no domino watches in sight.
There are no domino watches even by other makers that I can find anywhere. Nothing even remotely similar. The one on Christies is identical except that it is a different suit. No dial picture though and they said that it has black baton markers. This one is typical Roman numeral style. I was worried that it wasn't marked "Cartier" and SWITZERLAND on the bottom. but I did some more reading and it said that most of Cartiers movements were being made by EWC "European watch company" and Blancpain. I did some further research to see if there were any Cartier watches from the Art Deco period with unsigned dials and there are plenty. I believe the Art Deco period is one of the only times they could get away with not signing their dials occasionally.


If you remember correctly, the lecoultre deep sea alarm was bought by a man for a considerable amount. He messaged me and I showed him the watch. He couldn't remember any details but he said that he had seen "a couple" of them at watch shows. A couple means two. My guess since the one on Christies was a king of hearts, mine is a queen of hearts, This man probably saw the other two suits. Jack and Ace. I am strongly thinking that my watch is maybe a watch from the original order of 4 by Madame Martinez De Hoz. The only way that I would be able to know exactly how many were made would be to get access to the Cartier archives and find record of my watch. The archives have clay molds, glass photographs preserved with potato starch, hundreds of books, letters and papers revealing every single piece ever sold by Cartier. Every necklace, watch and clock ever made. Who bought them. The date and where it was sold. So I need someone or myself to get access to the archives to look up the details of the gift "idea" of the domino watch and find out how many were made and especially the exhibition of 1939 to see if anyone else ordered any.
I know its a lot to read but I have done TONS of research to make sure there were no flaws to my research and I strongly believe mine is the watch to original order of 4.
Look at American watch companies that only made 100 or so watches. You will find sale records of 10-15-20 or more of them. You'll find boatloads of information on them. For there to be no info on something as unusual as this leads me to believe that no more were even manufactured. There would be more of them out there. More sale records.

I am am hoping someone here might have seen one through the years of their collecting. Does anyone have any information about this? It has me stumped. I have showed the watch to renowned watch collectors. Known around the world. Multi millionaire watch collectors auction houses. Museums and not a single one of them have ever seen one ever. I had 3 auction houses tell me that with my information and research that they Believe it is indeed what I say it is. They all wanted me to overnight it to them to be sold in an upcoming auction but I declined.
I know sales aren't meant to be discussed but it is crucial that it is added to my description here. I have kept this watch quiet and have only showed it to a very select few people and decided to finally post it.
I have attached photos of my watch and hope someone can help me out.
Best regards,
Logan

- - - Updated - - -

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Logan2468

Registered User
Jul 10, 2013
90
1
0
Re: 1 of 5?! Art Deco Cartier queen of hearts domino gambling 18k lapel watch NEED HE

It truly is fascinating. And despite its condition problems it runs beautifully.
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
14,363
80
48
Calgary, Alberta
Country
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Re: 1 of 5?! Art Deco Cartier queen of hearts domino gambling 18k lapel watch NEED HE

Looks like an orchard run FHF 59 N movement in the watch. Certainly nothing exotic about that component!
 

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,665
745
113
65
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
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Re: 1 of 5?! Art Deco Cartier queen of hearts domino gambling 18k lapel watch NEED HE

Thanks for sharing this Logan. cool watch for sure.
 

Logan2468

Registered User
Jul 10, 2013
90
1
0
Re: 1 of 5?! Art Deco Cartier queen of hearts domino gambling 18k lapel watch NEED HE

Arnold how in the world did you find that!? I have searched absolutely everywhere to no avail. Someone must have recently posted that on Pinterest.
 

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