Reviewing The Elegant Cartier Crash Skeleton Replica Watch

The story in a second:

The sculptural new Cartier Crash Skeleton replica is a watch with a backstory that sounds like it’s straight from J G Ballard, but don’t let that put you off.The Crash requires a conscious decision and effort on the part of the wearer, an engagement that serves as a fitting tribute to the original watch and the events that inspired it.

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The house of Cartier is blessed with more iconic watch designs than the rest of the big names put together. Designs such as the Santos, the Tank and the Tortue have important places in the brand’s history. They are boldly shaped timepieces with great stories behind them.

The Swiss Fake Cartier Crash, originally conceived in 1967, is the boldest shape of all. And it comes with a grim origin story. At first glance you might think that Salvador Dali’s surreal, melting clocks inspire the Crash. Or perhaps Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. But you’d be wrong. Cartier is being much more literal.

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The Crash is named after a fatal car accident that killed a vice-president of Cartier’s London office. The watch he was wearing (a Cartier Baignoire Allongée) melted in the heat of the fire. As a memorial to their colleague Cartier released the Crash, a design that resembled the twisted watch recovered from the wreck.

We can’t think of a more unusual (or bleak) story behind a watch, so it’s hardly surprising that the watch itself has a distinctive design, one that Cartier revisited at this year’s SIHH.

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The impressive replica Cartier Crash Skeleton  The fluid curves and lines of the watch are accentuated by mirror-like polish of the 28mm by 54mm platinum case. But the real action is what’s going on inside the watch. The dial is skeletonized, which is no surprise given Cartier’s recent trends. But unlike their other skeletonized pieces the roman numerals on this watch are not rigid, rather they melt away into the case. It’s an impressive display of craftsmanship and very much in keeping with the fluid spirit of the watch.

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The 9618 MC movement that peeks out from behind the numerals is exceptional. It is crafted specifically for the case, rather than trying to fit a square (or round) movement into a Crash-shaped hole. To develop an entirely new calibre for one very specific model is a serious investment and is something very few watchmakers, even those at the top end of the playing field, would bother doing. And it serves as testament to just how serious Cartier is about its watches.

As you can imagine the Crash is an interesting watch to wear on the wrist. Its unconventional shape means that it’s a hard watch to integrate into daily wear, especially for men. In this regard it’s best suited to special occasions.

The Crash is just as difficult to place into the broader Cartier canon too – it’s their most unusual and niche shape. It’s a special watch with a sad story behind it. So it’s fitting that this isn’t the sort of watch you mindlessly strap on each morning.

Cartier Crash Skeleton Australian pricing.

The Crash Skeleton is limited to 67 pieces and has an Australian RRP of $96,500 AUD.

Specifications
Brand: Cartier
Model: Crash Skeleton
Case Size: 28.15mm X 45.32mm
Case Height: 9.62mm
Case Material: Platinum
Dial: Roman numeral dial formed from the bridges of the movement.
Strap: Grey alligator skin strap, double adjustable folding 18K white gold buckle.
Movement: 9618 MC
Hand: Blued-steel sword-shaped hands.