Following the article published recently by fratellowatches.com about the relevance of fountain pens for watch aficionados, today we will talk about the ultimate combination of writing instruments and watches: The Cartier pens with watch.
Cartier is definitely one of the very few brands that is capable to excel in everything they do. Let me explain better. Founded by Louis-François Cartier in Paris in 1847, the company remained under family control until 1964. The company maintains its headquarters in Paris, although it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss Richemont Group. And the were born as jewelers. That means, that they are specialized in rings, bracelets, necklaces and, of course, for their watches. In 1911 they launched the Santos Wristwatch. Called Santos because it was firstly made for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont. In 1919 another legend have been launched: The Tank. From then, Cartier has reached the olymp of the watch manufacturer.
One item that is less notorious but not less interesting are a very particular category of products made by Cartier. Writing instruments with watches made by Cartier are incredibly desirable items. A few of them have even a calendar on them and are limited editions like the Cartier Limited Edition Gilt Calendar Pen Watch. Limited to 2000 pieces, the nr. 1859 has been sold by Bonhams Auctions for HK$ 15’300.00 in 2019. A Ball Point Pen with a watch on the top of the pen and a calendar on the barrel.
Another incredible piece is a Limited Edition Platinum-plated and Lacquer Fountain Pen Watch from 2001. Also limited to 2000 pieces, this fountain pen with a 18ct solid gold nib features also a watch on the top of the cap and is a real joy to look at and to collect. One of those has been sold by Christie’s in 2021, the number 1434 for USD 3’500.00.
One of the less elegant creations, even though this is only my very personal opinion, is the more recent stainless steel and enamel limited edition ball point pen watch with mother-of-pearl dial, from 2010. There were different colors available but they were also limited to 2000 pieces. Inspired by the shape of the Cartier Roadster watch, it’s really a special item, no doubt.
My favorite one, however, is the Cartier Black Lacquer and Coral Pen-Watch. A more recent piece that features a watch with classic white dial and blue hands and a wonderful coral color crown on the side of the pen. Finished with black lacquer, this “penwatch” is, guess what, limited to 2000 pieces and a beautiful example has been sold by Doyle in 2018 for USD 2’600.00.
Cartier is still producing some incredible writing instruments inspired by their jewel collections but if you really want something that none other brand is producing, look for a so called “Cartier penwatch”. They are beautiful from an aesthetic point of view but also very nice to use and collect as you would collect a nice Santos or Tank wristwatch.
Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, Cartier, Italianwatchspotter