Collecting Cartier with Expert and Connoisseur GEO Cramer

I had the pleasure of meeting with GEO Cramer when he dropped by New York on his round the world gallivanting activities. Fortunately, he made time to meet with me. Though he flies under the radar, I would venture to say GEO is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Cartier. If Cartier makes it, GEO knows it inside and out, especially the watches. He’s been in love with the brand and tracking it for decades. Not only does he understand watches from an academic perspective but also from that of a collector.     Here GEO gives his perspective on Cartier’s position and value as collector’s pieces. Take note.
Tank CintreeLE Limited edition of 6, probably a special order
What is your personal collecting philosophy?

I only collect what I would like to wear. For instance, when I find a very special and hard to find piece, that would not suit my style, I’ll let it go. So in my collection, you will find pieces that you have never seen before, but also very well known and in large numbers produced watches. As soon as I do not want to wear a watch anymore, I’ll auction it.

It seems you have a lot of limited editions in your collection. Oftentimes LE’s don’t make a difference in the secondary market. Is this true for Cartier?

In my opinion this does not count for Cartier. Since quite often a Cartier LE is a unique model too, like for instance the Tank Asymetrique from 2006, or the Santos Dumont 1913 from 2005. These watches not only just have a different dial, the whole watch does not exist in a non limited edition. The size and the shape of the case are completely different.

Tank Asymetrique

Where would you advise a new collector to Cartier to start?
It depends a bit on his/her know how of the brand. A safe way to start is with the Collection Privée watches. All pieces in this series were produced in very small quantities and 80% are the classic watches from the early years, with very good modern movements. The LE’s were all produced in 100 or 150 pieces, while the production numbers of the  non- limited watches often remained below 300 watches.  Starting with real vintage models is a bit tricky, since one has to be sure that all parts and the movement of course, are original and not replaced by local watchmakers.

Santos Dumont

Which pieces do you think have the most potential for future classics?

The Tortue is still an underestimated watch, except for the vintage Mono Poussoir. But the CPCP version of this watch, is still not fetching its original introduction (1997) price at auctions, but is doing better every year.

Tortue Mono Poussoir

Which pieces have the most potential in terms of increasing value?

In terms of increasing value, the vintage Tank Cintrée and early Santos Dumont are unbeatable. And don’t forget the Tank Normale is increasing at every auction. This watch was not made in the numbers the LC Tank was produced, while it was the first Tank ever and will therefore always be more collectable than the LC Tank. Square and rectangle Cartier models in general still do better than the other shapes.

Vintage Tank Cintree

CPCP SantosDumont 1913

CPCP Tank Cintrée

For comprehensive and enlightening information about Cartier, I suggest you visit GEO’s personal site Troisanneaux and also find him on Revolution Online.

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