luxury

The super-rare Cartier ‘Cheich’ watch just sold for $1.1 million at Sotheby’s



Cartier watch with red strap

Vintage Cartier watches seem to have a magic aura unmatched by other watch brands. Why? Because they push the envelope of outer design and are popular with watch nerds, design nerds and pop culture fiends alike. (Example: Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier Tank was bought by Kim Kardashian in 2017.)

The unique Cartier ‘Cheich’ watch was originally created as a prize for the person who won two consecutive Paris-Dakar races (aka The Dakar Rally, a gruelling bike race through France and into the African desert), in what was known as the Cartier Challenge. The races and watch were won by Belgian motocross racer, Gaston Rahier. There were only four of the watches ever made; one is now considered lost and the other two are in the Cartier collection. Rahier’s Cartier Cheich was not seen in public for 40 years until the recent Sotheby’s exhibition and online auction.

The Cartier Cheich was designed by Jacques Diltoer, former creative director of Cartier and Alain-Dominique Perrin, Cartier’s then president. The undulating gold ‘folds’ of the case were inspired by the Dakar Rally’s logo which featured the face of a Tuareg (a native of the Sahara Desert) wearing a “cheich,” a traditional piece of cloth worn around the head as protection against the sun. The case is made from white, yellow, and rose golds woven together.

At the moment, we don’t know who bought this Cartier Cheich, but high profile Cartier collectors include the likes of Kanye West and Tyler the Creator. Watch this space for updates…

Cartier Cheich watch auction

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Cartier Cheich / Sotheby’s
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