In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a die-hard minimalist. With the notable exception of a moon phase display, the only complications I love are on the menu of my local greasy spoon. That’s because I value legibility. Saying that, I also value humor. And there’s nothing funnier in the horological sphere than watches that make me feel like I’ve dropped acid. Like the Cartier Crash watch, and the timepiece above . . .
That would be Breguet’s Reine de Naples 8918, another mondo bizarre time-telling bauble. k.asiatatler.com tells the tale . . .
In 1810 Breguet produced the first wristwatch ever, a commission from Caroline Murat, the Queen of Naples and sister of Napoleon.
This year, a new version of this timepiece, the Reine de Naples, was released, featuring the same Arabic numerals designed by Abraham-Louis in 1783. Each piece even comes with Abraham-Louis’s hand-engraved signature, which was first etched into dials in 1795.
There are some truly bizarre, horrifically expensive variants in the Breguet Reine de Naples line ($123,900 as above). None matches the sheer mind-bending awesomeness of the 8918. But there is a better timepiece for the job of reality distortion.
You may think that the Cartier Crash Watch was the result of a watch designer doing ‘shrooms. And you may be right. Cartier ain’t sayin’ nothin’. blog.watchdoctor.biz offers this explanation:
The story goes that in the 1960s, a Cartier executive died in a London automobile accident. The watch he was wearing, the Bagnoire Alongee, which is thin and oblong to being with. The watch, under pressure and heat from the burning car, melted into a new shape unlike any watch ever looked. The Cartier Crash watch was then supposedly released as a memorial to the crash victim.
Yeah right. More likely . . .
The watch’s design looks strikingly similar to Salvador Dali’s iconic “melting clocks” painting, as depicted in the world-renowned “The Persistence of Memory” painting. The 1931 painting by the mustachioed artist represents Dali’s theory of softness and hardness, owned and displayed in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.
My mother owned a Cartier Crash watch. She wore it in a hot tub and really melted it. True story.