A Cartier Tank wristwatch that once belonged to former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was sold at the Christie’s ‘Rare Watches and American Icons Sale’ for $379,500 to any anonymous bidder who has now been identified as American reality show star Kim Kardashian. This is the most expensive Cartier wristwatch ever sold at an auction.
Celebrity news website TMZ reported that Kim Kardashian was the person behind the anonymous bid. The website reported that, “this purchase is a bit surprising considering that the styles of Kennedy Onassis and Kardashian are quite different.”
This historically important watch which was sold with an accompanying painting by the former first lady herself, was previously unknown to the public and offered two of the most important artifacts to surface in recent years from the golden era of the Kennedy Administration. This Cartier Tank was an iconic model favored by celebrities like Andy Warhol and Clark Gable.
“One has to remember that in the early 20th Century when the initial Tank was produced, manufacturers were still designing their first wristwatches, following the pocket watch which was favored up until this era,” said Rebecca Roos, associate specialist at Christie’s Watches New York.
The 18-carat yellow gold model was produced in 1962, a year after Kennedy became the First Lady, and has reportedly remained in remarkable condition, despite being worn by her as a statement piece every day.
The watch was a gift from her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw ‘Stas’ Radziwill in 1963. The caseback is engraved with: “Stas to Jackie 23 Feb. 63 2:05 AM to 9:35 PM,” a reference to the start and stop times of the 50-Mile Hike in Palm Beach in 1963. Radziwill reportedly completed this hike alongside his friend Chuck Spalding and secret service agent Clint Hill. The hike was part of a nationwide public health initiative spearheaded by President Kennedy.
The watch is accompanied by an original painting of Radziwill and Spalding walking. Painted by Kennedy herself, it bears the matching dedication “February 23, 1963 2:05 am to 9:35 pm / Jackie to Stas with love and admiration”. This is the first time this painting has been seen in public.
The watch was the sold by a private seller but a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Cartier were donated to the National Endowment for the Arts.