S otheby’s next Fine Watches auction in Paris will take place from 16–30 September. This sale will include both contemporary and vintage watches from renowned makers, such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Breguet.
The auction will be led by a unique Cartier Cheich. It is the first time this legendary model appears for sale.
The Rolex Datejust
Introduced in 1945 to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary, the Datejust is the Rolex's oldest collection still in production. The Datejust was the world's first self-winding wristwatch to feature a date displayed in a window. Initially introduced in yellow gold under the reference 4467, it was then available in stainless steel and two-tones versions with the arrival of the references 5030 and 5031 in the 1950s.
Its innovative aspect is also included the introduction of a brand-new bracelet: the Jubilee, which specifically designed for the Datejust. The name "Jubilee" was originally intended for the watch itself as it was launched to celebrate Rolex's 40th anniversary. This bracelet is today very famous and used on many other models.
This watch has an instantly recognizable design, made to be both a classic and reliable wristwatch. Its timeless yet versatile aesthetic makes the Datejust perfect for any occasion. A major upgrade to the Datejust took place in the late 1970s, when Rolex introduced its Caliber 3035 movement. The new generation of Datejust watches were then fitted with the "quickset" date function, which allowed users to independently adjust the date without adjusting the hands displaying the time.
Today, the Datejust is available in many different sizes, dial and metals, offering endless combinations to choose from. In this auction, Sotheby’s is presenting a most appealing selection of eight Datejust, all very special and attractive with their own specifications. These include the exceptional Datejust reference 16233 ‘Olympic Games’, the original reference 4467, the iconic 1601 with a Buckley dial, to the 116334, the first Datejust 2, to name but a few.
The Cartier Cheich, From Triumph to Tragedy
This Cartier Cheich watch is an exceptional timepiece which came about through the collaboration between the illustrious Cartier house and one of the world’s most famous transnational races, the Dakar Rally. Behind this unique creation were two great figures: Alain Dominique Perrin, who was President of Cartier at the time, and Thierry Sabine, the founder of the race and a rally racer. The idea came to them in 1983 for the fifth anniversary of the Dakar Rally, when they launched the Cartier challenge, the winner of which would be awarded this prize.
To win the challenge, a contender would have to win the race twice, over two consecutive years, in the same vehicle category (motorcycle, car or truck). This extraordinary achievement, which is almost impossible to accomplish, was considered the ultimate challenge for the world’s very best pilots. The challenge unfortunately ended in 1986 after being held for barely four years, following the tragic helicopter accident in which Thierry Sabine lost his life.
The Belgian racer Gaston Rahier won the challenge with his 1984 and 1985 victories. That made him the one and only winner of the Cartier challenge, and therefore the only one who was awarded this exceptional watch.
The Cartier Cheich is a legendary watch for collectors from all over the world. Its aesthetic, inspired by the Paris-Dakar logo – the famous Tuareg tagelmust or cheich – raises it to the status of a masterpiece in terms of watch design. Not to mention its history, which makes it the most sought-after trophy imaginable.