WWI hero’s 107-year-old Cartier watch could fetch £10,000 at auction

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One of Cartier’s oldest ever wristwatches which belonged to a WWI hero is set to fetch £10,000.

Cartier’s design, named Tonneau due to its barrel shape, was the  second ever wristwatch model created by Louis Cartier.

The Tonneau launched in 1906, and this  particular watch was originally sold by the French company’s London store in October 1914.

The timepiece features a back engraving to a decorated British soldier who fought in the First World  War.

Provided by Fellows Auctioneers

With an estimate of £6,000 – £8,000, it is  likely to fetch in excess of £10,000 including fees. 

The Tonneau’s engraving reads “A.D. Thomson, 152 Inf Bde., 51st High  Div., 1/5/15”. The 51st Highland Division fought on the Western Front  in France from 1915 – 1918.

The Division was rushed to the Western  Front in May 1915, the same month that A.D. Thomson received the  watch.

Thomson served as captain in the Argyll and Sutherland  Highlanders during the war. He was gifted the Cartier watch from the  military. It is likely that it was gifted to him before he was sent out to  fight on the Western Front.

An authentication document from Cartier clarifies that the watch was sold by Cartier, London, in October 1914.  

Many years later in 1994, the Cartier watch was purchased for £1,000 by its current owner from the  Thomson family. In the 27 years since, the Cartier has been worn only twice, at two weddings.

Provided by Fellows Auctioneers

Michael Jagiela, Senior Specialist from the Watch Department at Fellows Auctioneers, said: “Our first  Luxury Watch Sale of 2021 is our biggest ever in terms of value. This Cartier is a standout item with a  phenomenal back story which should entice watch collectors and history enthusiasts alike.

The Cartier Tonneau is one of the earliest wristwatches that Cartier ever produced and it’s incredibly rare  to see one so old and in such good condition. The story of the watch being sold in 1914 and belonging  to such a decorated war hero such as Thomson only adds to the value of the item.

“I imagine this watch will not be short of bids, and the item can be viewed via our website now ahead of the auction  on 15th February.”