The Artisan Watchmaker

The digital watch captured the Art Deco spirit more than any other watch. It’s elegantly pure means of displaying time reflected a new freedom of thinking that was also evident in the art and architecture of the period. Le Locle watchmaker Robert Cart specialized in the highest quality of Heures Sautantes, or Jump Hour, watches for Swiss manufactures and private jewellers alike.  For an earlier discussion of a Gustave Sandoz Heures Sautantes by Cart, please see this thread: The Watchmaker's Watchmaker.

The Artisan Watchmaker

Case: 18K three-piece Empire style with polished white gold reeded bezels, inset textured yellow gold case back, recessed yellow gold band with Clous de Paris guillochage. Diameter 43 mm.

Movement: 17’’’, rhodium plated, fausses cotes decoration, 18 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, cut bimetallic balance, Breguet balance spring, unsigned. Circa 1930.

Dial: Satine silver with apertures for jump hours and continuous minutes. Signed “F.Luthi Paris”.

The Artisan Watchmaker

This example is a true digital watch, with hours and minutes displayed by rotating numerical disks visible through apertures in an otherwise solid dial. The style featured here was used by Vacheron & Constantin and Breguet, as well as haute joaillerie retailers and under Cart's own name.

The Artisan WatchmakerThe Artisan Watchmaker

The Artisan WatchmakerThe Artisan Watchmaker

What I find most interesting is a comparison of the Sandoz and Luthi watches. Although different in style and construction, they have sequential case numbers! The explanation is to understand the essence of Robert Cart as an artisan watchmaker.

More than a cabinotier, who specialized in production of components, or an établisseur, who assembled those components into a finished piece; Cart was a hybrid of manufacture d'horlogerie and atelier de terminage. With his fashionable heures sautantes mechanisms protected by patents, he engaged in manufacturing the jump hour comoponents while also finishing the base ébauche and assembling sourced cases and ancillary components. Reassuringly, each timepiece received the master's full attention as it was transformed at his bench into a finished watch.

 The Artisan Watchmaker

The Artisan Watchmaker

The Artisan Watchmaker

This watch reflects the tastes of French connoisseurs particularly well, with its slim bicolor case and variety of finishes including satine dial, guilloche center band, stepped bezels, and vertically textured back.

 The Artisan Watchmaker

The Artisan Watchmaker

F. Luthi, Horloger à Paris, were known for manufacturing spectacular precision mantle clocks during the 1920s, while Antiquorum has record of highly complicated minute-repeating chronograph foudroyante with independent seconds circa 1900. The Luthi Joaillerie still resides on the place Vendôme.

Tick Talk ©2012

Beautiful watch and captivating story as usual :)
02/11/2012 - 19:48
:)
You're out of this world.....
02/12/2012 - 16:22
Do you have any more info on the watch in pictures 3 and 4? The coat of arms is unusual, the combination of yellow and white gold is fascinating. If there is a link to find any other information would be great. You always surprise with your finds. Looking forward to what comes next. best.
King Alexandre I of Yugoslavia
02/12/2012 - 18:03
Hi Marko!  That watch appeared in both the 1994 and 2005 Vacheron-theme Antiquorum auctions.  Alex once posted a photo as well... King Alexandre was a great patron of V&C and aside from this watch is known for having ordered an early monopusher chronograph that in 1928 was the thinnest available...Antiquorum photo His full title was Alexandre I Karagjordgevic, King of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.  He was assasinated in 1934 at the age of 48 by Macedonian seperatists, some say with the support of Mussolini.  Alexandre's son Peter II succeeded until 1941 when the monarchy fled the Nazis and never returned.  The region remained embroiled in conflict, however, until modern times.King Alexandre I of Yugoslavia
Great addition to your collection!
02/13/2012 - 08:59
Art Deco is written all over this digital display watch, congratulations!!! These Cart masterpieces are quite special.  From a personal aesthetics point of view, my favorite is still the Heures Sautantes, and is on my wish list. heart BR, Dan
Movement finish
02/13/2012 - 17:35

Further to our earlier discussions of Victorin Piguet and the contribution of outside ebauche suppliers, I cannot help but admire these pictures of dial side on the Cart movement, which was as highly finished as the visible side.  I think collectors can be assured that the standards of V&C were always maintained regardless of who provided the calibre.  

great picture of the perlage on the dial side!
02/14/2012 - 07:22
I like seeing how that star wheel is controlled and moves for the hour indicator, thanks pal!!!yes
Re: The Artisan Watchmaker
02/13/2012 - 21:06
The sunburst design gives some of these the true character, they're all beautiful. I always loved the Saltarello, a watch to die for, especially with a dark beige(light brown) dial it was presented with in some examples. Let's wish for more sunburst dials for their eternal aesthetic impact!
a real treasure, great find Dean ;-)
02/20/2012 - 10:51
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