Jacqueline Kennedy held the First Lady title for a very brief period of time – just 1,000 days. But her legacy as a fashion icon outlived her time at White House and her life. Auction house Christie’s has just announced one of Jackie Kennedy’s favorite wrist watches will be part of their June 21 Rare Watches and American Icons auction. The Cartier Tank watch owned and worn by her was a gift from her brother-in-law, Prince Stanislaw Radziwill. It was given to her to commemorate a 50-mile walk embarked on by Radziwill (known to friends as “Stas”) and their family and friends in February 1963 in Palm Beach. Jackie also participated in the walk, in patches as she was pregnant at the time.
She really liked the watch and wore it regularly over the years, and there are plenty of photos to prove it. This particular Cartier is a small yellow Tank powered by a small manual winding movement. To get the power going all Jackie had to do was wind it by turning the sapphire cabochon-set crown. Because of its regular use, the 18 karat gold case has normal wear and tear and a smooth finish. Even so, its engravings and serial number are well preserved. The dial has yellowed a bit and it is to be expected from a well-worn watch.
The dial features large Roman numerals as well as railway track hours and minutes indicators, blued steel hands and “Cartier France” signature. The case back is engraved with the words “Stas to Jackie/23 Feb 63/2:05 AM to 9:35 PM.” – this little bit celebrates the date and time two of them spend hiking together – about 20 hours in total. There is also “Made In France” and what seems like a serial number stamped on the back.
The winning bid in addition to Jackie’s iconic Tank also gets a painting made by her to celebrate the hike in 1963. It shows Stas and his friend Chuck Spalding during the hike. The painting features a hand-written message similar to the one on the watch – this time from Jackie “February 23, 1963, 2:05 am to 9:35 pm/Jackie to Stas with love and admiration.”
Christie’s has estimated the watch to fetch between $60,000 and $120,000 – but expect it to bring in more than that given the names associated with it. A portion of sale proceeds of the watch and painting combo will go to the National Endowment for the Arts. The Rare Watches and American Icons sale will take place at Christie’s New York City saleroom on June 21, with sessions at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.