Cartier Gouvernail

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Known by many names but rarely ever seen. This esoteric masterpiece from the 50’s captivates design enthusiast across the board.

This “Helm” model is also known by its nickname: “Gouvernail”, which refers to the design of the case; reminiscent of a ship-wheel. Even though very few have ever surfaced, there are quite some varieties, yet all with the common denominator of “T-bar lugs” and a round case with a halo and the central dial being connected by pillars. Either having rounds or bars; 12 -each for every hour- or merely 4, at the quarters. This execution has four connecting balls, but additionally displays engraved hourmarkers with black enamel on the bezel of the central dial.

The dials tend to be quite simple and straightforward. We can find the brand name at the 12 o’clock, in a rather chubby font, and at the 6 o’clock it proudly displays its nationality. The closed minutetrack, is besides very decorative, also an anomaly. The original, slightly convex, mineral glass enhances the ivory white surface; that is close to perfect. Last but not least Cartier opted for blued-steel Breguet hands, arguably more elegant than the Sword hands one can also encounter on this model.

Smaller examples feature a Duoplan movement and have the crown on the backside, but this large 35mm execution has a manual winding EWC movement, where the stem of the crown runs through the ball. The octagonal crown is exquisitely integrated into the stepped case made out of 18K yellow gold. This exemplary Cartier comes on an iconic Brick-style bracelet, with fold-over clasp, resulting in an even more appeling and strong look on the wrist.

This model, also referred to as “Ronde Squelette”, was introduced just after WWI and 31 out of the 34 known specimens were produced before the 1970’s; the lions share of which in smaller sizes. The historic retail price upon introduction was rather exorbitant as it was easily triple of most other precious metal Cartiers.

This work of art shows why Cartier deserves the moniker: the masters of shapes. Even the most seasoned collectors will admire this rare gem.


Packages are generally dispatched within 2 days after receipt of payment and are shipped within the Netherlands by Registered Mail through the Dutch carrier PostNL and for other countries by Fedex. Consult us if you prefer another method of shipping. For most destinations tracking is available.