Originally given to Kennedy by her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw ‘Stas’ Radziwill in 1963, the Cartier Tank watch features the engraving ‘Stas to Jackie 23 Feb. 63 2:05 am to 9:35 pm.’ The times refer to the start and stop times of a 50-mile hike in Palm Beach in 1963.
Following her husband John F Kennedy’s (JFK) announcement of the challenge for US servicemen of an endurance test of walking 50 miles to prove they were in military condition, there was a craze for the general public to complete 50 mile hikes. The activity is now known as the Kennedy March.
Kennedy’s inner circle of family and friends were some of the first to attempt the hike, including his friends Radziwill and Chuck Spalding.
At Christie’s Rockefeller Center auction on June 21 the Kennedy watch will be offered with an original painting by Jackie that she gave as a gift to Radziwill to celebrate the hike. The painting of Radziwill and Spalding includes the dedication ‘February 23, 1963 2:05 am to 9:35 pm / Jackie to Stas with love and admiration’.
Christie’s said the painting was previously unknown to the public.
“The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Cartier Tank is a watch full of emotion, love and history”, said John Reardon, international head of Christie’s Watches.
Together with Jackie’s painting, these two objects capture the spirit of another era, a time where friendship and the ‘can-do’ optimism of the generation seemed to make anything possible.”
Reardon said the consignor has offered to donate a portion of the proceeds to the US National Endowment for the Arts.