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Top 7 Cartier Watch Collections We Absolutely Love
The Cartier Tank watch was launched in 1917, and is one of the jeweller’s most iconic wristwatch designs. The Tank design was inspired by the Western Front’s Renault tanks, and the very first watch was given to the US General Persching in that year.
What makes the Tank stand out is its square fascia set into the rectangular case, the sword-like, narrow hands – which have become such a feature of Cartier watches through the ages -, and the sapphire cabuchon set into the crown. T
he early watches featured leather straps which seemed to mesh seamlessly into the sidebars on the watch case. The watch went into production in 1918, when just six were fabricated. Some of the standout variations in the line were the Tank Louis of 1922, the Tank Francaise of 1996, and the Tank Americaine which was launched in 1989.
The name Cartier is synonymous with luxury jewellery, and this exclusive French brand was launched by Louis-François Cartier in the year 1847. Known as the “King of Jewellers, and Jeweller of Kings”, Cartier’s three sons took over the business in 1899, and Louis Carter designed the first-ever man’s wristwatch in the year 1904. Cartier senior had already created several, unique and ornate wristwatches for women, however, men of this time tended to rely on pocket watches.
This first wristwatch for men was created for his Louis Cartier’s friend and client, Alberto Santos-Dumont who was one of the pioneer pilots of that time. A reliable, durable wristwatch would enable Santos-Dumont to shave flight times to the minimum, as he no longer needed to waste time taking out his pocket watch during daredevil test flights.
By the year 1905 Santos-Dumas had designed his first aircraft as well as a helicopter, and on 23 October 1906, he piloted his plane at a height of five metres, for a distance of 60 metres. This was the first certified and witnessed flight by what was termed a heavier-than-air machine. Santos-Dumont is one of Brazil’s most renowned nationals. Although the Wright brothers claimed they’d made a 30-mile flight, there was no verification of this statement. This Santos watch design went into workshop production and on general sale from the year 1911.
Just in case, you’re wondering about potential valuations for your Cartier Santos watch, a few auctions prices are listed below for information:
- Cartier Santos Mysterieuse 100, palladium and set with diamonds (6.8cts total)from around 2010 sold at Sotheby’s in December 2019 for $40,000.
- Santos de Cartier Skeleton retail prices start at more than $25,000 (£19,225), depending on metals used for fabrication. The gold Skeleton watch presently retails for the highest prices, starting around $55,000 (approx £42,000). This unique watch may measure less than 40mm in size but have a hefty value new and for resale.
Ballon Bleu Cartier
Ballon Bleu watches may be a recent introduction to the Cartier line up, but their rounded look and sexy curves ensure timeless appeal. The Ballon Bleu de Cartier was launched back in 2006, and Cartier is proud to say this design “floats through the world of Cartier watchmaking”.
Each watch features a suspended sapphire cabochon (ball) which is mounted in the case, although not all of these are genuine sapphires. The watch cases are also spherical or balloon-like in shape. If you’re fortunate enough to own a precious white gold and diamond-set Ballon Bleu with genuine sapphire cabochon, it probably set you back a cool sum?
Current new values for these rare watches are around £180,000. The strap and case are set with 1,640 diamond brilliants (12.64 cts), while the case, bracelet, and dial are fabricated from rhodium-finish, 18k white gold.
Clé de Cartier
These unique watches for men and women were launched in 2015, and build on the success of the more rounded design of the Cartier Ballon Bleu design. There are lots of design factors making Cartier’s Clé such a popular watch. These include: – Unique key (clef) design for the winder crown, also featuring the trademark Cartier sapphire cabuchon. This key winder has a square, ingot shape, complementing the rounded design of the watch face. The clé automatically aligns to your vertical or horizontal axis and can be wound manually.
Alternatively, this unique winding Clé can be operated in a manner similar to antique clocks and pocket watches and rotates freely. Some interesting things to note:
- Originally launched in precious metals alone, the Clé de Cartier watch is now available in stainless steel.
- All watches are marked with the Cartier logo, but you’ll also find one of their “secret” trademarks within the Roman numerals of any watch. This is one of the ways we can always tell whether we’re dealing with genuine Cartier watches. The numerals on the Clé are typically quite chunky, and blue in colour to match the sapphire in the watch crown. One additional design tweak is integrating the day’s date into the fascia of the dial’s numeral display.
- The Clé de Cartier also features the jeweller’s new movement 1847 MC. There are so many different varieties of Clé in the Cartier line up now. This means it’s vital to source the most knowledgeable Clé de Cartier pawn shop if you need to realise funds on your precious watch.
With prices for the stainless steel Clé starting around £4,000, rose gold and diamond Clé watches with leather straps costing from £15,500, and prices up to £140,000 for top of the range 18K rose/white gold, diamond-encrusted watch faces and bracelets.
Rotonde de Cartier
There are so many different styles of Rotonde de Cartier. For example, the Flying Tourbillon, the premium watch in the Collection retails at more than £1.3mn. Just some of the standout features of all Rotonde de Cartier watches include their trademark cabochon and unique chronograph displays.
Retail prices for watches range from about £7k up to more than £1m (Jan. 2020), making it important for you to appreciate the cost and value of your watch. Examples of popular Ronde de Cartier watches include:
- Mysterious Double Movement and Ronde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon
- Flying Tourbillon and Astro Tourbillon
- Earth and Moon
The Cartier Tortue watch history stretches back almost to the date Cartier invented wristwatches for men. The first Tortue was created in 1912, and this stylish watch has only ever been fabricated from the most precious metals. The Tortue XL dating back to 2006 is one of the rarest models in the marketplace, despite the fact it’s not such a vintage collectible. That’s due to the fact that only 100 watches were made.
This model is fabricated from pink gold and platinum and has 9601MC calibre mechanics, which were made by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Discover more about the 2006 Tortue XL in the online House magazine and more recent Tortue XL designs direct on the Cartier website.
Some Tortue XL watches have leather wrist straps, while others feature bracelets encrusted with fine diamonds. You can, therefore, imagine prices for the Cartier Tortue watch can vary dramatically.
Cartier Tonneau is one of this luxury jeweller’s most iconic watches, with a history that goes back more than 100 years. The first Tonneau watch was made in 1906; the same year that Cartier invented the wristwatch for men. This has always been one of the brand’s most prestigious watches; as it was only ever fabricated in precious metals.
One principal reason the Tonneau didn’t garner as much attention as many of the brand’s other designs was down to its thinner watch strap which added an element of elegance often scorned by the most masculine! What it meant though was that the Tonneau tended to be most prized by connoisseurs and collectors, and the watch design could always be ordered.
Although it never truly entered the mainstream until recently. In 2019 Cartier revived and upgraded the barrel-like Tonneau and introduced it in the Privé Collection line up. The modern Skeleton dial features heavily in the 2019 Tonneau collection, alongside models featuring larger than normal Cartier watch cases. Recent European auction sales of Cartier Tonneau watches dating back to the 70s range from around £5,000 upwards, making them extremely collectible.
Of course, if you are in the possession of a luxury Cartier watch and considering to pawn it, do get in touch with New Bond Street Pawnbrokers. For more information on our lending on luxury watches you can also visit our dedicated webpage.
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