Cartier: Jewelry or Horology

Cartier is a brand that is often considered more of a jewelry brand than a watch brand. This statement would’ve made sense anytime in the late twentieth century. In the past ten years, this statement has been reversed. Every watch show today has at least one complicated piece from Cartier on exhibition, something that was a rarity up until a few years ago. Some fine, super-complicated examples can be seen in Cartier’s Ballon Bleu line, Tortue line, and their Rotonde line. The complications range from perpetual and annual calendars to tourbillon-minute repeater combinations. I always like watches with complications (this applies to all brands), but if I were in the market to buy a Cartier, I would purchase either the Tank or the Tortue from Cartier’s “Collection Privee.” The “Collection Privee” is Cartier’s batch of numbered, handmade wristwatches that are cased in precious metals and are most like the original 1930’s and 1940’s watches.

It can be said that Cartier’s master watchmakers have only begun to bring out the brand’s true potential.
Luke Rottman (Executive Editor: thewatchadviser.com)