Cartier is glad to introduce you a new series of articles aiming at improving your understanding and knowledge of the watch industry. Each week, we will have the pleasure to present in detail a brand and its collections, and in order for you to pick the watch of your dream, we will also provide a selection of our 10 favorite watches. This week, we cover the brand representing the French elegance – Cartier!

Cartier in a Nutshell

Founding: 1847 – in Paris, by Louis-François Cartier

Corporate: Member of the Richemont Group

CEO: Cyrille Vigneron (Since 2016)

Revenue: CHF 1`600`000`000

Price Range: CHF 4`700 – 1`000`000

Units: 450`000 per year

Employees: > 2000

Presence: Worldwide

Collection: Men’s and ladies’

What does the Brand stand for?

Many people do not know that Cartier actually started its incredible journey in the jewelry industry. But how did they integrate watchmaking into their business? Everything started thanks to the founder’s nephew who was passionate about pocket watches. The first watch ever created by the brand was a ladies’ wristwatch, in 1888. Later on, in 1904, Cartier presented its first men`s watch, the Santos, a model which is still part of today’s collection.

Cartier transposed its incredible knowledge in creating unique jewelry pieces into watchmaking, creating iconic designs, understanding style and establishing trendsetters. Additionally, the brand also got involved quite early in the watchmaking industry and contributed to a significant part of its history. Having mastered exceptional manufacturing skills, Cartier found a way to combine style and watchmaking.

About the Models


The story of this collection started in 1904, when Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aviation legend understood that pocket watches were unreliable and dangerous to use while flying. His friend, Louis-Francois Cartier, took this opportunity to create the iconic Santos model, a flat watch that does not lose its DNA and recognition factor. What is really interesting with this collection is that changing the strap of the watch can completely modify its style; the Santos becomes a sporty watch with a metal bracelet and adopts a more classic look with a leather strap.

Ballon Bleu

In 2007, Cartier launched its Ballon bleu collection which quickly became an iconic watch for the brand. The unique rounded case design of the watch looks somehow feminine but becomes more masculine in the bigger versions of the collection. The Ballon Bleu is a timeless piece which adapts itself to the wearer’s style – sporty or elegant.


The Tank is the combination of a timeless design, beautiful details, and high-end watchmaking. Created in 1917, the Tank is inspired by the Renault tanks used during WWI and is a model admired by influential people.


Cartier is not famous for continuously introducing new watch design, and people were quite surprised when in 2016, the brand launched the Drive collection. It is a timepiece that does not need to scream for attention and  that still represents the brand’s values such as high-end watchmaking, tradition, and the love for design. The Drive is a superb daily companion, a robust, elegant and reliable timepiece.


Cartier is best known for its square and rectangle watches. Like the Santos, the Ronde collection was launched in the early history of the brand, in 1937, by its founder Louis-Francois Cartier. It was not a popular model back then because, for most people, it looked too modern. Even today, you could easily think that the model was introduced at the beginning of the 2000s. The Ronde collection speaks for the power of Cartier, for the brand’s visionary mindset. Its round case is elegant and classic, simple and still majestic.


The Rotonde represents all the watchmaking skills that Cartier mastered over the years. Through the whole collection, you can find fine watchmaking and complications such as the astrorégulateur, the minute repeater, the astrotourbillon, and the skeleton grande complication. Even if the case of these models is often considered as a secondary element, Cartier did not trade-off style at all and designed a beautiful and elegant case for the Rotonde collection as well.


The Tortue, the French word for turtle, is inspired by the shell of a tortoise. Created in 1912, Cartier revolutionized an industry that was used to only design round watch cases. In 1928, the brand equipped the watches with complications such as a minute repeater and a mono poussoir chronograph. Today, the Tortue is a highly respected model in the watch industry and is available in various variations.


Jeanne Toussaint, the legendary creative director of Cartier was a Parisian style icon nicknamed “La Panthère” and it is this successful collaboration with Louis-Francois Cartier that led to the creation of this iconic collection. The Panthère is a timepiece with a strong character, restless and elegant. It’s a wild piece that can therefore only be tamed by brave and powerful women.


The Calibre is a special collection for the manufacture as it was launched in 2010 as the first Cartier watch equipped with an in-house movement. Worn by celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck or Ashton Kutcher, this collection proved to have significant importance for the brand. The case of the Calibre has a bold and manly design, which is quite unusual for Cartier. However, the watch does not lose the brand’s DNA thanks to small details such as the indicators, which still are easily recognizable.


The idea behind the Clé collection is simple: vintage. The shape of the case reminds us of watches designed in the 60s, a time where suddenly all the cases were “tonneau” shaped. Cartier mastered this task and combined its philosophy with the iconic shape, creating a unique design. Equipped with an in-house movement, the Clé is a flawless timepiece, simple, and elegant.


Designed in 1912, the Baignoire collection has been developed to perfection and Cartier demonstrated one more time its ability to create unique timepieces. The ellipse shape of the case distinguishes the watch from common models and gives the wearer a little extra. It is a watch that represents emotions that words cannot describe, a symphony of beauty and love.


As usual, Cartier proved their skills in creating unique case designs. The Hypnose was launched for the first time in 2016 and represents the brand’s knowledge of jewelry. The different models are equipped with quartz movements and set with diamonds. The Hypnose is a very thin and delicate model, for women who like to shine.

WatchAdvisor’s 10 Favorites

CHF 6`650 (recommended retail price)

Ronde Solo 42mm (Ref. WSRN0022)

CHF 3’450 (recommended retail price)

Clé 40mm (Ref. WSCL0007)

CHF 5’450 (recommended retail price)

Santos 35.1mm (Ref. WSSA0010)

CHF 6’200 (recommended retail price)

Drive 40mm (Ref. WSNM0009)

CHF 6’200 (recommended retail price)

Calibre 38mm (Ref. WSCA0003)

CHF 6’350 (recommended retail price)

Ballon Bleu 42mm (Ref. WSBB0025)

CHF 6’200 (recommended retail price)

Panthère 37mm (Ref. W2PN0007)

CHF 8’050 (recommended retail price)

Ballon Bleu 33mm (Ref. WE902074)

CHF 7’300 (recommended retail price)

Tank Française 20mm (Ref. WE110004)

CHF 7’000 (recommended retail price)