April 10, 2015
By Jody Hume
5 EXPERT TIPS FOR BUYING A CARTIER WATCHSHOP CARTIER
“Cartier was dubbed ‘the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers’ by King Edward VII of England,” notes Senior Director of Fine Jewelry & Watches Michael Groffenberger. “And their clientele demonstrates just how true that statement is. The classic Tank can be found on celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Elle Macpherson, as well as royalty such as the Queen of England.”
This diversity of devotees is in keeping with the expert balance the French jewelry house achieves between the old and the new. “Cartier mixes their heritage in classic timepieces and their hunger for innovation better than any other brand in the industry,” says Groffenberger. “Cartier likes to push the boundaries so that they stay relevant and in the public eye, which leads to new buyers and the ability to continue their incredible legacy.” With a pedigree like that, it’s easy to turn to Cartier when you’re looking to buy an investment timepiece. But how to choose which style to buy? Here, Groffenberger shares five tips for choosing a Cartier timepiece you’ll love forever, or be able to resell when you fall for something new.
1. Know your budget.
If your budget is under $1,000, Groffenberger recommends the Must de Cartier 21. “It gives you access to a luxury brand at an attainable price point. While it normally retails for over $2,000, on The RealReal you can find the Must de Cartier for $995.”
“In the $1,000 – $5,000 range, your options open up,” says Groffenberger. “A Tank Française is classic and one of Cartier’s best sellers. Or you could choose the Ballon Bleu if you’re looking for a style that’s more elegant and feminine.”
If the sky is the limit? “For a Tank Américaine with a full pavé bracelet, you could spend up to $300,000,” Groffenberger points out. While there are less expensive versions of the Tank Américaine, “They’re all made of gold,” he notes. “It’s very exclusive, with a very distinct style. It’s very Cartier.
2. It’s about personal style.
“Choosing a style is such a personal thing, and it all depends on how you want to wear your timepiece. I tend to gravitate toward casual pieces that can be dressed up if needed since I spend most of my time in business casual attire. My choice of Cartier would be the Calibre Diver,” Groffenberger says.
“For a woman who wants something timeless and elegant, I would advise purchasing a Tank, which is the most iconic watch Cartier produces. If she wanted something a little more fun and stylish, the Ballon Bleu is a more fashion-forward piece with larger case diameters and a more pronounced look.”
“For a gentleman looking for a classic round timepiece, I would suggest the Calibre De Cartier. The Calibre has a strong masculine look but with a timeless and classic case shape. For someone looking for more of a statement, I would suggest the Santos 100. It’s a large square watch that really grabs the attention of the people around it. The Santos 100 is not a traditional watch shape, which sets it apart from competitors, but still holds the DNA of Cartier in fit and finish.”
3. Look for value.
Buying an authenticated, pre-owned Cartier watch is a great way to maximize the value of your timepiece. As with the Must de Cartier, on The RealReal you can find Cartier watches available for well under their retail value. But what’s more is that their resale value lasts. “Cartier watches hold their resale value very well,” says Groffeneberger. “At The RealReal, Cartier is one of the top-selling brands due to the illustrious history of the brand as well as the timeless design of their pieces. Cartier watches never go out of style, which is what you look for when evaluating the value on the secondary market.”
4. Know what type of movement you want (battery vs. mechanical).
“If your focus is on style alone, a quartz movement that uses a battery is easy and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It’s plug and play,” says Groffenberger.
“If you not only care about how your timepiece looks but what makes it tick, then consider a mechanical movement. It’s a bit more maintenance, but it’s like working on an old car — it’s a labor of love that’s worth it because you know it will last forever.”
5. Authenticity is key.
Due to Cartier’s prestige and popularity, many fakes are passed off as the real thing. “Always look for proper stamping on the case back of the watch,” advises Groffenberger. “It should be stamped with the material it is constructed out of, a serial number, four digit model number, and the Cartier signature. Also, pay attention to the overall construction — Cartier has some of the the best craftsman in the industry and every piece they sell should feel that way.”