Buying a Cartier Watch

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There are so many good watches offered nowadays by recognised watchmaking brands, like Rolex and by fashion houses, such as Armani and Gucci. All look great. All are expensive. There is also talk about heritage and quality of movement etc. It is difficult to see where Cartier fit in and why people should chose that brand over others such as Omega. Well, what are you getting?  Cartier have been making iconic jewellery for over a century which includes some iconic watch designs which have been much copied but never bettered. If you wear a Cartier you are wearing a watch that has been favoured by royalty, the great and the good. It is a high class maker that thinks about its designs. The quality is in the detail. The detail is fine. The designs are timeless. Cartier will still be making the Santos in 50 years time and it will still look roughly the same. Some criticise the use of standard movements made by ETA (pronounced EE-Tar or Ay-Ta). Let's put this concern to bed. ETA are specialist movement makers that produce the best movements in the world. It would be nice to think that Patek make better ones, but they don't. Their's are, in some cases, nicer finished, hand built and are made in much lower numbers by artisans. How does this translate to the watch on you wrist? Well, an ETA will tell better time, last longer (without massive financial and emotional investment) and it will be easier to locate someone to service it. The Patek movement will be hidden away and 99.9999999% of people won't know about it or give a toss. ETA movements are fitted to nearly all good watches, including Omega, IWC, Franck Muller and...Patek with some of their more successful chronographs. The quartz Cartier movements are some of the finest, being made by Piaget.  Cartier are a recognised super-brand, though your average watchmaker can easily service one with parts which are readily available. The latest Cartier automatics use an in-house movement. I can't comment on the knock-on effect of this on ownership costs.
What about brand recognition? If you are spending £Ks on a watch, you want one that people will notice and admire. If you don't buy a Seiko. Cartier designs are, as mentioned, iconic. The Tank, Santos, Panthere etc. are famous designs which are much recognised and which are worn by celebrity and royalty. If this doesn't interest you, buy a Seiko. A Cartier watch should last over a century. You can pass it down to your children in the knowledge that it will always be an object of desire. I have spoken to people who have been critical of people who spend several thousand pounds on a watch. Yes, I can see their viewpoint and respect it. When they tell me that their £50 Casio keeps fantastic time and glows in the dark, I concede their wisdom. I also point out that they have probably spent hundreds and thousands on cheap fashion watches over decades and have never really owned anything with intrinsic class. One Cartier would last them a lifetime. People who say it's a snob's watch are jealous. People who criticise the design are probably jealous. People who say it's a waste of money, I point out the stupid things they have bought like unreliable cars, ugly clothes or unsuccessful holidays. Or their smoking. Everyone has a weakness!


Some myths......  1)  Must De Cartier are poor quality watches in a lower range...... The Le Must collection use the same fine movements as used in the other ranges of the time. Typically, ETA mechanicals and Piguet quartz.The cases are often vermeil,  pronounced ver-may, which is plated silver. The watches are top quality and better than steel Santos equivalents. The stainless steel Must 21 watches are every bit as good as the Santos watches of the time. It is more of a perception problem than a reality. 2)  Cartier went through a 'bad' period where they allowed other companies to use their name on their watches....what rubbish! This is a nice myth that comes from the number of fakes about. They are so common in the Tank style that people can't believe that it isn't a true range. Cartier have always been, and will always be a top end maker using pure metals...3) Cartier gold plated base metal cases. Rubbish! These are fakes. Cartier use pure metals only and never gold or chrome plated their cases. This is a stupid and dangerous myth. There are always fake Cartier Tanks of this description on E bay. These dealers selling them are convinced the watches are genuine.
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