Vintage Watches Cartier: Everything You Need to Know About the Brand

Cartier is a legendary name in the world of luxury watches, renowned for its exquisite elegance, timeless designs, and rich quality.

With a history spanning over a century, Cartier has created numerous iconic luxury watches that have become symbols of sophistication and real value.

In this blog post, we delve into the world of vintage watches by Cartier, exploring their average market prices, notable collections, and what makes them highly sought after by watch enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Read until the end to find out what to look for when buying a second-hand vintage Cartier watch for men or women.

Vintage Watches: Cartier Edition

Cartier was founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier in Paris, France. Initially known for its fine jewelry, the brand expanded into watchmaking in the early 20th century.

The combination of Cartier’s exceptional jewelry quality and horological expertise resulted in watches that were both technically impressive and aesthetically stunning.

Vintage Watches Cartier: The most iconic models

Cartier: Tank

Image from: David Mellor Jewellers

The Cartier Tank is perhaps the most recognizable and celebrated design in the brand’s history. Introduced in 1917, it revolutionized the watch industry with its rectangular case and clean, geometric lines.

Inspired by the shape of armored vehicles used during World War I, the Tank has a timeless and minimalist aesthetic.

The watch’s Roman numeral dial, blue sword-shaped hands, and distinctive cabochon crown add to its elegance. The Tank has various iterations, including the Tank Louis Cartier, Tank Francaise, Tank Américaine, and Tank Solo.

Santos Watch

Image From:

Next in the list of the most iconic vintage watches by Cartier is the Cartier Santos, created in 1904, considered one of the first wristwatches designed for men.

It was originally made for the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who required a timepiece that could be easily read while flying.

The Santos features a square case with rounded corners, exposed screws on the bezel, and a distinctive square dial with Roman numerals.

The design blends sophistication with a sporty appeal, and it has since become an iconic Cartier collection.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier

Vintage watch cartier ballon de bleu
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Introduced in 2007, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier showcases the brand’s ability to create modern classics. Its most distinguishing feature is the rounded, pebble-shaped case that appears to float within a protective metal crown.

The watch has a unique charm, combining elegance with a touch of whimsy. The Roman numeral dial, sword-shaped hands, and a blue cabochon crown complete the design.

The Ballon Bleu de Cartier has gained popularity among both men and women for its versatile and captivating aesthetic.

Pasha de Cartier

vintage watch pasha de cartier
Image From: Revolution Watch

Originally introduced in the 1980s, the Pasha de Cartier collection is known for its bold and distinctive design. The watch features a round case with a prominent protective crown cap attached to a chain or hinged cover. This crown cap adds a sporty and rugged element to the design.

The Pasha de Cartier is characterized by a prominent dial with Arabic numerals, sword-shaped hands, and a date window.

Its robust and eye-catching appearance has made it a favorite among watch enthusiasts seeking a unique and statement-making timepiece.


cartier vintage wathces tortue
Image From: Fratello Watches

The Cartier Tortue is a design that dates back to 1912 and has become synonymous with Cartier’s commitment to unconventional shapes.

The watch takes its name from the French word for “turtle,” inspired by its distinct curved and elongated case resembling a tortoise shell.

The Tortue features a unique blend of straight and curved lines, creating a visually striking and sophisticated look.

tortue vintage cartier watch
Image From: Fratello Watches

The watch often incorporates other Cartier design elements, such as Roman numerals, Breguet-style hands, and a cabochon crown.

These iconic designs showcase Cartier’s ability to create watches that are not only precise timekeeping instruments that can last a lifetime but also an accessory that boosts your style and highlights your good taste in luxury watches.

Their enduring appeal lies in their ability to effortlessly transcend time and trends, making them coveted pieces for collectors and those who appreciate the value and quality of a vintage watch.

Vintage Watches Cartier: Buying Second Hand

If you’re considering purchasing a vintage Cartier watch, buying second hand can offer a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of horological history at a potentially more affordable price.

Our team of experts has put together the following key considerations to keep in mind when you research your perfect Cartier vintage watch (for men or ladies).

Research & Educate yourself

Before diving into the world of vintage Cartier watches, take the time to research and familiarize yourself with:

  • the brand’s history (this is optional)
  • models (so you can see what’s out there and what fits your style the best)
  • and specific characteristics of the vintage watch you’re interested in (to make sure they align with what you look for)

Understanding the nuances of vintage Cartier watches will help you make informed decisions and identify potential red flags when you see it in a physical store or in pictures when someone is selling it online.

Buy from Reputable Sellers

To minimize the risk of purchasing a counterfeit or misrepresented vintage Cartier watch, it is crucial to buy from reputable sellers.

Look for established dealers, auction houses, or online platforms with a proven track record of dealing in authentic vintage watches. Read reviews, seek recommendations, and verify the seller’s reputation and expertise.

We always recommend you avoid buying from places where you’re not 100% sure it’s safe to do so. It’s better to wait until you find exactly the Cartier vintage watch you’re looking for from a trustworthy source.

Verify Authenticity

Due to the popularity of Cartier watches, counterfeit pieces are unfortunately prevalent in the market. Learn about the specific details, hallmarks, engravings, and serial numbers associated with authentic vintage Cartier watches.

Request detailed photos of the watch if you can from individual sellers, including the case back, movement, and any accompanying documentation, and compare them to authentic examples or consult with experts for authentication if needed.

Assess Condition

Evaluate the condition of the vintage Cartier watch thoroughly. Vintage watches, by their nature, may exhibit signs of wear, but excessive damage or significant alterations can affect their value and desirability.

Check for originality, including the dial, hands, crown, and strap/bracelet, as modifications can impact authenticity and collectibility. Consider the presence of any service records or restoration history.

Set a Budget

Determine your budget before starting your search for a vintage Cartier watch. Prices can vary widely based on factors such as model, rarity, age, and condition.

Having a budget in mind will help you focus your search and ensure you’re comfortable with the investment you’re making.

Seek Expert Advice

If you’re unsure about the authenticity, condition, or value of a vintage Cartier watch, don’t hesitate to seek advice from experts or experienced watch appraisers.

Their knowledge and expertise can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

Consider After-Sales Support

When purchasing a vintage Cartier watch, consider the availability of after-sales support.

Cartier’s official service centers may be able to service and restore vintage watches, ensuring their longevity and preserving their value.

Remember, patience and diligence are key to finding the perfect vintage Cartier timepiece that suits both your style and investment goals.

How much are old vintage cartier watches worth?

Are Cartier vintage watches worth money?

Absolutely, but here are some things to keep in mind:

When considering the purchase of a vintage Cartier watch, it’s essential to take into account factors such as the watch’s condition, originality, accompanying documentation, and any unique features or historical significance it may possess. These factors can significantly impact the price of a particular vintage Cartier watch.

vintage watches cartier

Entry-Level Vintage Cartier Watches:

These are typically simpler models or older quartz timepieces. Prices for entry-level vintage Cartier watches can range from around $500 to $1,500, with some exceptions falling below or above this range.

Mid-Range Vintage Cartier Watches

This category includes popular vintage Cartier models with mechanical movements, such as the Tank or Santos.

Prices for mid-range vintage Cartier watches generally range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on factors like model, condition, and materials.

High-End Vintage Cartier Watches

These are rare or highly collectible vintage Cartier watches, often featuring intricate complications or made with high-quality materials.

Prices for high-end vintage Cartier watches can start from $10,000 and go well into the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s important to note that these are approximate average price ranges, and specific vintage Cartier watches may fall outside these ranges based on their unique attributes and market conditions.

Vintage Watches Cartier: Men’s and Women’s Buying Tips

Whether you’re in search of a vintage Cartier watch for yourself or as a gift, understanding the nuances of buying a men’s or women’s timepiece is crucial.

Here’s what to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy a vintage Cartier watch:

Consider the Cartier Watch Size and Proportions

When selecting a vintage Cartier watch, pay attention to the size and proportions that best suit the wearer’s wrist.

Image Courtesy: Fratello Watches

Men’s watches typically have larger case sizes, ranging from 38mm to 42mm or more, while women’s watches tend to be smaller, often between 26mm and 36mm. However, personal preferences and current fashion trends can influence the desired size.

Identify Preferred Styles and Designs

Cartier offers a wide range of watch styles and designs, catering to different tastes and preferences. Men’s vintage Cartier watches often feature bold and masculine designs, such as the iconic Tank or Santos models.

Women’s vintage Cartier watches, on the other hand, may exhibit more delicate and feminine aesthetics, with options like the Tank Francaise or Ballon Bleu. Identify the preferred style and design that aligns with the wearer’s individual taste.

Mechanical or Quartz Movement

Consider whether you prefer a vintage Cartier watch with a mechanical (automatic or manual) movement or a quartz movement.

Mechanical watches offer the charm of traditional watchmaking, while quartz watches provide accuracy and convenience.

Vintage Cartier watches with mechanical movements may have a higher price tag due to their intricate craftsmanship and desirability.

Vintage Watches Cartier: Check for Unisex Options

Some vintage Cartier watch models, such as the Tank, have designs that are considered unisex, suitable for both men and women.

These watches often have more moderate case sizes and classic aesthetics, making them versatile options that can be shared or worn by either gender.

Consider Wrist Comfort and Strap Options

Take into account the comfort of wearing the watch on the wrist. Vintage Cartier watches are available with various strap options, including leather, metal bracelets, and fabric straps.

Consider the wearer’s preferences and the occasion for which the watch will primarily be worn.

Remember, a vintage Cartier watch is not only a functional accessory but also an enduring symbol of luxury and elegance.

Vintage Watches Cartier: A journey of style

Whether you are a dedicated watch collector or an individual seeking a timeless piece of elegance, exploring the world of vintage Cartier watches is a journey that opens the doors to a world of quality, lifetime value, and enduring style.

Embrace the allure of vintage Cartier and let these extraordinary timepieces add a touch of luxury to your life.

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