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Cartier Ballon Bleu watches

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Cartier Ballon Bleu (12422) Cartier Ballon Bleu (12422) $10,999 US 73 2013

Cartier Ballon Bleu: Sleek and Round

The Ballon Bleu is one of Cartier's most famous watches. Its hallmark is a protective arc over the sapphire-topped crown. This round watch is available in many different variants, including versions in gold or with a tourbillon.

Highlights

  • Blue sapphire on the crown
  • Stainless steel, bicolor, yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold
  • Option of mechanical or quartz calibers
  • In-house caliber with a chronograph function or tourbillon
  • Dial and case set with diamonds

Success Since 2007

The Ballon Bleu is round. This is notable since Cartier became famous for their square watches like the Tank and the pilot's watch Santos. Both of these models were created in the early 20th century. They were pioneering watches at the time and contributed to the wristwatch's gradual replacement of the pocket watch.
The Ballon Bleu de Cartier, the watch's full name, doesn't only differentiate itself with its shape, but also its age. It was first introduced in 2007 and was marketed towards both men and women. The watch was especially successful with women thanks to its soft, feminine design. Today, the majority of Ballon Bleu timepieces are worn by women and it has become one of Cartier's most successful watches.
The Ballon Bleu's real eye-catcher is its crown. The case has a unique protective arc that covers the crown. The dial and case curve inward at the arc, which is located at the three o'clock position. The crown is topped with a blue sapphire, which, along with the watch's blue hands, is the source of inspiration for the "Bleu" in "Ballon Bleu." Featuring a gemstone on the crown is a characteristic of many Cartier watches. The Ballon Bleu's round shape is reminiscent of a balloon or a pebble, a comparison made by Cartier's Senior Category Director of Fine Jewelry & Watches, Michael Groffenberger.
The use of Roman numerals is an important design aspect of the Ballon Bleu. Almost all of the watches in this collection feature Roman numerals with the exception of the models that are fully covered in diamonds and lack hour markers.

Buying Advice

Are you looking for a round watch with a distinctive design? The Ballon Bleu is just that and comes from one of the most famous luxury watch manufacturers in the world. Cartier offers around 100 different versions of the Ballon Bleu for women and around 40 versions for men.
The women's watches start at just over 3,000 euros. At this price point, you can buy an unworn, stainless steel Ballon Bleu powered by a quartz movement. A Ballon Bleu with an automatic caliber and a bicolor case and bracelet costs around 6,500 euros. Yellow or rose gold versions cost around 10,000 euros. The most expensive Ballon Bleu versions have a gold case and are richly decorated with diamonds; you should plan to spend more than 100,000 euros on one of these watches.
The men's models have a similar pricing structure. The most expensive watches, however, don't owe their price tag to numerous diamonds on the dial and case, but rather to the tourbillon found inside. A tourbillon is a delicate round cage that rotates on its own access. Watchmakers place important components of a mechanical watch inside the cage so that they make a full rotation once every minute. The tourbillon is meant to minimize the negative influence of gravity on the oscillation system and improve a watch's accuracy. It was originally developed for pocket watches around 1800 by the brilliant watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. Today, a tourbillon is considered a sign of the highest level of watchmaking. A Ballon Bleu with a tourbillon costs around 75,000 euros.
If you prefer a Ballon Bleu with a more masculine touch, then one of the stainless steel chronographs in the collection is a good choice. The case has a stately diameter of 44 mm. The watch is powered by an automatic in-house caliber which is visible through the sapphire glass case back. The minute counter is at three o'clock, the small seconds at six o'clock, and the date display is uniquely placed at nine o'clock.
The 44-mm chronograph is one of the largest Ballon Bleus available, though some have a diameter of 46 mm. The women's watches generally range in size between 28 mm and 33 mm, with the largest version reaching 42 mm.
One distinctive sign of a real Ballon Bleu is the presence of screws on the case back. The brand name Cartier, the case material, and the serial number are also engraved in the case. Additionally, Cartier uses small screws in the metal bracelets.
You should also take note of the tiny inscription reading Swiss Made at six o'clock on the edge of the dial when buying a Ballon Bleu.

Watches for Celebrities & Royalty

The Dutchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is one of the most famous wearers of the Ballon Bleu. Actor Johnny Depp has also been seen sporting a Ballon Bleu in public.
Cartier has been known not only as a watch manufacturer since the 19th century, but also as a jeweler. All notable European noble houses have been counted amongst their clientele. Louis-François Cartier founded the company in Paris in 1847 when he took over his teacher's workshop and began successfully selling handmade jewelry. His grandsons led the company to international renown. Today, Cartier belongs to the luxury goods concern Richemont.