Round Haute Horlogerie: The Cartier Ballon Bleu
The round Ballon Bleu stands out with its protected crown featuring a blue sapphire, as well as impressive complications, such as a flying tourbillon, and luxurious materials like pink gold. At 28 to 46 mm, there are watches for both men and women.
Sheer Elegance: Round Cases and Grand Complications
The Ballon Bleu collection is unique within the Cartier catalog. Its round cases stand out against the otherwise predominantly rectangular watches on offer, including the Tank and the Santos pilot's watch. Both of these pioneering models were created in the early 20th century and contributed to the wristwatch's gradual replacement of the pocket watch.
The Ballon Bleu de Cartier , the watch's full name, not only differentiates itself by its shape, but also its age. At its debut in 2007, it was marketed toward both men and women. However, the watch was most popular among women thanks to its soft, feminine design. Today it is one of Cartier's most successful watches.
A large selection of luxury watches with complications, such as a tourbillon or moon phase indicator, has also contributed to the Ballon Bleu's success. This French manufacturer produces both high-quality jewelry and luxurious watches worthy of the haute horlogerie label.
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.
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 3 o'clock. A blue sapphire on the crown and the watch's blue hands are what inspired the "Bleu" in "Ballon Bleu." Many Cartier watches feature a gemstone on the crown.
How much does a Ballon Bleu cost?
|Model||Price (new)||Case/band material||Caliber|
|Ballon Bleu (Tourbillon)||93,700 USD||Pink gold||Manual|
|Ballon Bleu||23,400 USD||Pink gold/pink gold||Automatic|
|Ballon Bleu Chronograph||21,100 USD||Pink gold||Automatic|
|Ballon Bleu Extra Flat||18,700 USD||Pink gold||Manual|
|Ballon Bleu Chronograph||8,200 USD||Stainless steel||Automatic|
|Ballon Bleu||8,200 USD||Pink gold/leather||Quartz|
|Ballon Bleu||7,000 USD||Bicolor/bicolor||Automatic|
|Ballon Bleu||3,500 USD||Stainless steel||Quartz|
Detailed Price Information
Watches in the Ballon Bleu collection range from 28 to 46 mm in diameter, meaning there's a watch for every wrist size. Prices for women's watches begin around 3,500 USD. That amount will get you a new stainless steel watch with a quartz movement. An automatic Ballon Bleu with a bicolor case and bracelet costs about 7,000 USD in mint condition. Never-worn yellow or pink gold pieces with a leather strap and quartz movement start around 8,200 USD. Those with an automatic caliber and link bracelet demand about 23,400 USD. The most expensive women's Ballon Bleu has a gold case and many diamond embellishments. You'll need to have more than 58,500 USD on hand for this timepiece.
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 axis. Watchmakers place important mechanical watch components inside the cage, which makes a full rotation once every minute. This serves 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 93,700 USD.
Entry-level men's models are 42 mm in diameter and made of stainless steel. A new timepiece with an automatic movement sells for about 5,300 USD. These watches come on either a leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. Prices for a mint-condition bicolor model with a matching bracelet begin around 9,400 USD. Pre-owned, these timepieces cost about 2,300 USD less. The pink gold model with a brown dial is particularly elegant. A brown crocodile leather strap completes the look. You can purchase this Ballon Bleu starting at 17,600 USD.
A 44-mm Chronograph with a Date Display
If you'd prefer a Ballon Bleu with a more masculine touch, one of the collection's chronographs is a good choice. The case has a stately diameter of 44 mm. Its automatic in-house caliber is visible through the sapphire glass case back. The minute counter is at 3 o'clock, the small seconds at 6 o'clock, and the date display is uniquely placed at 9 o'clock.
You can choose from a gray, silver, white, or black dial. You can call a pre-owned stainless steel Ballon Bleu Chronograph your own for about 5,900 USD. New pieces cost around 8,200 USD. Prices for gold chronographs sit around 21,000 USD.
Larger and Thinner: The 46-mm Extra Flat
At 7.05 mm thick, the Ballon Bleu Extra Flat is a product of the trend toward thinner cases. In fact, it feels even flatter thanks to its 46-mm case. The in-house manual caliber 430 is responsible for these impressive dimensions. New, this gold dress watch with two hands costs 18,700 USD on a crocodile leather strap.
Other Features of the Ballon Bleu
One distinctive sign of a true 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 6 o'clock on the edge of the dial when buying a Ballon Bleu.