The Cartier Roadster: Modern Meets Classic
The Cartier Roadster is a timeless dress watch with a distinctive barrel-shaped case. It's available with a mechanical or quartz caliber and as a men's or women's watch. Features like gold cases and diamond-studded bezels increase its value.
A Classic Barrel-Shaped Dress Watch
Cartier introduced the Roadster in 2001. To many fans' dismay, the Parisian manufacturer retired this model just over ten years later.
The Roadster has a barrel-shaped case and takes its inspiration from sports cars from the 1960s. Its case and crown bring to mind images of vintage models from Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and Mercedes-Benz. However, the Roadster is far from a true sports watch. Instead, Cartier managed to develop a dress watch that can go with any outfit: from evening wear and business attire to your favorite polo shirt and jeans.
The different case size options make the Roadster a fantastic choice for men and women alike. The standard men's model measures 43 x 38 mm, while the women's watch comes in at 36 x 30 mm. You can also choose from among classic three-hand models, chronographs, and watches with a GMT function. Cartier crafted the cases out of stainless steel or rose, white, or yellow gold. Most Roadsters feature a modified ETA caliber with automatic winding, though you will also find some quartz-powered editions. With a water-resistance to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft) and a quick band exchange system, the Roadster is ready for life's daily challenges.
5 Reasons to Buy a Cartier Roadster
- Cartier's distinctive barrel-shaped dress watch
- Three-hand watches and chronographs
- Stainless steel, two-tone, yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold cases
- Automatic and quartz movements
- Men's and women's sizes between 20 and 49 mm wide
Prices at a Glance: Cartier Roadster
|Model/Reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, movement type, feature(s)|
|Roadster Ladies, WE5001X1||26,400 USD||Yellow gold; quartz; diamonds, date|
|Roadster XL Chronograph, 2619||12,500 USD||Yellow gold; automatic; chronograph, date|
|Roadster Chronograph, W62027Z1||6,400 USD||Two-tone; automatic; chronograph, date|
|Roadster GMT, W62032X6||4,500 USD||Stainless steel; automatic; GMT, date|
|Roadster S, 3312||3,600 USD||Stainless steel; automatic; date|
|Roadster, 2510||3,100 USD||Stainless steel; automatic; date|
|Roadster, 2675||2,900 USD||Stainless steel; quartz; date|
How much does a Cartier Roadster cost?
Since Cartier ceased its production in 2012, the Roadster is almost exclusively available as a pre-owned timepiece. However, most watches are in good to very good condition. Smaller stainless steel women's models with three hands and a quartz movement represent the entry point into this collection. One example is the ref. 2675. This quartz-powered timepiece has a 37 x 31-mm case and sells for around 2,900 USD in very good condition on Chrono24. Women's watches with automatic movements cost about 240 USD more.
Prices for a three-hand men's Roadster in stainless steel begin around 3,300 USD. That amount will get you a ref. W62002V3 with a 43 x 38-mm case and automatic caliber. This model has a sporty black dial with white Arabic numerals. If you prefer more classic designs, Cartier also produced a version with a white dial and Roman numerals under the reference number W62000V3. Beyond their dials, these two models are identical and sell for roughly 3,300 USD each.
The Cartier Roadster collection is also home to a wide variety of gold watches. Due to their material, these timepieces demand higher prices. For example, a well-maintained ref. W62018Y5 with a 37 x 31-mm yellow gold case changes hands for around 6,300 USD. At approximately 26,500 USD, gem-studded editions like the ref. WE5001X1 occupy the upper end of the price range. This quartz watch features diamonds on its bezel and comes on a three-piece link bracelet in 18-karat yellow gold.
Those looking for a hint of the 1980s should check out the different two-tone Roadster models. The automatic ref. W62031Y4 combines stainless steel and yellow gold and costs about 3,500 USD.
In 2010, Cartier presented the Roadster S. Despite its rather conservative design, there's no mistaking this timepiece for anything other than a Roadster. This version lacks visible lug screws, and any search for a magnifying date lens will be in vain. What's more, its dial is much flatter and, thus, feels more prominent. This is especially true on models with a black DLC (diamond-like carbon)-coated bezel. Cartier chose this coating for its durability and scratch-resistance. The watch's classic white dial with black Roman numerals plays off the case's more modern, simplistic design rather nicely.
Prices for a Roadster S ref. 3312 range from 2,400 USD for a model with a DLC-coated bezel and rubber strap to about 3,600 USD for a timepiece in polished stainless steel on a metal bracelet.
Roadsters With Chronograph and GMT Functions
The Roadster XL GMT ref. W62032X6 is the perfect companion for frequent travelers. It displays the time in a second time zone using an additional central hand and a 24-hour scale around the dial's edge. This stainless steel watch measures 48 x 43 mm and demands roughly 4,500 USD in good condition.
Chronographs also appear in the Roadster collection. These watches get their power from the ETA caliber 2894-2, known as the 8510 at Cartier. This movement provides each timepiece with three subdials: There's a minute counter at 9, an hour counter at 6, and a dual small seconds and date display at 3 o'clock. Expect to pay some 5,000 USD for the stainless steel ref. 2618. The two-tone gold and stainless steel ref. W62027Z1 costs an additional 1,500 USD. Prices for a well-maintained ref. 2619 in 18-karat yellow gold sit around 12,500 USD.
These models have a small seconds at 9, while the minute counter has joined the date display at 3 o'clock. Like other Roadster S models, the chronograph is available in polished stainless steel or with a DLC-coated bezel. Regardless of the exact model, you can purchase one of these watches for about 4,000 USD.
Inspired by Classic Automobiles
The Roadster has vintage sports cars from the 1950s and 60s to thank for its name and design. The curved lines of its barrel-shaped case resemble those of an aerodynamic roadster. Sunken screws on the lugs look like the headlights found on classic cars such as the Alpha Romeo Spider and Aston Martin Racing. Even the crown's design was inspired by classic cars, specifically by the fins on classic Cadillacs. This look is only enhanced by the seamless transition between the crown and the Cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal.
Cartier equipped some Roadster dials with their characteristic Roman numerals and others with Arabic numerals. The latter dial design is known among fans as the "roulette" or "Las Vegas" dial and is meant to resemble the speedometer of the Porsche 356 Speedster. This dial only appears on three-hand models, while the chronograph versions exclusively feature dials with Roman numerals. However, this has no effect on the sportiness of the chronograph models, as their subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock are like small versions of the roulette dial.
The Jeweler of Kings
Louis-François Cartier founded the company in 1847 when he took over his teacher's jewelry workshop. His grandsons made the family name famous worldwide. At the turn of the 20th century, Cartier was supplying its jewelry to noble houses across Europe. In 1904, the Santos became the company's first men's wristwatch.
Cartier now belongs to the Richemont Group (along with Baume & Mercier, Dunhill, IWC, Montblanc, and others). Aside from watches and jewelry, Cartier also offers leather goods, glasses, pens, and other luxury goods. Even today, Cartier still serves nobility: Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wears a Cartier Ballon Bleu.