Cartier, the famed jewelry and Maison, was founded by Louis-François Cartier. Louis apprenticed under master watchmaker Adolphe Picard and, after years of apprenticeship, he went on to buy the business from Picard in 1847. Early on, he expanded the business from watches to include jewelry as well. Even then he valued quality above all else in both timepieces and jewels. It wasn’t until Louis Cartier’s son, Alfred, joined the business, coupled with the Paris Commune – which allowed Alfred to buy jewelry from aristocrats for pennies on the dollar – that the company’s name took hold with the French elite.
For us watch folks, 1903 was the year that Cartier would make their stamp on the watch world with their first men’s wristwatch. The watch was commissioned for a close friend of Alfred’s, Alberto Santos-Dumont. Dumont was a pioneer in aviation and wanted a wristwatch for use in flight. The square watch they created would bear his name and still does to this day. In the years to come Cartier would establish a partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre and release the famed Tank. From there on out, the name Cartier and watches would become synonymous.
It is hard to imagine that a watch as classic as the Cartier Ballon Bleu was only released for the first time in 2007. Yet, in a mere 13 years, it has gained icon status and has cemented itself as one of the watches to own, for both men and women. The design of the watch is said to have been inspired by a famous brooch made for Wallis Simpson in 1949. The brooch features a snarling panther guarding a large spherical blue sapphire. The design of the Ballon Bleu mimics the spherical shape of the blue sapphire and the integrated crown guard over the sapphire in the crown is a node to the protective panther. This particular watch is a 36mm, time only automatic that is still produced today.
The Case and Bracelet
The case and bracelet of this watch are in good condition. There are scratches throughout the case and bracelet from apparent daily wear. As a result, the watch would benefit greatly from a polish, preferably carried out by Cartier themselves. The watch wears its original bracelet and comes with all of its original links.
The Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are classic Cartier with blued hands and roman numerals. Its silver-white face is adorned with intricate guilloche decoration and no date window to distract the viewer. This example features its hidden Cartier signature in the seven numeral. There are no defaults to note in the dial but there are several light scratches on the domed sapphire crystal.
This watch is powered by an automatic ETA calibre 2671. The watch is running and keeping good time. The service history is unknown.
The watch is accompanied by its original box and unstamped papers.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Automatic, ETA calibre 2671|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|