How Cartier Watches Hold Their Value?

Cartier watches make a statement, unlike any other watch brand, blending form and function in a way that epitomizes refinement. Each style of some of the most popular Cartier watches have subtle differences so you can truly find something to fit your personality.

When you decide to buy a Cartier watch, you’re buying more than just a simple timepiece—you’re buying in a timeless legacy. 

As such, we need to ask ourselves a question—do Cartier watches hold their value?

The short answer is yes, Cartier watches hold value and may even increase in value. The longer answer is that it depends on several factors. Vintage Cartier may go up in value more than a newer model. Trends may change as time passes and value may increase or diminish accordingly. Let’s answer the question by looking a little deeper.

History of Cartier

When exploring whether luxury Cartier watches will hold their value or how to tell if a Cartier watch is real, it makes sense to discuss why they are so valuable in the first place. To do that, we must look at the history of Cartier and how it became such a respected brand:1

  • Cartier was founded in 1847 when Louis-Francois Cartier took over his master’s workshop in Paris.
  • The first Cartier boutique was opened in 1859 in Paris.
  • Cartier’s heirs expanded the brand beyond Paris, setting up outposts in New York and London.
  • Cartier, the luxury watch brand, became known for innovative techniques such as using platinum in jewelry and finding inspiration in unlikely places such as the Renault tanks of World War I. This innovative spirit led Cartier to be called the “Jeweler of King, King of Jewelers.”
  • Cartier’s creation of the Santos de Cartier, luxury watch designed for his friend—the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont—helped popularize the wristwatch for men. Until that time, men used pocketwatches almost exclusively. Santos-Dumont’s use of the wristwatch soon spread and made the wristwatch a popular fashion accessory.
  • Cartier was family-owned until 1964. Today, it is a subsidiary of the watchmaking Swiss Richemont Group. It maintains three historical Maisons in Paris, New York, and London. Its headquarters remain in Paris.
  • As of 2020, Cartier has an estimated brand value of 12.2 billion dollars, making it the 56th most valuable brand in the world.2
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Cartier Watches Resale Value

With history as our guide, Cartier styles pass the test of time and a watch bought today may gain value over the long term as it becomes more desired and rare.3
However, it’s impossible to predict what any market will be in two years, five years, or ten years. Because of that, it’s difficult to say for sure exactly how well a Cartier watch will fare if resold. To determine whether a Cartier watch will hold or increase in value, multiple factors need to be considered:

  • Style – Each style of Cartier watch will be valued differently based on what is popular at the time of resale. Historically, most styles of Cartier have proven themselves to be timeless. When choosing a Cartier watch, don’t think about tomorrow’s trends—you should gravitate to the style which most speaks to you and can be confident that it will hold its value into the future.
  • Materials – One reason many vintage Cartier watches are more valuable than newer models is that the materials used to make them were more valuable. Many vintage watch models used white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold, whereas newer models tend to use steel in their construction. Other styles will use materials such as platinum, diamonds, or other gemstones which will affect the watch’s value.
  • Condition – Watches are a functional item and, as such, some may take on damage as they are used. The better the condition of your Cartier watch, the greater value it will hold.
  • Lineage – Cartier has made watches worn by celebrities, royalty, and other luminaries throughout its history. While any Cartier watch may hold or appreciate in value, one with a distinguished lineage is likely to fetch a higher price.

  • Sales of Cartier

    To show how Cartier watches hold their value, we as a Cartier authorized dealer can look to some of the larger sales of Cartier watches and pre owned Cartier watches. While not all Cartier watches will become collector’s items, many have, and the prices these items can collect at auction can be staggering:4

    • Earlier in 2021, at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XIII, a Cartier Pebble was sold for the price of CHF 403,000 (nearly $450,000).
    • Also this year, Bonham’s sold a different Cartier Pebble for another massive sum (nearly $311,000) which was over its original estimated valuation between $210,00 and $280,000.
    • In 2002, a Tortue Minute repeater was sold by Antiquorum for CHF 993,000 (over $100,000)

    While these are extreme examples of very rare watches (the Cartier Pebble sold earlier this year was one of only two in existence), it does show just how valuable Cartier watches can become.

    Styles of Cartier Watches with High Resale Potential

    While it’s impossible to tell which Cartier watch will hold the most value in the future or which is the best Cartier watch for ladies, certain styles tend to hold more value. Keep in mind that although past performance is not necessarily a predictor of future results, if a watch has proven its resilience over more than a century, it’s likely that it will still be desired and valuable into the future.

    Here are a few Cartier watch styles with a high potential for resale value:5

  • Cartier Tank – The Cartier Tank is one of the most popular styles of Cartier watch and one of the most collectible. Louis Cartier was inspired by the Rennault tanks used on the western front of Worl War I and in response came up with this timeless design. Marked by its flat vertical brancards and a sapphire cabochon, the tank has been a Cartier staple since its conception in 1917.
  • Santos de Cartier – One of the first pilot watches, Cartier designed the Santos de Cartier in 1904 for his high-flying friend Alberto Santos-Dumont to combat the inconvenience and danger of using a pocketwatch mid-flight.  Distinguished by its geometric dial, harmoniously curved horns, and signature exposed screws, the Santos de Cartier is considered one of the most collectible of Cartier’s watches.
  • Ballon de Cartier – Introduced in 2007, the Ballon de Cartier collection is young, but has taken hold in refined society. Luminaries such as Kate Middleton are even known to favor it. Immediately distinguishable by the blue bubble of the winding crown, the Ballon also features a round sculptural case and polished bracelet. It’s a modern style sure to hold great value for many years to come.
  • Pasha de Cartier – Ever since its introduction in 1985, the Pasha de Cartier has been an eye-catching style that attracts those with a slightly offbeat aesthetic. Marked by its rounded case, large bevel, and screw-down crown on chain design, the Pasha will continue to be valuable to those attracted to making a statement.
  • Panthere de Cartier – The panther is an image that has been associated with Cartier since the early 1900s. Evocative of wild and elegant figure, the Panthere de Cartier was launched in 1983 and is as much a piece of jewelry as it is a timepiece. The use of gold, diamonds, and gemstones in Panthere de Cartier makes it a style sure to hold value.
  • Calibre de Cartier – As a fun bonus, let’s also touch on the Calibre de Cartier. Introduced in 2010, this is a more masculine, sporty style watch and has actually been discontinued by Cartier. While some may take this discontinuation as a bad sign, it may also create a scarcity over time of the Calibre de Cartier which could increase its value over time. If you have or come across a Calibre de Cartier, this could be something to keep in mind.

  • Find Your Cartier at CJ Charles

    While we’ve talked a lot about the monetary value of Cartier watches, there’s another value worth touching on: their value to you. A watch can be viewed as simply a functional timepiece, but it’s also something we wear every day. It’s an extension of ourselves and an expression of our style. In that way, the ultimate value of any watch may go beyond the simply monetary and become something much more personal.

    To find that personal connection, it helps to be able to talk to experts and let them guide you to the watch that best suits you. At CJ Charles, our experts are ready to help you through the process of finding the perfect watch. We know a watch has more value than just its price and we’re happy to find you the Cartier watch that will be most valuable to you.


    Sources: 

    1. Gentleman’s Journal. A brief history of Cartier. https://www.thegentlemansjournal.com/a-brief-history-of-cartier/ 
    2. Forbes. The World’s Most Valuable Brands. https://www.forbes.com/the-worlds-most-valuable-brands/#32870b3f119c 
    3. Watches Guild. Which Cartier watches hold their value? https://www.watchesguild.com/articles/cartier-holding-value 
    4. Rescapement. 5 of the most expensive vintage Cartiers ever sold at auction. https://sub.rescapement.com/p/5-of-the-most-expensive-vintage-cartiers 
    5. Cartier. All Collections. https://www.cartier.com/en-us/watches/all-collections/ 

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