Written By: Vahid Moradi
When trying to find the best watches for women, there’s one brand that stands out among the rest: Cartier. With elegant and graceful designs containing luxurious materials like white gold or diamond, Cartier watches are consistently at the forefront of women’s fine jewelry fashion.
But what is the best Cartier watch for ladies and do Cartier watches hold their value?
Because everyone has their own unique style and tastes, the best Cartier watch for women will vary depending on the individual. However, the more you know about each Cartier watch, the better equipped you’ll be to find the watch best suited for you or the special person in your life. This guide will go beyond merely looking for the most popular Cartier watch for ladies and provide information on many of their top styles so you can compare and find the perfect Cartier timepiece.
A Brief History of Cartier
Before going into specific watch styles, such as the Cartier tank watch or Panthère de Cartier, it’s worth knowing a little bit about the Cartier brand itself. Back in 1847 in Paris, Cartier the brand was founded by Cartier the person. Louis-Francois Cartier founded the iconic brand when he took over his master’s workshop. Slightly over a decade later, in 1859, he was able to open his first boutique in Paris.1 From that day on, Cartier became synonymous with an open-minded, curious style of beauty that took inspiration from sometimes unlikely places.2
By the early 20th century, under the auspices of Cartier’s heirs, the brand expanded to London and New York where it solidified its reputation for elegance and high-end beauty. To this day, Cartier is known throughout the world for its superior watchmaking and elegant and eye-catching designs.3
Best Styles of Cartier Watches for Women
Cartier is a luxury watch brand that boasts an unparalleled combination of form and function. It’s impossible to choose the wrong style of Cartier watch, however, it’s still important to find the style in the sea of Cartier pieces that speaks to you or the special person in your life.
To help with that quest, let’s look at some of the most popular Cartier watches for ladies.
Renault tanks used on the western front in World War I may seem an odd place to find inspiration for a ladies’ wristwatch, and yet that’s exactly where Cartier found his inspiration for one of the brand’s most popular watches, the Cartier Tank.4 It was created in 1917, first introduced in 1918, and entered full production in 1919. In fact, the prototype of the Cartier Tank was presented to General John Pershing.
The key features of a Cartier Tank (and how to tell if a Cartier watch is real) include:
- Flat, vertical sidebars (known as brancards) which integrate seamlessly with the watch’s strap.
- A rectangular shape that exudes a sense of seriousness and professionalism.
- Bold roman numerals which make up the dial.
- Blue steel hands which are shaped like miniature swords.
- A sapphire cabochon surmounted crown.
Celebrities who have worn Cartier Tank watches include:
- Jaqueline Kennedy
- Princess Diana
- Yves Saint Laurent
- Kate Middleton
Cartier Tank Price Range
Most Cartier Tank watches will fall between a range of $2,944 - $11,303 at a Cartier authorized dealer55. The Cartier Tank is probably the most popular Cartier timepiece for ladies, but depending on the specific iteration of watch you opt for, the price may vary greatly.
Ballon de Cartier
Compared to the Cartier Tank the Ballon Bleu de Cartier is a baby, having only been introduced in 2007. Despite its relatively young age, the design of the Ballon Bleu feels both modern and timeless. A unisex design that works equally well for men or women and imparts the sense of the watch almost defying gravity in an ethereal way.
Defining features of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier include:6
- A round case.
- A blue bubble that marks the winding crown.
- Roman numerals at the hour markers that adorn the face.
Celebrities who have worn Ballon Bleu de Cartier watches:7
- Kate Middleton
- Sofia Vergara
- Jennifer Love Hewitt
Ballon de Cartier Price Range
Most will fall between the range of $3,859 - $19,729.8 The Ballon Bleu de Cartier also has a large price range that starts slightly higher than the Cartier Tank.
Santos de Cartier
The Santos de Cartier is yet another iconic style of the Cartier watch brand, but it’s one that came from humble beginnings. Louis Cartier designed this watch as a favor to his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont who was a Brazilian aviation pioneer. He came to Cartier because he was finding it both impractical and dangerous to use a pocket watch during his aviation field tests. Cartier took on his friend’s request and soon enough, had designed the world’s first pilot’s watch.
Originally designed in 1904, the Santos de Cartier luxury watch was officially named and launched in 1911.
While the Santos de Cartier comes in varieties for men or women, its popularity can be linked to its initial use for men. Since most men wore pocket watches in the early 1900s, it was immediately noticed when Santos-Dumont started wearing his Cartier watch on his wrist, leading to a surge in popularity for the Cartier Santos.
Defining features of this iconic watch include:9
- A geometric dial with the hour markers split evenly between four different quadrants.
- A rounded square case that surrounds the dial, giving off a sturdy, yet soft look.
Signature exposed screws around the case.
Celebrities that wear Santos de Cartier include:10
- Kourtney Kardashian
- Sonam Kapoor
- Leighton Meester
Santos de Cartier Price Range
The Santos de Cartier is likely the second most popular brand of Cartier watch behind the Cartier Tank. Its price range is likely to fall between $4,332 and $11,120.11
Pasha de Cartier
The Pasha de Cartier is not your typical Cartier watch. Introduced in 1985, it breaks the mold with its round design, Arabic numerals, beautiful movement, and screw-down crown on a chain design. The Cartier Pasha is a luxury watch style that amplifies uniqueness and modernity in a regal package.
For a little background on this piece’s namesake, “pasha” is a title given to officials in the Ottoman Empire (it can be thought of like the title of Knight in the United Kingdom). The Pasha de Cartier was named in tribute to the Pasha of Marrakesh, who was a lifelong customer of Cartier. While introduced in 1985, the design was based on a prototype that dated back to 1943. Initial designs of the Pasha de Cartier included a “square-inside-a-circle” element as the dial displayed a square filigree rail track. This element continues even in some of the modern designs.
Today, the Pasha de Cartier’s defining features include:12
- Three stylized Arabic numerals as hour markers.
- A rounded case and large bevel.
- The screw-down crown on a chain design.
In newer models: a crown embedded with two sapphire cabochons.
Celebrities that wear Pasha de Cartier include:
- Willow Smith
- Maisie Williams
Pasha de Cartier Price Range
Perhaps the largest price range of any of the Cartier fine watches, the Pasha de Cartier can range anywhere from under $6,500 to over $142,000.13
Panthere de Cartier
Cartier blurs the line between a practical timepiece and an exquisite piece of jewelry. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Panthere de Cartier collection. Adorned with yellow gold, diamonds, and gemstones, a Panthere de Cartier watch is a luxury item suited for the most refined tastes.
Despite being designed for women, famous men including Keith Richards and Pierce Brosnan were seen wearing Pathere de Cartier watches.
Some defining features include:14
- A square case with elongated lugs.
- A square bezel with eight exposed screws.
- Roman numeral hour markers.
- Blue sword-shaped hands.
Rail-track detail at the center of the face.
Celebrities who have worn the Panthere de Cartier:
- Gwenyth Paltrow
- Sienna Miller
Panthere de Cartier Price Range
While this is an elegant piece with many high-end varieties, there are also more affordable pre owned watches (keep link) that maintain the same high-quality design elements. Prices range from under $3,350 to over $25,700.15
Cartier Watches at CJ Charles
As you can see, there are many different styles of Cartier watches for women so that you are sure to be able to find one that complements your style. Whether you are more of a traditionalist or someone more accustomed to breaking the mold, Cartier will have a timepiece that fits your personality.
Like Cartier, CJ Charles is an institution. Since 1986, when we opened our first store in La Jolla, we have been serving Californians as the place to find luxury watches, fine jewelry, and diamonds. So when you’re ready to find the best Cartier watch for ladies, CJ Charles is the place to go.
In addition to our website, we have two locations you can visit: our flagship location in La Jolla and our new location in University Town Center at Westfield UTC Mall. We’d be happy to see you and help you find the wristwatch fit for your fantasies.
Written By: Vahid Morai
Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.
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- Cartier. About Cartier. https://www.careers.cartier.com/en/about-cartier
- Sotheby’s. The Unusual History of the Cartier Crash. https://www.sothebys.com/en/articles/the-unusual-history-of-the-cartier-crash
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- Fame Watcher. Celebrities Wearing Cartier Watch: Women’s Edition. https://famewatcher.com/celebrities-wearing-cartier-watch-women-edition.html
- WatchCharts. Cartier Santos. https://watchcharts.com/watches/brand/cartier/santos
- Vogue. Everything you need to know about the Pasha de Cartier watch. https://vogue.sg/everything-to-know-about-pasha-de-cartier-watch-full-collection/
- Cartier. Pasha de Cartier. https://www.cartier.com/en-us/watches/all-collections/pasha-de-cartier/
- Fortuna. Origin of the Cartier Panthère. https://www.fortunaauction.com/cartier-panthere-history/
- Cartier. Panthere de Cartier. https://www.cartier.com/en-us/watches/womens-watches/panthere-de-cartier/