From Heritage to Haute Horlogerie: The Allure of Vintage Cartier Watches

Vintage models are highly coveted in the world of watches. After all, you are buying a watch and a piece of history. Old Cartier wristwatch models, in particular, have many followers, as they combine a fascinating background with a design that is still current. They allow us to wear one of the milestones in the history of watchmaking on our wrist. Whether it is the first pilot’s watch or Jackie Kennedy’s model, Cartier brings together numerous historical milestones that continue to impress us with their timeless design.

Luxury Watches and Their Old Variants

Before looking at vintage Cartier models, we should clarify what we consider a “vintage” watch. There is no unitary definition for this term. Most collectors classify a watch as “vintage” when it is at least 20 or 30 years old. Sometimes, 1990 is established as the limit for its construction, although the strictest vintage enthusiasts and lovers point to 1980 for this definition. While some people prefer newer models because they can be purchased at lower prices and in better condition, others believe that only truly old models exude that characteristic vintage charm. The rarity of specific models makes them even more coveted, and in those cases, higher prices or worse conditions are also welcomed. Which definition of “vintage watch” you want to use is up to you. As long as it reflects your style and your passion for vintage watches, it will be correct.

Cartier: A House With A Long History

For a long time, Cartier was known as the king of jewellers and the jeweller of kings. Under the leadership of Cyrille Vigneron, however, the brand returned to focusing more on its classic watches. Suddenly, Tank, Santos, Ballon Bleu, and many others were back in the spotlight. Demand for these specimens quickly grew, and production figures increased rapidly. Today, there are around 600,000 watches made a year. With today’s growing interest, more watch enthusiasts are looking back to examine Cartier’s past as a watch brand: the world’s first pilot’s watch, the first square watch, and many, many more. Cartier has made history more than once. And, for all those who not only explore them in theory but also want to put them into practice, antique watches are fascinating. Whether looking at a women’s model from yesteryear or a men’s classic, the Cartier range is impressive.

The Vintage Cartier Tank

Cartier’s best-known model is the Tank. Today, we can barely imagine the revolution that its square design represented at the time of its launch back in 1917. Despite the commotion it caused, it soon won the public’s favour and began a triumphant march that continues to this day. And, since it has already enjoyed sustained popularity for more than one hundred years, it has accumulated numerous memorable appearances in films and on the wrists of famous people. The Tank has been frequently seen on the big screen. Today, the antique gold Tank Française worn by Lady Di is in high demand among women. The same goes for the classic Cartier Tank worn by Jacky Kennedy Onassis—the original copy sold for $379,500 (about €338,000). Women will have an especially tough time choosing, as the selection of vintage Cartier Tank models is practically endless.

The Vintage Cartier Tank Was Worn By Famous Woman

But this model does not leave men aside either. For them, the Cartier Tank Cintrée is, without a doubt, the most exciting variant. This watch, which debuted in 1919, was never in mass production. Perhaps this is because, with its relatively generous dimensions, it was ahead of its time. With a length of 44.7 mm, it is still huge for a dress watch today. Its elegance, however, comes from its perfect proportions. This model also has a slight curvature, which fits the wrist ideally. Watch fans looking for a different and unique piece could find the object of their desire in a vintage Tank Cintrée.

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