The Ballon Bleu de Cartier, with its pebble-like features, is a charmingly simple yet elegant watch that subverts all the watchmaking rules. And yet, with all its insurgent design concepts, the Ballon Bleu hits all the right chords of a timeless watch able to keep up with the modern trends.
Ballon Bleu de Cartier: Your Favorite Luxury Bubble
The Ballon Bleu de Cartier, the ultimate ‘it’ watch, seemingly veered away from the watchmaking codes and created its own. It is most iconic for two reasons: size and design blueprint.
In terms of size, it sits on the extremes. Starting from a petite 28mm, it certainly targets the delicate female wrist. It can also go as wide as 46mm which appeals to men who prefer larger watches. For this reason, this iconic watch from Cartier becomes a unisex watch appealing to ladies and gents alike.
Its design blueprint is also highly unconventional. The curvaceous ergonomic silhouette, carved dial, distorted numeral markers, sloping crown, and finally, a round-shape case with a domed bezel — these are details that even the most stalwart watchmaking brands couldn’t somehow perfect. Sure, other Cartier watches like the Cartier Santos-Dumont and Cartier Tank have made waves in the horological world, but the sculptural case of the Ballon Bleu that instinctively curves to adapt to the wearer’s wrist was an instant hit.
Prices at a Glance: The Most Popular Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watches
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W69010Z4
28mm, Cartier Calibre 057 quartz movement, steel case, fluted crown set with a synthetic spinel cabochon, silvered opaline dial, Roman numerals, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet, water-resistant to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WSBB0002
33mm, self-winding mechanical movement, steel case, fluted crown set with a synthetic cabochon-shaped spinel, pink dial, Roman numerals, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, pink alligator skin strap, double adjustable folding steel buckle, water-resistant up to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W6920085
33mm, mechanical movement with automatic winding, steel case, fluted crown decorated with a synthetic spinel cabochon, silvered guilloché opaline dial, Roman numerals, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, alligator-skin strap, double adjustable folding steel buckle, water-resistant up to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W6920100
33mm, mechanical movement with automatic winding, steel case, fluted crown set with a synthetic cabochon-shaped spinel, pink dial, Roman numerals, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet, water-resistant up to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WE902073
28mm quartz movement, steel case, fluted crown set with a synthetic spinel cabochon, sapphire crystal, 12 zones flinqué dial, silvered with sunray finish and lacquer, set with 11 brilliant-cut diamonds, blued steel sword-shaped hands, steel bracelet, water-resistant up to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W69012Z4
42mm, mechanical movement with automatic winding, steel case, fluted crown decorated with a synthetic spinel cabochon, silvered guilloché dial, Roman numerals, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet, calendar aperture at 3 o'clock, water-resistant to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W4BB0020
33mm, quartz movement, steel case, fluted crown set with a synthetic cabochon spinel. 12-zone flinqué dial, silvered lacquered sunray effect, set with 11 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 0.05 carat, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet. Water-resistant up to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WE902074
33mm, mechanical movement, steel case, fluted crown set with a synthetic spinel cabochon, sapphire crystal, 12 zones flinqué dial, silvered with sunray finish and lacquer, set with 11 brilliant-cut diamonds, blued steel sword-shaped hands, steel bracelet, automatic winding caliber Cartier 076, water-resistant up to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WSBB0021
37mm, mechanical movement with automatic winding, moon phases. Case in steel. Silvered flinqué dial, Roman numerals, moon phases at 9 o'clock, blued steel sword-shaped hands. Sapphire crystal, steel bracelet, 180 mm wrist circumference, water-resistant to 30m
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W4BB0015
28mm, quartz movement, steel case and steel fluted crown set with a synthetic cabochon-shaped spinel. Steel bezel set with 42 diamonds totaling 0.52 carats, Opaline dial, blued steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet. Water-resistant to 30m
How much does a Ballon Bleu de Cartier cost?
Cartier Ballon Bleu watches, said to be the only collection that sells more than other watchmaking brands’ collections combined, has a price range between $4,500 USD and $200,000+ USD.
Prices for the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Basic Models
At the lowest price range, you can already get a Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W69010Z4, a 29mm quartz watch with the in-house Calibre 057 movement, retailing at $4,650 USD. Crafted from stainless steel, this ladies’ watch is a simple classic piece stripped of embellishments but focused more on its utilitarian function.
Retailing at $6,050 USD, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W69016Z4 is a 42mm stainless steel combining Ballon Bleu’s signature design, date window at 3 o’clock, with alligator-skin strap and steel buckle. It powers on the Calibre 049 automatic winding mechanical movement.
Prices for the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Colorful Models
For the ladies who love pink, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WSBB0002with a rosy pink dial face, and pink alligator skin strap surely speak volumes. Priced at $4,999 USD, this is a 33mm automatic watch that runs on the Calibre 076. For a subdued version of the pink dial, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. W6920100 comes with a stainless steel bracelet and costs about $6,000 USD.
For the gents who would consider a laid-back wristwatch, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WSBB0036 retailing at $15,800 USD, is definitely eye-catching with a 42mm rose gold case and a blue alligator leather strap that will surely look good in a blue suit. Steel sword-shaped hands and Roman numeral hour markers rests perfectly on the navy blue dial. It powers on the Cartier Caliber 1847.
Prices for the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Moonphase Watches
Cartier had always kept their watches simple and uncluttered. While it never fully refrained from adding more complications, it just meant that it will have to remove elements in the dial to make space for some more. Take, for example, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WSBB0020 with a moon phase replacing the 9 o’clock hour marker. This 37mm automatic steel watch strapped with blue alligator leather skin retails at $7,719 USD. The same moon phase function can be seen in the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WSBB0021, a stainless steel case automatic watch in 37mm, retailing at $8,244 USD.
Prices for the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Tourbillon Watches
Adding more complications in the watch, you have the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Ref. W6920105, a 39mm operating on mechanical movement with a manual winding Caliber 9452. The Flying Tourbillon complication, revealed on the dial, has a c-shaped tourbillon carriage. Around it is an openwork design framed with a satin finish cartouche to indicate the minutes. With a whopping price of approximately $89,220 USD, this exquisite watch is a collector’s must-have.
Prices for the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Diamond-Studded Series
Lastly, the Ballon bleu de Cartier Ref. WE902055 retailing at $14,400 USDis an ultra-thin hand-wound Caliber 430 mechanical movement in 18K pink gold and diamond case.With the same price, you can get the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. WE902056, which comes in a white gold case.The silver dial beautifully highlights the blued steel hands and magnified-like Roman numeral indexes.
Vintage Ballon Bleu de Cartier — Is it a good investment?
Watches from respected brands increase value as they become difficult to find. Even more with the French Design house Cartier who buys back their pieces, and only puts them in exhibits for the public to enjoy. Because of this, pre-owned Cartier watches, especially the ones with the original packaging and paperwork, are known to gain an astronomical value from its original price.
Yellow gold watches, as well as those with diamonds and gemstones, ideally sell more. Like many Cartier watches with diamonds, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Ref. HPI00582 and Ref. HPI00489 now retail at $203,000 USD and $146,000 USD, respectively. The first is a 42mm mechanical watch with automatic winding Caliber 1847. The case, dial, and bracelet are all covered in 1,640 brilliant cut diamonds. The second is a rhodium-finished white gold case, diamond-studded dial, and bracelet, which runs on the automatic winding in-house caliber 1847 movement.
History Behind the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watch
No other watchmaking brand has mastered the round shaped-cases than Cartier. Though it had watches with round cases prior to the Ballon Bleu, when the collection premiered in 2007, it was an instant success appealing to a broader audience. Reminiscent of a pebble, the doubly convex round case — a redefined concept of roundness, almost got an irresistible characteristic.
Two things worth noting about this watch are its dial and the emblematic deep blue sapphire cabochon crown. Manufactured in 15 stages, the dial features a silver opaline face, carved or distorted almost as if to make space for the winding crown. Adding Cartier’s signature, the winding crown is a deep blue sapphire cabochon. The gemstone, in Cartier’s words, is ‘nestled’ on a metal hoop on the right side of the watch, another interpretation of its emblematic panther, where the crown guard represents the panther’s claws clawing over the gem.
Though constantly being reinvented, there weren't any significant changes in the original design. All current models feature the same protected crown and denting style as with all Ballon Bleu watches. Just recently, it has released the latest size addition in 40mm powered by the automatic winding in-house Calibre 1847, with hours, minutes, seconds, and date functions.
Reasons to Buy a Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watch
Aside from the intrinsic value of a luxury watch, you want one that you actually enjoy wearing. As Cartier Ballon Bleu watches are crafted from stainless steel, you know that it will endure trends both in quality and design features.
And as with all of Cartier watches, while they seem like a classic timeless watch at first glance, Cartier’s interest in geometric shapes gives a unique flair to every single collection. In Ballon Bleu’s case, the dial is given an interesting convex shape. It is carved in at 3 o’clock, resulting in an effect of the hour markers being moved — almost as if the numerals were there first, with the crown later inserted, distorting its shape. Even the crown guard doesn’t fall short in keeping up with this unconventional blueprint of the watch. It slopes over the crown, giving the watch a curious slight dent in shape.
Apart from having a top-selling reliable watch from a stalwart brand, getting a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch means that you get a timeless piece, the same one found on the wrist of many well-known personalities. It can be worn both as a casual, sporty, or dressy accessory. And finally, in its overall look and presence, it passes the classic and modern trends.
Famous Patrons of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watch
Cartier has a reputation of producing exclusive sets to the aristocrat families. The Prince of Wales himself, who would later be Edward VII, has a famous quote referring to Cartier as “the King of Jewellers, the Jeweller to Kings”. That said, it is not surprising to see the British royal family wearing Cartier watches. The Ballon Bleu, in particular, is a modest piece and yet it passes the standards of even the Royals.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, known for her timeless style, loves wearing a Cartier Ballon Bleu with several outfits whether it is a formal blue dress for a Royal tour, or a casual polo outfit. Kate wears the 33mm stainless steel version with a silvered opaline dial. Her sister, Pippa Middleton, wears a more striking diamond-studded 18K rose gold.
Many Hollywood celebrities are also a fan of this collection. Johnny Depp wears the Extra-Flat Ballon Bleu white gold with a leather strap. The Ballon Bleu has also been spotted on the wrist of the most fashion-forward female celebrities, like Sofia Vergara, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Rachel Zoe. All expertly match their outfits with this classic timepiece whether it be a walk on the street, or the red carpet.
Ballon Bleu de Cartier: An Iconic Unisex Timepiece
Expertly crafted, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier is a fine timepiece with the most ethereal charm. It fits Cartier’s watchmaking codes of timeless harmonious design, all while creating a blueprint of its own.