12/06/2022
 7 minutes

A Brand on the Rise: Cartier’s Collections and Models

By Jorg Weppelink
Cartier-Reference-Guide–2-1
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Cartier is hot property in the watch world! There is no denying that Cartier has been making waves in the past few years for a host of different reasons. This has led to an incredible rise in popularity with a wider and younger crowd. As a brand, Cartier is watch royalty. The Parisian manufacturer, founded in 1847, has catered to royalty and other elites around the world since its very beginnings. This exclusive set of clientele has resulted in the brand becoming one of the most well-known and well-respected luxury brands ever.  

In the wake of its recent rise in popularity, we’ve seen many new Cartier watch models get introduced. The current portfolio is an extensive range, with plenty to offer anyone interested in the brand. The only question that remains is: Which one to pick? With that in mind, we’ve created an overview of the most important Cartier lines from the brand’s current lineup.   

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier 

The Cartier Tank is without a doubt the brand’s most iconic collection. There are plenty of different Tank models to choose from, but the most famous is definitely the Tank Louis Cartier. Originally introduced in 1922, the Louis Cartier has become the “standard” Tank. The watch is available in a number of different versions, including mechanical or quartz, small or large, and with a rose or yellow gold case.  

Things get interesting when you look at the different dial options. Obviously, there’s the “standard” model with a silvered dial, blue hands, and Roman numerals, but Cartier added a number of magnificent new models to the lineup earlier this year. The most eye-catching is the model with a yellow gold case and hands, black leather strap, and black dial featuring a gold “Cartier” inscription. The duo of models with a red or anthracite gray dial also look spectacular.  

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Cartier Tank Must 

If you aren’t looking for a precious metal watch, the Tank Must collection is the way to go. Although it slightly differs from the Tank Louis Cartier, this model still boasts all of the collection’s most characteristic design features. The Tank Must is available in different sizes, but they’re all in stainless steel. The case material is specific to the Must line, which was first introduced in 1977. Prior to that, Cartier had only produced watches in precious metals. As for dial options, the Tank Must comes with a classic silvered dial featuring Roman numerals and, since last year, a very colorful monochromatic trio in red, green, or blue. This year, Cartier introduced an all-black version that looks absolutely amazing. In addition to quartz and automatic Tank Must models, Cartier offers this timepiece with the brand’s solar-powered SolarBeat™ movement. It has proven to be a great success, attracting an even bigger crowd to the brand. 

Cartier Tank Must
Cartier Tank Must

Cartier Santos 

While the Tank may be the most iconic Cartier collection, the Cartier Santos is the brand’s oldest. First introduced in 1904, this watch was created after Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont asked for a timepiece he could use in the cockpit of airplanes – a situation ill-suited for pocket watches. The answer was the Santos, a watch that remains an important part of the Cartier collection to this day. Similar to the Tank, the Santos comes in several different versions, but the watch’s square design is very different from that of the sleeker Tank. The most important model is the standard Santos, which comes in a wide variety of different sizes and executions. 

Cartier offers the Santos in stainless steel, stainless steel black ADLC, a two-tone combination of yellow gold and steel, solid yellow gold, and solid rose gold. The watch is characterized by its bezel shape; though it used to be square, the bezel was updated in 2018 to a bezel that flows nicely into the integrated bracelet. In addition to time-only and time and date models, there is also a chronograph version and a series of skeletonized models that successfully combine classic and modern looks. The Santos collection has become one of the most extensive and versatile of the brand.

Cartier Santos-Dumont
Cartier Santos-Dumont

Cartier Santos-Dumont 

If you’d like your bezel to be square, there’s no need to worry; you can always opt for the Cartier Santos-Dumont named after the famous aviator. This watch’s case shape differs slightly from that of the regular Santos. Moreover, the bezel is square and quite a bit thinner. The dial of the Santos-Dumont also has a more classic feel, with thinner Roman numerals. The Santos-Dumont comes in small and large case sizes in steel, steel and gold, yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum.  

Unlike the regular Santos, which comes on a bracelet or leather strap, the Santos-Dumont is only available on a leather strap. Combined with the more classic dial design, this makes the Santos-Dumont a line for people who love traditional timepieces. Earlier this year, Cartier introduced what I think is the best Santos-Dumont yet. It’s part of a series of limited editions that all feature lacquered bezels. The rose gold model with a beige lacquered bezel and beige dial is an absolute stunner with a limited run of 250 pieces. Not only does this version showcase the model’s great iconic design, but it also adds a ton of creative flair to the watch.  

Cartier Ballon Bleu 

Another popular collection is the Ballon Bleu. Surprisingly, the first Ballon Bleu models weren’t introduced until 2007, making the collection comparatively young. Nevertheless, the Ballon Bleu proved to be a big commercial success right out of the gate. Unlike the Santos and Tank lines, the Ballon Bleu is less popular with hardcore watch enthusiasts, but it does make a perfect style statement. The Ballon Bleu is available in 28, 33, 36, and 42 mm sizes, and last year the brand added a 40-mm version powered by the automatic in-house caliber 1847 MC to the mix, which certainly appeals to more serious watch fans. 

In addition to being the perfect size for many wrists, the Ballon Bleu is unique in Cartier’s portfolio. The round case shape paired with a brilliant round dial featuring Roman numerals in a circle looks fantastic. Add in the crown with its “ballon bleu” and the brilliant crown protector, and you’ll soon learn that there is more to the Ballon Bleu than just a pleasing round shape. The model comes in a series of different materials, ranging from yellow and rose gold to stainless steel. Additionally, there is a wide array of different dial colors available, some of which are set with diamonds. All in all, these options make the Ballon Bleu the most extensive current Cartier collection.  

Cartier Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon
Cartier Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon

Cartier Pasha 

Another instantly recognizable model is the Cartier Pasha. Earlier this year, the brand introduced a completely new line of Pasha models. The Pasha was first introduced in 1985 and was designed by none other than world-famous watch designer Gérald Genta, the man behind the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. Over 35 years later, the Pasha is still characterized by its round case with Vendôme lugs and square 3, 6, 9, 12 dial layout.  

Variants with the famous grille immediately stand out from the rest of the collection, but there is a wide variety of models available in different sizes and executions. From stainless steel to gold, chronographs to skeletonized versions, the Pasha collection is as diverse as it gets. The watches are powered by either automatic or quartz movements, and if you like a bit of bling, there are versions with diamonds available that emphasize the model’s brilliance. 

Cartier Pasha
Cartier Pasha

Cartier Privé 

Another collection I want to touch upon is the brilliant Privé line. Limited-edition Privé models perfectly demonstrate the incredible depth, variation, and creativity of Cartier watches throughout the decades. Every year, Cartier adds a select number of models to the Privé collection, all of which bring back styles from the past. These watches offer a good glance at the rich history of the brand.  

Tank Chinoise 

This year, Cartier introduced the Cartier Tank Chinoise series, which is based on a classic from 1922. Back then, there was a lot of interest in East Asian decorative arts throughout Europe, which inspired Cartier to create a special version of their Tank. The biggest difference between this model and the standard one is the shape of the brancards on the side of the case. Eighty years later, in 2022, Cartier brought back this classic with an updated case design that perfectly shows the brilliance of the Tank Chinoise. If you’d like something truly extravagant, check out the skeletonized versions that incorporate the design of traditional Chinese windows and look amazing. 

Cartier Tank Chinoise
Cartier Tank Chinoise

Cloche De Cartier 

The Tank Chinoise is just one of many brilliant series in the Privé collection. Last year, Cartier reintroduced the brilliant Cloche De Cartier with its bell-shaped case that can be turned 90 degrees counterclockwise for use on a nightstand or desk, allowing you to read the time like you would from a clock. Yet another brilliant series is the Tank Asymétrique, modeled after a classic from the 1930s. This chic style statement features a unique take on the Tank case inspired by the idea that when you raise your wrist to read the time, it’s always at an angle. With the Tank Asymétrique, the brand wanted to create a stylish watch that also makes reading the time easier – yet further proof of Cartier pushing the boundaries of creativity in watch design. 

Cartier Cloche De Cartier
Cartier Cloche De Cartier

This is just a small cross-section of the extensive Cartier portfolio. We haven’t even discussed the Panthère de Cartier, Ronde, Baignoire, Coussin, Tortue, or Maillon de Cartier collections, each of which adds to the unique overall character of the Cartier brand that so many people love. Given its current rising popularity, I have no doubt that we’ll see Cartier release many more beautiful timepieces that further strengthen the brand’s position in the industry.  


About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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