Cartier was established in 1847 when Louis Francois Cartier took over his mentor’s Paris jewellery work shop, which was located on 29 Rue Montorgueil.
55 years later, Cartier was then crowned as the “Jeweller of Kings and the King of Jewellers” by the future King Edward VII, who was the Prince of Wales at the time. The royal endorsement was the start of an association between the French luxury watchmaker and European Royalty, and it is a fruitful relationship that exists to this very day.
Noted for their elegant and innovative timepieces, Cartier was the first watchmaker to design and implement miniature movements in the 1920s, a feat that is now considered to be a landmark in the progression of the wristwatch.
More than 150 years after its founding, Cartier maintains and continues the notable legacy that has gone before it. They are still producing updated generations of some of the world’s most recognisable and sought-after watches, including the Tank, Pasha, Santos and the Baignoire.
The heritage and the luxurious nature of the watches produced by Cartier are reflected in their price, and this week’s blog will cover the most expensive timepieces ever to be produced by the French jeweller.
With only 15 being produced, this 43mm watch is highly sought after by Cartier collectors and admirers. Presented in a refined transparent case back, the case is 10.7mm thick and is complimented with a black alligator leather strap.
The face of this high complication watch is the star of the piece, as it features a black and guilloche dial that is pleasant and interesting to look at. Roman numerals run along the outer edge of the dial, and blue apple-shaped hands increase legibility.
The Tortue Platinum Watch is also incredibly functional, with the Cartier wristwatch boasting a perpetual calendar, a chronograph and a power reserve indicator. There are also three subdials, which can be observed at 12, 3 and 6 o’clock.
The dial is finished in a tasteful manner, with the impressive tourbillon visible at 9 o’clock. The watch houses a manually wound Cartier movement, and it is water resistant up to a depth of 30m.
The second most expensive Cartier watch is this large 46mm Ballon Bleu, and its size means that it has a commanding presence on the wearer’s wrist. Again, the case back is transparent, and it measures at 13mm thick.
The dial of this diamond timepiece is slate grey with a sun satin finished grid. In typical Cartier fashion, the hours are represented by Roman numerals, and this striking dial is finished with hands that are reminiscent of swords.
Housed in the case is a manually wound numbered movement, which is Geneva Hallmark certified.
The watch has a power reserve of 50 hours. Both the watch itself and its bracelet are set with baguette diamonds, which adds value to the Cartier wristwatch as well as completing its tasteful aesthetics.
At first glance, it may be difficult to see why this item has been included in our list of most expensive Cartier watches, but if you look closely enough you will see that there is a watch face amongst all the diamonds, perhaps leading to the “Secret” name.
Shaped like a phoenix, Cartier only produced one of these Décor watches. However, it is not only due to its scarcity that this watch is so valuable. The watch is made out of 18 carats white gold, and it has been plated with the precious metal rhodium.
The eyes of the Phoenix are made from emeralds, and the whole item features pear-shaped and portrait-cut diamonds that weigh 3.53 carats. In fact, the entire watch is covered by 3010 brilliant-cut diamonds, meaning that the combined weight is an amazing 80.13 carats. The watch is now the centre piece of the collection of Merveilles du Nil de Cartier.