Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

Thread: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

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  1. #1
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    Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Hi everyone! I stumbled upon these forums while researching my first watch & hope you guys could give me some advice.

    A little background information - I'm 25 and this is my first time buying a watch, I'm a complete newbie so have been choosing them more or less based on design. Looking for something around £5k, must have automatic movement, round face, noon-leather bracelet and I guess around 35mm size (my wrist measures 14.5cm and I like larger watches).

    So far Cartier's medium 2 tone Ballon Bleu fits the description because I like its big face & clean design. Not as keen on the stainless steel version however, it's not as colourful as 2 tone.

    How well do Cartier timepieces generally hold up? Will the Ballon Bleu look dated in a few years?

    I read that apparently Cartier's watch movement isn't as good as that in brands such as Rolex; does this mean Cartier is generally inferior to Rolex?

    I've also had a look at a few similarly priced Rolex, but imo they tend to look very masculine and have far too many dials. I'm after a good looking (though not too blingy), durable, everyday watch that I will love to wear for years to come.

    Any other recommendations welcome! Thank you
    Last edited by chocfish; December 7th, 2011 at 16:26.

  2. #2
    Member iim7v7im7's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Hi,

    A 14.5 cm wrist size is quite modest, so I would suggest some modest sized watches by today's standards. It would be helpful to know which size BB you were interested in ( there are 3 sizes). Also, what features are you interested in (automatic, manual, date, dial color, roman, Arabic or markers, display back etc.). Once you provide this there are a number of 36-39 mm watches that I might suggest.



    Bob

    Quote Originally Posted by chocfish View Post
    Hi everyone! I stumbled upon these forums while researching my first watch & hope you guys could give me some advice.

    A little background information - I'm 25 and this is my first time buying a watch, I'm a complete newbie so have been choosing them more or less based on design. Looking for something around £5k, must have automatic movement, round face, noon-leather bracelet and I guess around 35mm size (my wrist measures 14.5cm and I like larger watches).

    So far Cartier's medium 2 tone Ballon Bleu fits the description because I like its big face & clean design. Not as keen on the stainless steel version however, it's not as colourful as 2 tone.

    How well do Cartier timepieces generally hold up? Will the Ballon Bleu look dated in a few years?

    I read that apparently Cartier's watch movement isn't as good as that in brands such as Rolex; does this mean Cartier is generally inferior to Rolex?

    I've also had a look at a few similarly priced Rolex, but imo they tend to look very masculine and have far too many dials. I'm after a good looking (though not too blingy), durable, everyday watch that I will love to wear for years to come.

    Any other recommendations welcome! Thank you
    __________________________________________________ __________________

    AUDEMARS PIGUET | BLANCPAIN | DAMASKO | GRAND SEIKO | ROLEX

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    I was looking at the medium BB which is 36.6mm; something around this size would be ideal I think. The typical "ladies" sizes are too dainty for my liking. My wrist is approx 48mms across so the big size BB at 42.1mm will probably look too big.

    Needs to be automatic, have a round face (don't like square/rectangular watches), non leather bracelet.
    Date/dial colour - not too bothered
    Prefer roman over arabic numbers, don't really like ones I've seen so far with markers
    Display back - white, silver, pink, light blue. Probably not black.

    I love the 2 tone BB



    Second choice would probably be this Chanel J12, something about the white bracelet quite appeals to me.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    You have a lot more reading to do.

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    Well, few respect Cartier movements because until the last couple years or so they didn't manufacture their own movement. I think the ballon bleu had an ETA movement. This means two things: 1) same movement found in watches costing a few hundred dollars, which pi$$es off watch snobs; 2) the movement is tried and true, and Cartier wouldn't use something that might harm their reputation.

    That being said, I will say from my experience that Cartier watches are finished like jewels. Far better finish than Rolex (although the Rolex movement is better). I am fond of Cartier especially for their feminine design and I am not a small man.

    I highly recommend the Cartier, as will others. But I bet we're outnumbered 4 to 1.

    If movement becomes more important than design, look to Jaeger-LeCoultre for movement quality that's hard to top for the price, and attractive watches.

  7. #6
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Well, then I'm one of the few that does.
    Quote Originally Posted by Time Exposure View Post
    Well, few respect Cartier movements because until the last couple years or so they didn't manufacture their own movement. I think the ballon bleu had an ETA movement. This means two things: 1) same movement found in watches costing a few hundred dollars, which pi$$es off watch snobs; 2) the movement is tried and true, and Cartier wouldn't use something that might harm their reputation.

    That being said, I will say from my experience that Cartier watches are finished like jewels. Far better finish than Rolex (although the Rolex movement is better). I am fond of Cartier especially for their feminine design and I am not a small man.

    I highly recommend the Cartier, as will others. But I bet we're outnumbered 4 to 1.

    If movement becomes more important than design, look to Jaeger-LeCoultre for movement quality that's hard to top for the price, and attractive watches.

  8. #7
    Member iim7v7im7's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Hi Again,

    I have made a listing of 10 smaller men's watches (35-39 mm) within your proposed price range. Six of them are on leather straps and four of them are on steel bracelets. All are made by fine Swiss, German or Japanese makers. I know that you prefer bracelets, but I would encourage you to consider some of the models on straps as well.

    Swiss:
    Blancpain Villeret Ultra Slim (6651-1127-55B)
    Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin 38 mm (134.81.20)
    Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Aventurine (J005000570)
    Omega Aqua Terra Mid Size Chronometer (231.10.39.21.02.001)
    Rolex Datejust (116234, white or blue roman dial)

    German:
    Chronoswiss Orea Automatique (CH1263RR-SST)
    Glashutte Original Senator Sixties (39-52-01-02-04)
    Nomos Glashutte Ludwig Datum

    Japanese:
    Credor
    Node (GCAQ995)
    Grand Seiko SBGR059

    All of these are fine watches. Whether or not you like them as well as the Cartier or the Chanel is difficult to tell. Type the name and reference number into Google and I am sure that you will find images. Let me know if any of these are to your liking and we can proceed from there.

    Best,

    Bob



    Quote Originally Posted by chocfish View Post
    I was looking at the medium BB which is 36.6mm; something around this size would be ideal I think. The typical "ladies" sizes are too dainty for my liking. My wrist is approx 48mms across so the big size BB at 42.1mm will probably look too big.

    Needs to be automatic, have a round face (don't like square/rectangular watches), non leather bracelet.
    Date/dial colour - not too bothered
    Prefer roman over arabic numbers, don't really like ones I've seen so far with markers
    Display back - white, silver, pink, light blue. Probably not black.

    I love the 2 tone BB



    Second choice would probably be this Chanel J12, something about the white bracelet quite appeals to me.
    Last edited by iim7v7im7; December 9th, 2011 at 00:53.
    __________________________________________________ __________________

    AUDEMARS PIGUET | BLANCPAIN | DAMASKO | GRAND SEIKO | ROLEX

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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Time Exposure View Post
    Well, few respect Cartier movements because until the last couple years or so they didn't manufacture their own movement. I think the ballon bleu had an ETA movement. This means two things: 1) same movement found in watches costing a few hundred dollars, which pi$$es off watch snobs; 2) the movement is tried and true, and Cartier wouldn't use something that might harm their reputation.

    That being said, I will say from my experience that Cartier watches are finished like jewels. Far better finish than Rolex (although the Rolex movement is better). I am fond of Cartier especially for their feminine design and I am not a small man.

    I highly recommend the Cartier, as will others. But I bet we're outnumbered 4 to 1.

    If movement becomes more important than design, look to Jaeger-LeCoultre for movement quality that's hard to top for the price, and attractive watches.
    Thank you for your advice, I have decided to go for JLC.

    Quote Originally Posted by iim7v7im7 View Post
    Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin 38 mm (134.81.20)
    Thank you for the list Bob! Having had a look at them all I think I like this one the most. Found the steel bracelet version with a discount here Jaeger LeCoultre 134.81.20 Master Ultra Thin 38mm Mens Watch which makes it just under £5k Just need to find out if that retailer is reputable, then proceed from there!

  10. #9
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Hi,

    That is an excellent choice of a watch. Timeless and elegant.

    I strongly recommend that you consider purchasing it from an authorized dealer (ad) of JLC. A discount of 15-20% is not uncommon on a popular model such as the one that you are interested in. I say this because since you are somewhat unfamiliar with watches; you want to make sure that it is authentic and has a valid warranty. The link that you provided is to what is called a Gray Market dealer. These are usually authentic watches that ADs could not sell so they sell them to these dealers who sell them at discount. This of course breaks the agreement between the watch company and the AD so it is done in secret. So, I guess that I am saying that the diffence in price is minimal, so go the legit route. Additionally, if their are any issues post-purchase you are in a much better position with JLC with a watch purchased from an AD.

    Please post a photo when you get it.

    Best,

    Bob

    Quote Originally Posted by chocfish View Post
    Thank you for your advice, I have decided to go for JLC.



    Thank you for the list Bob! Having had a look at them all I think I like this one the most. Found the steel bracelet version with a discount here Jaeger LeCoultre 134.81.20 Master Ultra Thin 38mm Mens Watch which makes it just under £5k Just need to find out if that retailer is reputable, then proceed from there!
    __________________________________________________ __________________

    AUDEMARS PIGUET | BLANCPAIN | DAMASKO | GRAND SEIKO | ROLEX

  11. #10
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    Re: Advice needed with first watch - Cartier Ballon Bleu or similar?

    Quote Originally Posted by chocfish View Post
    Hi everyone! I stumbled upon these forums while researching my first watch & hope you guys could give me some advice.

    A little background information - I'm 25 and this is my first time buying a watch, I'm a complete newbie so have been choosing them more or less based on design. Looking for something around £5k, must have automatic movement, round face, noon-leather bracelet and I guess around 35mm size (my wrist measures 14.5cm and I like larger watches).

    So far Cartier's medium 2 tone Ballon Bleu fits the description because I like its big face & clean design. Not as keen on the stainless steel version however, it's not as colourful as 2 tone.

    How well do Cartier timepieces generally hold up? Will the Ballon Bleu look dated in a few years?

    I read that apparently Cartier's watch movement isn't as good as that in brands such as Rolex; does this mean Cartier is generally inferior to Rolex?

    I've also had a look at a few similarly priced Rolex, but imo they tend to look very masculine and have far too many dials. I'm after a good looking (though not too blingy), durable, everyday watch that I will love to wear for years to come.

    Any other recommendations welcome! Thank you
    I considered getting a Cartier way back when, but after trying it on, doing some research and seeing comparable timepieces, Baume and Mercier was a much better looking piece (again IMO) than the Cartier at a MUCH lower price. I bought the BM and decided to stash the savings for something better down the road. My wife was in the same boat, she wanted a Cartier and fell in love with the Tank and Roadster, but did not want to shell out the MSRP. After shopping around for almost a year, you'll never guess what she settled for and loves that watch more than the Cartier.

    With that said, I would shop around, try on a TON before making that decision. Go to a boutique that focuses on Big Brand Timepieces only and try some on. I am positive you will find something that has a better design, better functionality and better priced than Cartier.

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