Cartier has received great acclaim from the watch enthusiasts, not only with the investments they made, but also with the important models they have created under the leadership of the master watchmaker Carole Forestier-Kasapi. The Ballon Bleu De Cartier Carbon model has been the guest of our Hands On corner.
I have a lot of interest and respect for the Cartier brand... Especially with one of the iconic models of the brand “Santos”. I find many Cartier models in different styles quite successful. The current situation that the brand has achieved under the successful leadership of Carole Forestier-Kasapi, was an epic performance throughout the entire industry.
Their watch factory which is built over a 30,000 square meters area is the second largest watch factory in Switzerland after Rolex. The brand powers up its latest models by designing and manufacturing more than 50 different in-house movements. If this is not enough for you to stop seeing Cartier as a "jewelry brand", well, I think it’s time for you to save your precious time for fishing instead of dealing with luxury timepieces…
After the introduction which I felt no need to conceal my admiration for the brand, let’s get to the timepiece…
Actually, this is not La Maison’s first attempt regarding the “carbon” concept as the previous Santos 100 Carbon model, which was launched a few years ago, was a great sample in this regard. The model was presented to watch aficionados with a little higher price than the other models in the product group due to its solid gold bezel, which was highly appreciated, especially with its design that blends classic Cartier lines with the trending "all black" concept nicely.
Cartier Santos 100 Chronograph Carbon
Having decided to continue with the black watches, Cartier succeeded in bringing this popular product group back to life with two new carbon models introduced earlier this year. The new watches, based on the brand’s cult design Santos and one of the latest successful products Ballon Bleu models, have been perfect products to ensure that young watch enthusiasts meet the brand with their dynamic designs and relatively affordable prices.
We are here with one of those two black watches; the Ballon Bleu De Cartier Carbon.
I would like to say a few words here; although I find it extremely successful as a design, Ballon Bleu was a model that I could not find masculine enough to see as a men’s watch. Regardless of the case material, dial color, bracelet or strap options, and most importantly its case diameter, I could not see this model, which I only like on an elegant woman’s wrist, as a men’s model. Until I saw the Carbon version…
Rather than talking about the general specs of the Ballon Bleu product line, I think it’s better to focus on the distinguishing details of the Carbon version. First of all, the most important feature of the model is, of course, its black case.
The diameter of the ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon) coated stainless steel case is 42mm. I have seen many black watches treated with different coating techniques and have had the chance to use several different models myself. My idea is still the same when it comes to durability; ceramic is the best option... However, I think that the coating techniques that have become more and more durable in time, should definitely not be ignored. Whereas, ADLC stands at the highest level of durability in terms of coating. In the meantime, another thing I like about ADLC is that it does not cover the original form of the surface that it’s applied on, unlike the conventional PVD coating. Ballon Bleu Carbon is a very good example in this regard.
“Their watch factory which is built on a 30.000 square meters area is the second largest watch factory in Switzerland after Rolex. The brand powers up its latest models by totally in-house designed and manufactured -more than 50 different- movements.”
In line with the masculine structure brought by the black concept, going with the largest case diameter of the Ballon Bleu product line at 42mm, has created quite a bold wrist presence. On the front side of the case, which is a little weaker than today’s standards with a 30M waterproofing value, a domed sapphire crystal glass with antireflection coating is employed.
The symbolic feature of the product line, the winding crown with cabochon cut synthetic spinel, is again concealed within the crown guard, which is also an exclusive design detail of the Ballon Bleu model family. The solid caseback is coated in black ADLC to match with the concept.
Despite the use of the common Ballon Bleu model family details, the dial seems quite different with the selected color scheme. The Guilloché style surface brings heat to the dial while the red second hand adds a balanced touch of sportiness. The indices designed in a silver color, together with the sword style hands set, match with the overall black theme nicely while improving the legibility as well.
The date window, the only additional feature of the model, is located at 3 o’clock.
The model is offered on a black textile/leather combined strap which fits the concept perfectly. The strap is secured with the brand’s classic folding clasp coated in black to continue with the overall theme. I have mentioned about the not-so-user-friendly adjustment of the folding clasp in my past articles. I believe, designing a much more practical clasp should not be a difficult task, but it may not be that simple for a company like Cartier who has the greatest sensitivity for preserving its DNA.
I like the Bleu De Cartier Carbon model very much. In fact, I like this watch for two different reasons.
1) It finally add the masculine character to the Ballon Bleu model which I could never stop seeing as a ladies only timepiece, despite the catalog information indicating it’s a men’s models…
2) It combines the classic Cartier design details with the trending all black concept so beautifully.