- Nov 15, 2010
- Reaction score
Thank you for that fantastic write up. I definitely was not dismissing them rather I was asking to understand better,Well, I wasn't suggesting AP, because although you have suggested its a natural progression from Rolex, it has always been a big jump in price.
Bvlgari is a jewelry company, and many of their watches decades ago were nothing to write home about. However, as @pmeis stated they have truly stepped up their game. They designs and their movements are very competitive with other great watch makers. Are the on level with Patek or AP, no, but they are competitive with other respected high quality brands. Their designs may not be for everyone, or fit everyone's wrist, but you really owe it to yourself to check them out.
As for Cartier, they have been a jewelry maker since 1847. However, back when they started making wrist watches, most other great names were still making pocket watches. Rolex was just starting to make pocket watches the year after Cartier made its first wristwatch. We tend to think of purpose built or tool watches as something specific to Rolex, but Cartier made the first purpose built sports watch for aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The Santos-Dumont was developed for him because when piloting early air ships, it was cumbersome to have to take your hands off the controls, reach into your vest pocket and then check the time. So his friend Louis Cartier produced the first men's wristwatch, the Santos-Dumont. Now he could glance at his wrist to see the time, while safely keeping his hands on the controls. This watch was first made in 1904, and there have been various versions over the years. Many of their best known designs are icons in the world of watches. The Tank was based on looking at the shape of WWI Tanks. The first ones were made in 1917. It is one of the most famous watches in their world. Do a search for celebrities and you will see lots of people of the past wearing them (but the difference is, but these vintage celebrities were wearing them long before there were brand ambassadors paid to wear them. They spent their own money on them because they chose to wear one, not because of a business deal/endorsement). Their watches used some of the finest movements available in the day (and keep in mind, it was common for PP, AP, VC, Rolex and others to depend on outside companies for certain movements). Cartier invented the deployant clasp, and their single pusher chronographs are legendary even among collectors I know that generally only purchase PP, AP, VC and Lange. The Santos model on a bracelet was first introduced in 1978 (and it was their first watch that was not made entirely of precious metals). Interestingly, while AP's RO, PP's Nautilus and VC's 222s were not all that successful in their first few years, the Santos was an instant hit. In 1985, the Pasha joined the collection (a design from Gerald Genta), and it was also a big hit for Cartier. Initially, it was offered only in precious metals but eventually two tone versions and all steel versions were produced. I own and example of each, a modern Santos and a vintage Pasha. Both have been re-fined, revised, and are in production again. The Santos is water resistant to 100 m, antimagnetic, has an inhouse movement, and curved case back and lugs that fit the wrist very comfortably (one friend who bought one after trying mine on, said he wears it all the time and he finds it more comfortable than any of his Rolex watches). The Santos and the Pasha have a brilliant "Quickswitch system" that allow you to change from a metal bracelet to a strap with a simple press of a button on each side. There is also a "Smartlink" system where you press a button and can easily add or remove links yourself. No need for screw drivers or anything that might scratch your watch or bracelet.
I think you owe it to yourself to check them out, rather than dismissing them as watches from jewelry companies. I'll also add, that a collector friend used to say, that one advantage Cartier has had as a jewelry maker, is they understand how to make and design beautiful bracelets that are comfortable. Some companies make cool looking bracelets and one can find them disappointing in terms of the fit, comfort and at times even quality. Cartier has a long, rich history in the world of horology, and what they have learned from making jewelry only benefits wearers of their timepieces. Wishing you luck with whatever you decide.