11 July 2024

Do Cartier watches hold their value? – Luxury Watch Repairs


If you’re a fan of the Cartier brand, we don’t need to convince you that the elegant timepieces from this renowned French manufacturer are well worth the investment.

But looks and functionality aside, many of our customers want to be reassured that their purchase is going to hold its value in the long term.

A Brief History of Cartier Watches

Cartier, founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier in Paris, initially focused on jewellery, but made its mark in watchmaking in the early 20th century. In 1904, Cartier introduced the Santos, one of the first wristwatches, designed for aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The iconic Tank watch followed in 1917, inspired by military tanks from World War I. Over the decades, Cartier continued to innovate with models like the water-resistant Pasha de Cartier in the 1930s and the cult-favourite Crash and Must de Cartier lines in the 1960s and 70s. Modern classics include the Ballon Bleu, launched in 2007, and the Calibre de Cartier in 2010, showcasing in-house movements. Renowned for its craftsmanship and timeless design, Cartier remains a benchmark in the watch industry.

Let’s explore the factors that may affect the aftermarket price of your Cartier wristwatch, and what you can do to minimise any reduction in recommended retail price.

5 reasons your Cartier watch will retain its value

1. The brand has elite prestige and a long-standing heritage

Cartier has a rich history and an unmatchable reputation for crafting exquisite watches and jewellery. The company has worked hard to achieve and maintain its place in the industry ever since its inception in 1847. By being able to simultaneously move with the times whilst retaining its ethos, it has remained a firm favourite amongst collectors and enthusiasts of all ages.

When you buy a Cartier watch, you know that incredible craftsmanship is guaranteed. The quality of their design ensures Cartier timepieces are still highly desirable, even if they are many years (or even decades) old and sit comfortably within the ‘vintage’ category.

2. The brand has elite prestige and a long-standing heritage

Collectors love to see that all the watch’s documents and receipts are intact, and that the piece is still stored in its original packaging. Many will also want to know that the watch has been independently verified for its authenticity.

3. You’ve got a rarer model

Certain Cartier models hold their value better than others. Limited editions, discontinued models, or watches with unique features tend to increase in value as time goes on, as do special editions.

Having been in production for more than a century, Santos models are iconic. They continue to be highly sought-after. The Cartier Tank dress watch, which has an almost cult-like following, is always in high demand in the second-hand market, too. Because the latter model was inspired by the square lines and utilitarian boxiness of military tanks in the First World War, wearers have an emotional connection to the design. Even Tank watches that were released many years after the war ended are looked upon fondly and can command a good resale price.

4. Your watch is in excellent condition

Well-maintained Cartier watches, with minimal wear and original parts, are likely to retain their value better.

As you can imagine, aesthetic and operating issues, however small, can have a big impact on your potential return on investment. This is why it’s vital to maintain your watch correctly – and regular servicing and maintenance by authorised Cartier service centres like Luxury Watch Repairs can help to keep your timepieces looking and working at their best. Unlike watch repair specialists that have not undergone advanced training from the manufacturer, Cartier approved service centres can source original parts and the correct brand tooling, so you know your investment is in safe hands. Partnering with a Cartier service centre ensures your watch will be serviced and returned as if it were being dealt with by Cartier directly!

We generally recommend getting your Cartier watch serviced every four to five years, and more often if you wear your piece regularly.

If your watch is broken or not keeping good time, it’s important to pass it over to the experts for analysis. With more than 160 individual parts to consider within any single Cartier design, trying to repair your watch yourself is far too risky – and you could end up lowering its value irreversibly if you decide to tamper with its components without proper instruction. The same goes for Cartier watch polishing. Over buffing or excessive hand polishing can dull the casing, so it’s best to enlist the help of a company that has been certified by Cartier itself.

5. Market demand is high

The value of Cartier watches can be influenced by market trends and current levels of demand. There’s a lot at play here; prices can fluctuate depending on what’s in fashion, how interested collectors are in a particular model, and the wider state of the economy.

With so many of these factors outside your control, it can be difficult to know when to sell, or if you should sell at all. It’s best to advertise your second-hand Cartier watch when conditions are favourable, not during downturns.

Demand typically increases when a model reaches a new milestone, such as its anniversary – and people are often more inclined to purchase luxury items in the run-up to Christmas, or directly after their country’s tax refund season, when more funds are available for non-essential purchases.

Many Cartier watches are crafted from either steel, gold, or a mixture of the two – and always manufactured from the finest materials possible. This helps to preserve a competitive resale value for watches that are not in impeccable condition, are not supplied with the corresponding documentation, or are more commonplace than scarcer models.

How else can you ensure you receive the best possible price for your Cartier watch?

If you are looking to sell your Cartier watch, it’s important to select a reputable resale platform that specialises in luxury items. If you partner with a knowledgeable dealer or a well-established auction house, you’re much more likely to get a better return than if you go through a generic marketplace.

Ultimately, Cartier watches hold their value well, particularly recognisable designs like the Tank and Santos. You just need to take extra care to keep your timepiece looking great and functioning correctly, and ensure it is sold on when the market appetite for your model is high.

To find out what you need to do to ensure the best possible ROI – and get expert advice on servicing and maintaining your investment – contact Luxury Watch Repairs.

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