Cartier Calibre Watch Review

Cartier Calibre Watch Review

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

There is a word that is thrown around a lot in the watch world that means the public takes a watch (or anything else for that matter) seriously. That word is legitimacy and I love to hear the French pronounce it. Cartier is what they call a legitimate brand. They have heaps of reputation, a solid history and plenty of important people who wear their products. Classic Cartier designs are also a great influence to their direct competitors. They really are the model of a solid luxury watch brand.

A few years ago, Cartier decided that this was not enough. They wanted even more legitimacy, especially with the growing population of seasoned watch lovers. This meant adding a lot more high-end watches to their range, as well as offering in-house made movements. Well, sometimes "in-house" just meant no one else was using those movements but that's another matter altogether. I also suspect this push to make movements was partly due to ETA's (Swatch Group owned while Cartier is Richemont) continual threats to stop supplying movements to outside brands. ETA hasn't done this yet but Cartier was smart to invest in movement manufacturing in the event that it does happen.

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The first watches to contain in-house Cartier movements were very high-end. Cartier offered a brand new look and feel to the type of watch that could bear the Cartier name. All these watches had exotic movements and prices were on par with that of some very nice real estate. In 2010 Cartier announced the release of the simply named Calibre, a story that I covered here. The new masculine watch offered a sporty look (more so than Cartier's other sport watches such as the Pasha, Santos, and Roadster) as well as, for the first time, an "entry-level" Cartier with an in-house movement.

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

That movement was the 1904 MC. A thin caliber automatic that had 48 hours of power reserve with a rotor set of ceramic ball bearings. It was rather nicely decorated, too. Functionally, it has the time with a subsidiary seconds dial and the date. Cartier made sure that it had enough differences in comparison to most of the base movements offered by ETA. You can see the movement via the sapphire caseback window on the back of the watch.

I predicted in 2010 that the Calibre would soon have a bracelet option and in 2011 Cartier offered one. For me, the watch was now complete. Cartier is known for rather nice bracelets so it was a shame to see a new sport watch on just a strap. That is the one I wanted to review and so I did.

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The Calibre is deceptively large. Seeing it in a store window I would bet money it was larger than its 42mm wide size might suggest. Thanks to a hefty crown guard and large, widely spaced lugs this watch is one of the best optical illusions around. Thanks to the lugs allowing the bottom to wrap around your wrist, this watch is quite comfortable to wear and in addition to that, the piece does not have a tall profile.

For the price, the detailing and finishing on the case and bracelet are very good. Thin strips of polished metal are placed around the brushed surfaces with the contrast between the two finishes being very good. Let me explain, on most cheaper watches when you have a brushed area and a polished area, the transition between these finishes is more of a blur/blend. It comes across as lacking refinement. On a watch like this (and many other higher-end pieces) there is a very distinct transition between the finishes. I hope that made sense.

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Detailing on the case is impressive with a great deal to look at - including recessed areas and, my favorite part, the bezel and flange ring. Look at the inner sides of the dial and it looks like you are viewing gear teeth. This design feature adds visual interest and complexity to a rather simple dial. Cartier really wanted to make sure the case and dial has the right mix of complexity and simplicity.

The dial is pretty cool and I like seeing it and reading it. However, I feel that Cartier could have extended the minute hand a bit more and given it a bit more lume. In fact, I wonder what it would look like with larger hands overall. The sub second dial is tastefully done and the classic Cartier DNA is preserved with the Roman numerals. The biggest point of contention for most people is the "expanded' date window - Cartier is just being trendy with that. Personally, I don't like it and feel that it off-balances the dial. The large date window and crowd guard are meant to be harmonious shapes, but instead they help the watch look a bit "right heavy." Little quips, but Cartier sets a tall bar so I figured it was worth noting. Here, the dial is in black but they are also offered in white and brown.

Cartier Calibre Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The bracelet is very nice and looks like that of an evolved Roadster bracelet. Aside from looking nice, the best part is the locking butterfly clasp. Some Cartier clasps are mere tension clasps which are prone to opening if your arm experiences shock. They can also degrade over time. The detailing on the clasp is very good and it operates smoothly.

Features like the bracelet, bezel, perfectly domed AR coated sapphire crystal and in-house movement make the Cartier Calibre family of timepieces easy to lust for. Trust me that in the coming years Cartier will offer chronographs and other complications based on the 1904 MC architecture. For now, this model is affordable and attractive ... As well as legitimate. Priced at $7,500 for the all steel model and $10,950 for the steel with 18k rose gold model.

11 comments
tboyhankw
tboyhankw

Calibre is my favorite Cartier watches, it is different from the bulky Santos, also from blue balloons mellow. Men's elegant weapon

Whitesnake77
Whitesnake77

Anybody else have problems with the movement of their watch?

balmeida
balmeida

I've owned this watch for a little over the year.  I've got no complaints with the look of it as it is one of the most beautiful watches I've seen.  I am not sure Cartier's in-house movement technology is all there yet though.  Mine stopped working about six months after purchase and I had to send back to Switzerland for repairs.  Three months later I was told that the watch was not functioning due to "impact from shock".  The watch had only small evidence of wear and had certainly never been dropped or hit against anything but alas, they would not cover the €500 repairs under the warranty.  Its only been one month since receiving the fully repaired watch and now I having the same problems again.  I still absolutely love the look of the watch but I would unfortunately recommend holding off on a purchase until they master the technology unless you're willing to give up your watch every few months for repairs.

JohnnyJohnnyJohnny
JohnnyJohnnyJohnny

The kind of watch you'd see on the wrist of a used car salesman.

Carl Haluss
Carl Haluss

Thank you for a wonderful review and video.
I was most impressed with your photography. Your pictures capture the watch very much as it is in real life, much better than many I have seen. Take it from one who knows, I have tried the watch myself, and will be getting one in a couple of weeks. Mine will have the silver dial, for the simple reason I find it more classic, and I like the different tones it takes on in various lighting conditions. Odd for me, because most of my watches have been black dials.
Thank you for concentrating a lot on the aesthetics, and the craftsmanship of the entire watch, including the beautiful bracelet.
Normally, I don't like a calendar on a watch dial at all. I have a Rolex Explorer I 36mm and an Air-King, neither of which have date windows. In the case of the Calibre de Cartier, I am willing to make an exception, matter of fact I think they did the calendar so beautifully, that I think it adds interest to the watch and enriches the dial. Having said that, I can also see Romans all the way round the dial, no date window, and a bit smaller seconds subdial.
Thanks again for a very inspirational presentation. It makes the wait for mine a little easier!
Cheers,
Carl

Ulysses
Ulysses

Nice watch but it might look better with the dust and grime wiped off it. Losing the expanded date window and Roman numerals and it would be a winner.

IS3515
IS3515

Nice watch. I don't mind the extended date. I went back to your original review and I like the white dial with the black croc strap better than the bracelet.

kris c
kris c

Brown dial on steel with bracelet? That sounds very interesting to me.
I think this one is quite a looker, but I forgive the expanded date wheel before I do the sub seconds dial - why? A 3-hand watch does not need that, a big, central sweeping seconds hand would show off the manufacture muscle much better.

JB
JB

I must say, that price makes this watch really attractive. Hope they will add this in house caliber also to their Santos 100 titanium watch. Because thats the one Im looking for :)!

Thanks for great review

admin
admin

My pleasure Carl. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

Fred I
Fred I

Brown dial was only a limited production for 2010, they are running out, very quickly. . .

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