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Cartier Calibre Diver Watch Hands-On

Cartier Calibre Diver Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One of the last things I was expecting from Cartier for 2014 was a dive watch, and now that we have one I can barely imagine not wanting it. That is how the peculiar “desire engine” of the watch industry works. As mixed up and backwards as the industry may be, it still has the power to create items that I suddenly desire which I would have never thought appealing until they were brought to my attention. I am not even sure that a dive watch from the  famously elegant and classy Parisian brand makes sense on paper, but now that one exists I sort of really want it.  Yes, there are Cartier “sport” watches… but a legit diver, water resistant to 300 meters that you can still wear with a tie and be taken seriously by Europeans taste makers? I didn’t think it possible but the Calibre Diver is it.

We debuted the Cartier Calibre Diver here back before we got a hands-on look at it at the SIHH 2014 watch show. The Calibre has been one of our favorite men’s pieces from Cartier and we’ve known that it was to serve as a foundation for a range of new models. While I sort of expected that 2014 was going to bring us a Calibre GMT, it rather gave us a diving version of the original. To be honest not that much is different from the standard three-hand Cartier compared to the Diver. Sure the diver has a rotating diver’s bezel and a slightly bolder dial, but aside from the rubber strap and deeper water resistance this is the same classy men’s watch I’ve come to really enjoy.

Cartier Calibre Diver Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier Calibre Diver Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Many people will already like the Calibre Diver without me having to explain it to them. What I want to do is explain the watch to guys who typically like dive watches but not Cartier – at least a sporty Cartier. Honestly, if you are a typical dive watch guy there is a lot to find appealing here if you want to ignore that you suddenly have a status watch on your wrist when wanting to be active. First of all, this is among the thinnest 300 meters dive watches out there being 11mm thick. That isn’t exactly “ultra-thin,” but is certainly not thick for a modern dive watch. It is also just over 1mm thicker than the standard Calibre model. Overall I feel that most “thickness conscious” watch lovers will have nothing to complain about.

As a “real diving tool” the Calibre Diver is ISO 6425 certified and pressure tested in water before leaving the factory. Much of the watch is standard Calibre which is a good thing. The 42mm wide case is a great size that wears large but is really reasonable in its dimensions. For my wrist at least it wears wonderfully, wrapping around my wrist with those curved lugs. It is honestly incredibly comfortable. The last Calibre I wore was on a bracelet. I do tend to like the look of a Calibre on a bracelet but on the rubber strap it fits so snugly and wears like a glove.

Cartier Calibre Diver Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Cartier Calibre Diver Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Much of the Calibre Diver case is brushed but there are fine polished elements along the edges of the lugs and other areas. Cartier typically is very keen on ensuring the finishing is something they focus on in their very high to mid-range luxury watches such as the diver. There are few watchmakers out there that offer a dive watch, at this price range, with a comparable level of case finishing.


Thinly profiled dive watches are uncommon because the trend is often to “go big” and be serious about size and durability features. With 300 meters of water resistance the Calibre Diver will go where most people diving will ever go and has a water resistance rating on par with the gold standard product at this price level – the Rolex Submariner. While the two timepieces are different, Cartier is clearly aiming at the same or very similar buy as someone who is interested in a Rolex Submariner.

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  • MrKennethTong

    Wish there was a Metal Band for this.

  • MrKennethTongThere is actually. While Cartier didn’t show it with a bracelet they do include pricing for the Calibre Diver with a bracelet so in a few months when it is released it will have both a rubber strap and bracelet options.

  • ZL

    Yes, yes, and yes please. Cartier does it again. Blows my mind, that is. Always unique, tasteful works of art and function.

  • I would think of a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe as a competitor (another somewhat thin classy diver). I was surprised to see that this Cartier in steel is roughly $1800 cheap than the Bathyscaphe! I’d still rather have the Blancpain. The multiple date window on the Cartier still bothers me as does the roman numerals on the top half of the dial and batons on the bottom. I suppose I should be used to that as a Cartier idiom by now, but I still don’t care for it. I’d think they could have their signature large roman numeral ’12’ and then use baton hour markers for the rest of this diver dial to better effect. Sure the sapphire on crown seems odd for a diver – but this is from the makers of the Tank, so its OK and almost expected.

  • Kris C

    Quite nice – masculine, and has that distinctive Cartier charm, but after seeing some of the other stuff they’ve put out recently, I’m left a little in the ‘whatever’ space. Funny how that works – if i had seen this first i might have been a little more enthused. When I first saw my current car, I was impressed – I bought it. If I had seen it after a good look at a Zenvo st1, and then maybe a Venom GT, I’d have been left fairly cold.

  • Dan Baxter

    Really nice looking!  I am actually surprised how well the rose gold and black rubber strap work together.  I’m a fan.

  • Ulysses31

    Kris is right.  This piece is very “meh” when compared to their other offerings.  If this was in the Cartier display my eyes would not be drawn to it.

  • CG

    Roman numerals underwater! Silly. This obviously a fashion watch no matter how it’s sealed up for depth. It’ll see mostly shower time and rany daus

  • CG

    thank your lucky stars that dive tables were never done in Roman numerals…

  • DG Cayse

    IMO, a unique and very “Cartier-esque” interpretation of a ‘dive watch.’
    It incorporates the attributes that signify Cartier, the roman numerals (tastefully used only partially), the ultra-finish detail, the blue cabochon on the crown these are all well recognized as inherent in the Cartier DNA. Yet here they are used for a “dive” watch. Bold move and, IMO, carried off very well. Honestly, two factors must be considered: 1)”Dive” watches spend about 95% of their time above sea-level and 2)If one can afford this piece one can/will also afford to have a more specific “dive” watch if the need for one is called for.
    I like the comparison to the BP Fifty-Five. When I first glanced at this that is what immediately cam to mind.
    A worthy comparison. Rarefied atmosphere. Worthy competitors.

  • I have been looking for a fun, young watch for myself.  No connoisseur but was looking at the Tudor Pelagos and now seeing this one I like this.  That being said, I am curious what your (Ariel’s) opinion is on the larger date opening at 3pm?  In Patrick’s previous article on the Alpina Extreme Diver 300 he stated “This brings us to the last similarity, being the large cutout for the date display. Ostensibly, this is to enable you to read the date when the hand(s) are at or near the 3 o’clock position – but it’s definitely a design detail that’s a bit polarizing.”.

    I quite like the larger opening, a unique detail that I now see Cartier having.  Cartier really has created an elegant, yet functional sport & diving watch here.

  • marbstiu

    CG   Which is more the jewelry brand – Cartier or Chorpard?

  • CG

    To me … Cartier has the history for designing very high end jewelry and jewel enhanced watches. A Cartier dive watch with roman numerals is a very conflicted design. To me ISO certs, waterproof (not resistance) and high pressure ability is a standard attribute, nothing there to make it any different aside from style or fashion elements. What it lacks as a dive watch are the three most important features; readability, large hands and a 15 minute interval scale thats well lumed you can actually see. To me it’s a minimal effort at Cartiers fine jewelry tradition and zero effort for a diver. Chopard? that’s something totally different.

  • IvanGopey

    aBlogtoWatch MrKennethTong Real photo on bracelet from SIHH 🙂


  • IvanGopey

    aBlogtoWatch MrKennethTong Real photo from SIHH!


  • CGThe ISO 6425 (Dive Watch) standard calls for: 
    “If it is a rotating bezel, it shall have a minute scale going up to
    60 min. The markings indicating every 5 min shall be clearly indicated.”
    So, the typical 15 or 20 individual minute markers we are accustomed to are not required. Just every 5 minutes for an hour (assuming the ” time-preselecting device” is a rotating bezel).

  • ranjix

    So I guess I’m the only one who thinks this watch is pretty atrocious. Incredibly busy to the point of being illegible, awful combination of roman and arabic numerals, the hands too thin and the date window too big, the seconds circle huge and touching the center of the face. Absolutely awful, even ignoring the price.

  • IvanGopey

    You should try them.

  • This Cartier Calibre Diver Watch is looking so cool. The good thing is that it is in my favorite black colour. Thumbs up for this watch. 🙂

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