Watches - Buying Guides

Which Second Hand Cartier Watch Should I Buy?

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to splurge on that unforgettable gift for him or her. And there’s no better way to mark a special holiday than with a Cartier watch. A beloved brand amongst watch connoisseurs, Cartier’s timepieces retain their style, quality and value — making them the perfect choice for a first pre-owned watch. What’s more, the Maison has an array of collections for both discerning men and women, so regardless of ones’ taste, with Cartier, you’re bound to find the perfect present.


Taking over his master’s workshop, Louis-François Cartier founded his eponymous brand in 1847 just prior to France’s February Revolution, which saw the beginning of the French Second Republic. Running it successfully for over two decades, Louis-François then passed the mantle onto his son Alfred Cartier who ran it for several more decades. Eventually, Alfred’s three sons — Louis, Pierre and Jacques — took over the business to become the true pioneers of the Maison, bringing the Cartier name to international fame and recognition.

Louis Cartier began by establishing Cartier’s Rue de la Paix store in 1899, which still stands as the company’s Paris ‘Temple’. He was also the brain behind some of the watchmaker’s most well-known designs, such as Cartier’s Art Deco style, the mystery clock and other avant-garde watches, such as the Santos. Named after Brazilian aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who told Louis Cartier about the impracticality of using a pocket watch while flying, Cartier designed the Santos — its first men's wristwatch — in 1904.

In the same year, Cartier received its first appointment as official purveyor to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, who dubbed the Maison, “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers.” Cartier would go on to become the purveyor for Spain’s King Alfonso XIII, Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II and Belgium’s King Albert I.

By 1907, Cartier was selling in London, New York and St. Petersburg and was rapidly growing into one of the world’s most renowned watchmakers. Cartier had also entered into a deal with Edmond Jaeger (eventually of Jaeger-LeCoultre) to exclusively supply the movements for Cartier watches. 1912 then saw the introduction of Cartier’s Baignoire and Tortue models, which remain in production today. In 1914, Louis Cartier cemented the brand’s luxury appeal by commissioning a watercolour painting by the French artist George Barbier. Entitled “Dame à la Panthère”, this work of art — featuring a woman draped in jewels and a panther with a diamond-encrusted collar at her feet — would align the brand with the symbol of this elegant cat to this very day. The work of art would ultimately also go on to inspire Cartier’s Panthère de Cartier collection decades later.

1917 saw the start of World War I bringing Louis Cartier to the Western Front where he took inspiration from the tanks on the battlefield to create the Tank model, which remains one of Cartier’s most popular collections. The original Tank model would spawn a variety of designs including the Tank Louis Cartier, the Tank Chinoise, the Tank Française and the Tank Américaine.

Cartier continued to be prolific throughout the 1920s and 1930s, creating spectacular watch and jewellery pieces for the world’s royalty and aristocrats, such as the Queen of Romania’s tiara, the celebrated Baguette watch, the mystery pocket watch and the world’s smallest wristwatch given to the UK’s Princess Elizabeth.

It’s no wonder that Cartier remains a beloved brand among celebrities and royalty across the globe. Indeed, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is known to wear the Cartier Ballon Bleu watch, while Angelina Jolie often sports the Cartier Louis Tank. So with all of this prestige and extravagance in mind, here are some of Xupes top gifting suggestions this season.

For her:

Cartier Tank

This is a pre-owned Cartier Tank Louis Cartier ladies 8057 watch. 18mm by 25mm case size in 18k yellow gold, white roman dial on a 18k yellow gold bracelet
This is a pre-owned Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

One of the most well-known of all high-end ladies’ watches — indeed it has adorned the wrist of some of the world’s most remarkable and powerful women, from Angelina Jolie to Emmanuelle Alt to Princess Diana to Michelle Obama — the Cartier Tank epitomises clean, crisp French style. Initially created in 1917 and presented as a gift to a World War I General, this originally male timepiece has, today, found its place within the world of women’s haute horology. Available in a plethora of models in countless configurations — think, steel, yellow gold, pink gold, white gold, two-tone, with or without diamonds, and so on — from a range of collections, the Cartier Tank encompasses: the square, chain-link Tank Française; the rectangular, emboldened lined Tank Anglaise; the elongated case with more pronounced curves Tank Américaine; the classic Art Deco Tank Louis Cartier; and the more modest and modern Tank Solo. Regardless of which model you choose, buying a pre-owned Cartier Tank watch is a smart choice as it is a demonstrably timeless piece.

Panthère de Cartier

This is a pre-owned Cartier Pasha de Cartier unisex W31079M7 watch. 35mm case size in stainless steel, black arabic dial on a stainless steel bracelet
This is a pre-owned Cartier Pasha de Cartier

Cartier brought back the Panthère de Cartier watch collection back in full force in 2017. Reminiscent of the 1980s timepieces, but with an edgier look than before, the modern series comes in two sizes — small, measuring 22 mm and medium, measuring 27 mm in diameter — and boasts nine metals and/or finishes (including steel, yellow gold, pink gold, pink gold with a paved diamond bezel, white gold with a paved diamond bezel, and so on), better resistance to water, and stronger link bracelets. The collection features the original line’s beloved square case with visible screws on the bezel and brick-lay chain-link bracelet straps with integrated lugs and concealed folding clasps. Gleaming statement pieces that Cartier has called, “a celebration of triumphant and carefree femininity”, these watches have been made to complement any outfit and be worn effortlessly from day to night making the Panthère de Cartier a perfect first choice for purchasing a pre-loved watch.

For him:

Cartier Tank Américaine

This is a pre-owned Cartier Tank Americaine Mechanique  gents 1737 watch. 26mm by 45mm case size in 18k yellow gold, white roman dial on a black leather bracelet
This is a pre-owned Cartier Tank Americaine Mechanique

Celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Tank in 2017, Cartier has released a variety of versions of their popular Tank Américaine over the years, including in yellow gold, white gold and steel. Originally designed in 1917 and offered to General Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force, the Tank has spawned many variations, but the Tank Américaine has been a classic since its launch in 1989 thanks to its elongated rectangular case. Fans of this style and its robust features when compared to some of the other more delicate Tank models, can enjoy the collection in three sizes — Small, Medium, and Large. The Cartier Tank Américaine watch boasts a silvered dial, exaggerated Roman numerals, and blued-steel sword-shaped hands. A timeless design, this is a great option for those in the market for a quintessentially chic piece whether new or second-hand.

Santos de Cartier

This is a pre-owned Cartier Santos De Cartier Galbee men's WSSA0009 watch. 40mm case size in stainless steel, white roman dial on a stainless steel bracelet,
This is a pre-owned Cartier Santos De Cartier Galbee.

Unmissable on the wrist, Cartier’s modern Santos sports a general square shaped case (in a variety of metal options from precious materials to steel) with a cabochon-shaped spinel-set crown. The newer Santos collection is slightly more rounded than previous models and the medium option — coming in at exactly 35.1mm by 41.9mm — in stainless steel is a sure-fire classic. With a restrained dial design featuring black Roman numerals, railroad minutes track, blued steel hands and a silvered finish, this watch stays away from excess. Powered by the automatic Calibre 1847 MC, this in-house movement beats at 4 Hz and has a power reserve of 42 hours. As the original ‘aviator’s watch’, the Santos remains effectively resistant to the magnetic fields a watch may be exposed to in day-to-day wear. Plus, paired with a steel link bracelet, this is the definitive watch for the man of discerning, yet discreet taste. This classic and clean design will never go out of style, hence a top choice for buying a pre-owned Cartier watch as it’s an investment you can count on.

Shop our wide range of pre-loved Cartier watches today for both him and her, including Ballon Bleu, Ceinture, Tank, Panthère, Roadster, Santos models and so much more.