Cartier From blue to white
The Ballon Blanc is a more feminine variant of the Ballon Bleu. It serves a different ambition: it’s more opulent, more delicate, more dainty but just as comfortable.
The Ballon Bleu is one of Cartier’s great success stories. It’s unisex; it’s available in a variety of different materials; it can be simple or complicated; and it comes in seven different sizes with various options and styles of gem-setting. Its name comes from the angle at which the lugs meet the case, which resembles the way in which a hot air balloon tapers down towards the basket; it’s also a reference to the three-dimensional curves of the case. The blue comes from the precious spinel set into the crown, protected by a small metal bridge. The Ballon Blanc shares the same shape, but not the same vocation.
Ballon Blanc de Cartier with 26 mm and 30 mm pink gold case and equipped with a black alligator strap © Cartier
Its launch was relatively low-key. Originally, the Ballon Blanc was offered only on a bracelet made of tiny articulated beads, like strings or pearls made of precious metal, and only in pink gold. What makes this Ballon ‘blanc’ is the stone set into the crown; here, it’s a diamond, nudged over into the 4 o’clock position. A closer look, however, reveals that this little protuberance isn’t hiding the crown, because there isn’t one. The bulge in the bezel is there to replicate the characteristic outline of the Ballon Bleu, and to provide a setting for the precious gem, this time set face-up. And thus the Ballon Blanc remains faithful to its mission as a feminine ladies’ watch designed to look beautiful on the wrist. Consequently, it comes fitted with a quartz movement, which does away with the winding crown in favour of a small button discreetly located on the back of the case.
Ballon Blanc de Cartier with 26 mm and 30 mm pink gold case featuring a diamond-set bezel and equipped with a black alligator strap © Cartier
The Ballon Blanc comes in three diameters. The original 24 and 30 mm sizes have now been joined by a 26 mm version. There are also two more styles: it’s possible to select a plain bezel in addition to the model set with one row of diamonds, and there’s also a black alligator strap. The original version with its elaborate gold bracelet has evolved into something simpler, more contrasting, almost casual. But in every case, the Ballon Blanc continues to offer that extra something that was a major factor in the success of its predecessor. The generously rounded case, smooth as a perfectly worn pebble, is astonishingly comfortable to wear, and that’s something a photo will never adequately convey.
Ballon Blanc de Cartier with pink gold case and equipped with a pink gold strap © Cartier
Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.Find out more >
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