The Investment Value of Cartier Watches vs. Bulgari

This is a clash I’ve been itching to write about. Please welcome two oft-misunderstood brands to the arena. The investment value of Cartier watches takes on Bulgari in a perfectly balanced dust up of marques renowned for straddling the boundary between horology and jewelery.

Investment Value of Cartier Watches

Image Courtesy of Bvlgari

Cartier’s Watchmaking Stalwart

Cartier’s reputation as a watchmaking stalwart may seem a little odd to one coming at the brand through their jewelry department. But it is well justified.

The investment value of Cartier watches has benefited from the brand gifting the industry with a couple of innovations that are still incredibly popular today.

For example, steel hands blued through a process of oxidization to inhibit the onset of rust, and the deployant clasp.

Investment Value of Cartier Watches

Image Courtesy of Cartier

Bulgari’s Unfounded Disparagement

Bulgari, however, are used to catching a lot of flak for their horological efforts. It’s completely unfounded. Say what you will about the ‘iconic’ Bulgari, Bulgari bezel and the days of external supply, but none of it is relevant to the modern output.

Bulgari has been quietly reshaping itself as the modern-day Piaget, taking on and simply obliterating records for thinness on a disturbingly regular basis.

But here’s the question: While both brands have contributed far more to horology than they’re often credited with, which of their recent releases is likely to garner the best return on your investment, from an emotional and fiscal perspective?

Investment Value of Cartier Watches

Image Courtesy of Bvlgari

The Cartier Santos vs. the Bulgari Octo Finissimo

Two recent pieces that match-up nicely price-wise are the Cartier Santos (released this year at Baselworld), and the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatique.

The Cartier (the larger version in steel and gold) retails at $10,400 and the Bugari a touch more at $13,900 on the bracelet (which is an upgrade worth paying for – you’ll know what I mean when you get it on the wrist).

The Santos boasts a neat bracelet that can be adjusted at home using a new smart link system that is satisfying and simple to use. The Bulgari bracelet is a thing of brutalist beauty (as is the whole housing of this mind-bendingly slim watch).

Investment Value of Cartier Watches

Image Courtesy of Cartier

Who Comes Out a Winner?

Both watches feature in-house movements, which is big upgrade for this iteration of the Santos, which follows a series powered by external Richemont calibers, but it can not hold a candle to the Bulgari offering here.

This is where the true separation occurs it becomes apparent the investment value of Cartier watches doesn’t match that of Bulgari’s.

Classic and stylish as the Cartier Santos is, the sheer revolution of the ultra slim line Bulgari marks it as a truly exceptional piece. It is one I’m confident will have more appeal to collectors by the fact it is a record setting model.

Sure, people don’t buy watches for the records they briefly hold or held, but those records do consolidate a young history and help, over time, to morph the brand behind these innovations into something bigger than it was before.

About the Author

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.


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