Alligator Skin, Rose Gold and Rose Gold with Set Diamonds
Silver or Mother-of-pearl white
Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
< 30 metres
24mm, 26mm or 30mm
£7,500 - £113,000
‘Ballon’, a French word translated means ‘ball’. The word however is used in various muses and brands more as a representation of ’roundness’ or a circular motion. It accurately depicts the circular shape and double convex of the watch perfectly. ‘Blanc’ simply means ‘white’ and in the context of this exquisite timepiece by the brilliance of Cartier, it relates to the brilliance of the solitaire diamond set at 4 o’clock on the watch.
This delicate dial can sometimes be mistaken with its older sister the ‘Ballon Bleu’ the global best-seller for Cartier, which features an instantly recognisable blue sapphire crown and has been worn by various celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Kate Middleton. Comparing the two watches, we can assume that the Ballon Blanc is the slightly more feminine version, with the set diamond drawing attention to the prestige, quality and class on display.
Released in 2014, the Cartier Ballon Blanc is available in 4 wonderful models :
Rose gold and set diamond with leather strap
Rose gold with a leather strap
Rose gold and set diamond with diamond set gold bracelet
Rose gold and set diamond with rose gold bracelet
It is also available in 26mm and 30mm for the leather strap models, whilst there is a smaller size for the rose gold bracelet model (24mm). This watch is not meant for those who require a large attention-grabbing timepiece but for ladies who quietly, but gracefully want to exude an essence of class and brilliance. The flow of the set diamonds circling the diamonds is truly a visual masterpiece.
The design and quality of a dial can make or break the opulence of a luxury timepiece. Fortunately, Omega have opted for tried and trusted quality with simplicity in the Ballon Blanc, over extravagance. The leather strap models come with a silvered sunray-brushed analog dial and silver Roman numeral numbering. These contrast magnificently with the small black minute scales edged around the inner rim and the gold-plated, sword-shaped hour and minute hands. These features are bound to help achieve great readability when out and about.
The gold and gold-diamond set models come with a mother-of-pearl flinqué finish dial and swaps gold with blue-steeled sword-shaped hands, whilst the Roman numeral numbering is black. Although the choice in dial design does not differ much, both styles work effectively well and the subtle differences are noticeable to those with sharp eyes.
All cases for the various models are made out of polished 18K rose gold. This colour and material, often linked with luxury and premium goods, is known to blend effortless whatever the occasion or outfit. The striking presence of the brilliant-cut diamond at 4 o’clock sets this case apart from many in its range and is present on all models. My favourite model of the Ballon Blanc, also has brilliant-cut set diamonds around the fixed-bezel case, creating a ’round table’ formation of sort, leading up to the master diamond.
An impressive mention for the set-up of this case, is the cleverly disguised push/pull crown behind the round diamond. I personally like this touch as a crown sticking out of the side of the case would have upset the natural ‘ballon’ curvature of the piece. It has instead been conveniently placed out of site, but not out of reach for the wearer. As expected, the case encloses the scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass covering the dial with all models also coming with a solid rose gold caseback.
With the small sizes available and a thickness of only 7.5mm or 8.4mm (depending on the model), this light timepiece is certainly light and comfortable on the wrist. The leather model strap is made from glossy black alligator skin, whilst the rose gold bracelet model works wonderfully with the interwoven balls of gold. More impressively, the top-range model has diamonds set on each individual section on the bracelet. This lets you know the level of intricacy and fine-design taken when creating this timepiece.
The Ballon Blanc is powered by the Cartier’s quartz movement calibre 057, which might be a big downer with no alternative available. Although this is expected due to the small size of the watch, the love-hate relationship with quartz movements cannot be understated for some watch lovers. The watch does somewhat make up for this by providing water-resistance for up to 30 metres and a 2 year warranty as standard (which can be extended to 8 years). So, all is not lost, the trusted quality and reliability from Cartier should hopefully outweigh any reservations about quartz movement watches.
A premium brand will likewise command a premium price point. The brilliance of the set diamond alone is a gleaming sight to behold and is therefore understandable why the base price for the Ballon Blanc is higher than that of its older sister (Ballon Bleu). The standard rose-gold model with the leather strap starts from £7,500. Adding the diamonds around the bezel pushes it to a starting price of around £11,000. The top line model, with a rose-gold diamond set bracelet sits at a pricey £113,000 but who is to place a price on
Elegance is what they have mastered in and with the Ballon Blanc, Cartier have developed another stunning timepiece for the elegant woman. Lack of features and the quartz movement might be talking points, but overall, the 'brilliant roundness' of the diamond outshines it.