12 Jul 2011

Cartier Ballon Bleu Automatic Yellow Gold with Diamonds and Sapphire Medium Model WE9004Z3 Watch Review

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Written by: Jessica Plumbley

Looking for an eye-catching luxury watch? Let’s examine the Ballon Bleu de Cartier with reference number WE9004Z3. Depending on your preference for appearance versus practicality, this Ballon Bleu might be a good fit.

The Cartier WE9004Z3 differs from other Ballon Bleu models in that it is made of 18K yellow gold, marked  medium in size with a case 36.6 mm in diameter and 12.1 mm thick, and features a bezel set with two layers of round-cut diamonds and a blue sapphire cabochon. Cartier pronounces itself dedicated to its jewelry-making heritage, and the WE9004Z3 model reflects that value. Here Cartier bridges past and future, creating a watch meant to be “the beginning of a legend in a dream world…a new satellite in Cartier’s galaxy” (cartier.com). This Ballon Bleu achieves a classical look with its roman numbers, sword-shaped blue steel hands, rows of diamonds, and gold composition. The twist delivered by the watch lies in the sapphire cabochon, which is set into the bezel at the 3 o’clock mark. The stone intrudes slightly on the watch face, an encroachment the designers have accentuated by warping the 3 hour mark as well as the second lines around it to complement the curve of the cabochon. The result is a crescent moon shape of numbers in place of the more typical round configuration, which gives the watch its modern look.

All of this appears on the WE9004Z3 Ballon Bleu de Cartier’s guilloche and lacquered silver opaline dial. An automatic wind with Cartier calibre 076 mechanically powers the hour, minute, and second hands to glide around the diamond ring. The watch is water resistant to 30 m/100 feet, and is valued at around $25,000. A unisex piece, this Cartier product can be worn by whoever it woos.

If you are looking merely for a unique luxury piece of jewelry, consider the WE9004Z3 Cartier Ballon Bleu model. But if you are more pragmatic seeker of a timepiece, you might want to consider the potential problems of this and other Ballon Bleu versions before making a purchase.

Physically, the WE9004Z3 must be treated with care. Low water resistance is common in luxury watches, but it’s something to keep in mind. The double rows of diamonds on the bezel of this Cartier model might snag on your sleeve, especially if you’re wearing a sweater.

Functionally, the warped  ticks around the 3 o’clock gem could make it difficult to read the exact time between the 10 and 20 minute mark of every hour. If you are concerned with precision time-telling, this watch may not be for you.

In the end, careful consumers should consider what they want from their purchase before buying, as the Cartier Ballon Bleu WE9004Z3 watch model will has its pragmatic issues, however beautiful it may be.  For variations on the model, including diamondless, small, big, or varying gold options, look under Ballon Bleu at cartier.com.

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