Cartier Steps Up Its Dive Watch Game

Everyone knows that Cartier can build watches—they’ve been doing it since the dawn of the 20th century with the iconic Santos watch. But when they dropped The Calibre de Cartier line in 2010, the game changed dramatically. Overnight, they shifted the conversation around what a watch from the legendary luxury house could mean to a man. But that wasn’t enough.

This year marked the release of the Calibre de Cartier Diver watch, what many consider to be the next logical step for the expanding line. It would be easy to write it off as another iterative update to a high quality watch line, but it’s actually a huge deal, and here’s why.

It’s ISO Certified
The big C had every right to slap on some dive parts to their existing case, fill it with their stellar in house movement (the 1904 MC) and pull up to the trade show with a big grin on their faces. But they didn’t. They started from scratch, seeking to make an honest “tool” watch, up to the exacting ISO standards of deep-sea ruggedness, while keeping with Cartier's famous aesthetics, which include steel and pink gold options.

It’s Built Like a Tank (No, not that Tank)
One of the best side effects of pursuing an ISO certification is that you have to build your watch to some seriously exacting standards—depth, pressure, construction quality, shock resistance, temperature fluctuation, and reliability. Not that Cartier didn’t always have the tools to make that happen (their 1917 “Tank" watch was literally modeled after a WWI tank, and their Santos was designed for a Brazilian Aviator in 1904) but the tools required for a Dive watch are significantly different. This watch is rated to 300m/1000ft, meaning that at 1000ft it will stand up to 441 pounds of pressure per square inch. Think about that for a second.

It’s the Perfect Size
The biggest gripe that most non-divers have with dive watches is how bulky they can get. That ISO rating typically comes at the expense of svelte versatility, making a stylish, manly, and often expensive investment into a very un-versatile watch that becomes a nuisance the second you toss a suit on. At 42mm wide and 11mm thick, the Calibre diver is smack in the goldilocks zone for rugged statement married with dressy versatility.

It Has a Killer Movement
While there's nothing wrong with the workhorse Miyotas and ETAs found in many mechanical watches, there's something special about a movement made in-house. All save for a couple parts like the hairspring and balance wheel in the 1904 MC are made by Cartier, meaning they guide the watch every step from its conception to its place on the wrist. Though you'd only ever notice the reliable and precise ticking of the 1904 MC, if the case were transparent, you'd see a tight movement with a handsomely adorned rotor.

It Starts at Only $8,200
Yes, we said "only." For just a few thousand more than what many elite ISO-certified dive watches cost, you can get one made by Cartier, a brand that holds its value. While many dive watches—which also tend to hold value well in general—can get the job done and survive the perils of deep sea, few look good enough to sit on the wrist in a formal setting, which is Cartier's indisputable forte. Though you can't go wrong with a rubber strap, there's a metal bracelet option in case you need your Cartier to suit up for more formal occasions. Do you remember Hemingway's definition of courage, "grace under pressure"? That's the Calibre de Cartier Diver.