Cartier Ballon Bleu Chronograph Review
Let’s do a detailed review of the Ballon Bleu Chronograph and get you up-close-and-personal with one of Cartier’s more iconic watch collections.
In the past, we’ve done a pretty detailed and informative job at reviewing several Cartier Ballon Bleu watches which included small and mid-size models. However, the time has come to single out a series within this magnificent collection; the Cartier Ballon Bleu Chronograph.
Cartier Ballon Bleu Chronograph Review
Adding a chronograph to an already iconic watch is certainly a way to keep Cartier fans and watch enthusiasts excited and intrigued. Furthermore, most Cartier Ballon Bleu watches aren’t necessarily sized for men with the growing trend of larger watches with more wrist presence. In fact, most watches in Cartier’s Ballon Bleu family are smaller and more traditionally sized.
The 44mm case certainly fits within the now trending larger size watches and according to many die-hard enthusiasts, this is a celebrated design choice. At 14.8mm thick this watch case certainly has the size, weight and on-wrist feeling of a high-end luxury timepiece.
The Cartier Ballon Bleu Chronograph runs on a manufacture movement; the Cartier in-house caliber 1904-CH2 MC. This 31-jewel automatic chronograph movement oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour or 4Hz and has a 48-hour power reserve. On the reserve side of the case, there are eight visible screws that keep the case tightly closed and a transparent, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal case back allows you to see the inner workings of the watch’s marvelous mechanics.
The 1904-CH2 Chronograph movement varies slightly from its predecessor, the 1904-CH which can be found in the Calibre de Cartier Chronograph series. The 1904-CH2 has the date at the 6 o’clock position instead of a small running seconds sub-dial like on the 1904-CH. Aside from having a few more jewels in the movement, the 1904-CH has a 12-hour counter where the Ballon Bleu Chronograph’s date window sits at the 9 o’clock position.
The dial on the Ballon Bleu Chronograph has all the design elements you would expect to see from any Ballon Bleu watch. This includes blued steel hands, the textured elegance of Cartier’s signature wavy guilloche dial pattern which radiates outwards from the center of the dial as well as its sub-dials.
The familiar black Roman numerals are gracefully tucked away under the sub-registers and this is seen throughout the Ballon Bleu collection on the dials of any model that have a moon phase complication.
They’ve eliminated the recessed and miniaturized Roman numeral for 3 o’clock as well as the 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock numerals that you typically would see on most watches in Cartier’s Ballon Bleu family. This is clearly because the room was needed for the Chronograph’s and small seconds sub-dial, and the date window. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it allows for a more symmetrical dial design than you would normally see on a Cartier Ballon Bleu wristwatch.
A fine second’s track is printed in black on a smooth, non-textured silver opaline area of the dial and this smooth area wraps around the inner dial and is then surrounded by a textured guilloche chapter ring. This motif seems to repeat itself until it reaches the perimeter of the dial which is also textured in a guilloche wavy pattern. The shape of the inner dial and chapter is where it gets interesting.
Whereas the date window on the left-hand side of the dial is noticeably smaller than the 30-minute counter on the right side, the inner dial has a bit of an asymmetrical shape to it. However, they used contrast to balance the visual weight by adding a fine black outline to the date aperture on the left.
The Ballon Bleu Chronograph exuberates class and sophistication, yet it also has a slightly sporty side to it. The Chronograph buttons are rectangular and have rounded edges and a beautifully polished finish.
Of course, the name Ballon Bleu is more than likely derived from the round blue cabochon that sits in the crown. While it’s probably more oval than spherical, this motif has always been a recurring theme throughout the collection.
In summation, the Ballon Bleu Chronograph is a highly welcomed addition to the already iconic collection and while there aren’t dozens of models from which to choose yet, Cartier has been slowly adding new models and letting this collection grow. Use the button below to browse all available models.