For anyone who is considering purchasing any type of luxury good, the first question should never be: is it worth the investment? After all, it is a luxury item, and luxury items are not always meant to be “investments”.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) made a recent ruling pertaining to luxury brands and their right to stop sales of fake replicas of their products online through Amazon in Europe. Cartier has been forced to aggressively protect its designs from bootleggers attempting to replicate their pieces and sell them for mere fractions of the cost of the genuine product made by Cartier. Therefore, it is crucial when you decide to purchase a Cartier item, you only make that buy through a reputable seller, like the Cartier website or a Cartier store.
Here's what the ECJ said:
“The quality of luxury goods is not simply the result of their material characteristics, but also of the allure and prestigious image which bestows on them an aura of luxury.”
In other words, sporting a Cartier watch or ring is often about flexing luxury, as opposed to gaining any monetary return on investment. The quality of the product is important to those who want to purchase a genuine piece, while those looking for a replica do not seem to care about the level of quality it was crafted with, but rather only care about having the ability to show off a luxury piece (even though it is actually fake).
Before we delve deeper into the Cartier brand and whether or not buying their products is worth it, let's take a look at a few examples that demonstrate the reality of luxury merchandise and the impact that depreciation has on those items.
Depreciation of Luxury Goods at a Glance
Luxury cars lose their value the moment you drive them off of the dealer's lot. Your gleaming new investment will drop in value at least 10% during your first month of owning it. After the first 12 months of driving your precious gem around town, it will drop more than 20%. It will then lose 10% annually over the next four years. If you calculate the math, these numbers mean that within five years of owning it, your beloved car will only be worth about 40% of the total cost that you paid for it, a measly return on investment.
Many luxury cars depreciate expeditiously the first five years. For instance, the Maserati Quattroporte will lose 72.2 per cent of its value within five years and the BMW 7 Series will lose 71.3 per cent. Electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3, will drop in value 71 per cent and 70.9 per cent, respectively. It is safe to say that the decision to purchase a luxury car should be based on genuine desire for the vehicle (and quite possibly status), not resale value.
We all love our cell phones, but they depreciate faster than a luxury car loses its value. If you analyze resale values, iPhones are the best bet, as they retain value better than androids or other smartphones. However, an iPhone will still lose approximately 34 per cent of its original value within the first month of owning it.
No matter how much it means to you, and regardless of the fact that you will only wear it once, your wedding gown will depreciate tremendously, as well. It might surprise you to find out that even big-name designer wedding gowns worn by celebrities depreciate more than 50 per cent of their original price. The bedazzled crystal-encrusted gown worn by Beyonce in her “Best Thing I Never Had” video was fashioned by Barraci. Regardless, that gown is listed for sale for only $30,000, as opposed to the original price of $80,000, which is merely a 37.5 per cent return.
The Value of Cartier Bracelets
We are discussing the value of Cartier items, though, right? Products like the coveted Cartier Love Bracelet, which locks on the wrist of the owner via a specially designed screwdriver (and cannot be taken off without it).
Is it worth swiping your card for $9,000?
Cartier, as a brand, holds its own in the luxury industry. The brand started out as a family business in Paris by Louis-François Cartier, and has been around since 1847. They have certainly mastered the technique of remaining relevant in the luxury market.
The “Love” bracelet may be the most sough after piece of jewelry in the Cartier line. Introduced in 1969, it has been brought back up to status symbol level, according to AdWeek, by the Millennial generation. Kylie Jenner has been seen wearing five Love Bracelets on one wrist, if that tells you anything about the popularity. The bracelet is simply made – two gold plated C-shaped halves are clamped together and then, using the miniature screwdriver that comes with the bracelet, two tiny screws lock it into place on the owner's wrist, a symbol that is meant “to sanctify inseparable love."
Their “How Far Would You Go For Love” campaign launched on Facebook, the perfect place for Cartier to reach a younger audience. (If social media is not relevant, what is?)
The focused “Juste un Clou” advertising campaign that Cartier launched in 2017 also demonstrated Cartier's ability to remain relevant. In case you missed it, the jewelry series surrounds a bracelet that appears to be a nail wrapped around the wrist, hence the name of the jewelry, which literally translates from French to English: “Just A Nail.” (Yes, the type of nail that a carpenter pounds with a hammer.)
The style of the bracelets did not have to be up your alley, because the “Juste Un Clou” campaign only showed glimpses of it. Instead of focusing on the bracelet itself, the “Juste Un Clou” adverts enticed potential buyers with excellent soundtracks and quick clips showing people having a lot of fun. One of the adverts shows a woman driving a loud and fast convertible. As she shifts the gear lever, you can see a quick flash of the bracelet.
Another woman is jumping on a bed in a lavish bedroom, another is dancing on a stage with spotlights surrounding her, and another clip shows a woman swirling around, each cut with a one-second peek at the bracelet. Men are trick skateboarding, women are laughing and doing donuts in a convertible, a couple is jumping, fully clothed, into a pool, and there are more split-second peeps at the bracelet, both men and women wearing it. As the advert nears the end, the clips get shorter and the music faster.
Even though the “Juste Un Clou” bracelet shows up numerous times during the advert, it is nearly impossible to discern exactly what type of product the commercial is promoting. By the end of the advertisement, though, consumers are left to wonder if they are missing out on any fun. Cartier's marketing was on-point with relevant positioning in the luxury market. Fast convertibles, fancy hotel rooms, men in suits and women in elegant clothes, all having exciting fun and wearing a version of the bracelet that looks to the naked eye like a warped gold or silver nail.
With marketing that caters to the right demographics to attract potential buyers to their products, Cartier hits the nail on the head. They have yet to land on “Embarrassing Branding Mistakes” or “Worst Product Ever” lists and they continue to find their way onto lists such as Business Insider's “Brands that Dominated the Luxury Sector.” Forbes has them listed as #64 in the luxury industry, with a $10.7 billion brand value and $7.4 billion in sales annually.
Some may disagree (and we can agree to disagree), but since Cartier jewelry is so timeless, and it comes back into vogue over and over again over the time, it is definitely worth dishing out your dough for. On the resale level, Cartier jewelry not only retains the original value, jewelry pieces made by the brand often appreciate in value, especially if the item is a signed vintage piece.
Do Cartier Watches Hold Their Value?
Despite brand relevancy in the luxury market, most of Cartier's watches are not as distinctive as something like a Rolodex watch, for instance. It does not matter which particular Rolex watch we are talking about, either. If you see one attached to someone's wrist, you know, without a doubt and at first glance, that it is a Rolodex. Regardless, if you followed Cartier back to the beginning of time, they actually started making watches before they made anything else. To compare, Rolodex was not even conceived until 1956, long after Cartier had already created a large footprint in the luxury watch market.
Cartier watches come in all shapes and sizes today, making it difficult to recognize the brand on a person's wrist immediately. However, their iconic square-shaped watches featuring roman numerals on white backgrounds are dead giveaways of the original Cartier style. If you purchase a Cartier watch, you can expect it to provide you with excellent resale value. In fact, most classic watches designed by Cartier can be resold at a higher price than the amount they were acquired, because they are considered vintage timepieces that will last forever, as long as they are cared for properly.
Like Cartier jewelry, you almost cannot go wrong snapping up a Cartier watch. Be it a unique watch, like the rainbow banded La Californienne which sells for $3,750, or something more classic like the Tank Americaine, which goes for almost ten times that price at $33,600, your money will be well invested.
Taking Care of Your Luxury Jewelry After the Purchase
Remember that luxury items are only worth a certain value if you take care of them and maintain them. This may mean that you have to take your jewelry and watches for a professional cleaning once in a while.
Keep all of your jewelry and watches away from surfaces that are chemically treated and avoid leaving them on wood, as both can tarnish or stain your precious pieces. Ziploc bags are some of the best keepers of jewelry and watches, because moisture and air are their worst enemies. Be sure to squish all of the air out of the bag before you seal it and store it away. Other enemies include: perfume, hair spray, and lotions.
Wearing your silver jewelry when you are in the sauna or swimming is a no-no, as well, and keep your silver away from your gold, because gold has a tendency to scratch easily. If you have the individual boxes or soft cloth bags that your jewelry originally came in, there is nothing wrong with putting them right back in there.
Surprisingly, chalk can be your jewelry's best friend, because it is a great absorbent of moisture, or you can pack your precious silver with silica packs to preserve it. If your jewelry is encrusted with gemstones, keep it out of direct sunlight, as it can dull your stones. No matter what anyone tells you, refrain from using that home remedy that tells you to use toothpaste on your jewelry to clean it. Toothpaste can be too abrasive and wreak havoc on your jewelry over time.
All of us have that one piece of jewelry or that special watch that we absolutely love and wear all of the time, but you should rotate your jewelry. Give it a break once in a while. Show off something new for a change.
Finally, at the end of the day, when you take off your jewelry or watch, give it a quick wipe-down with a cloth that is specifically anti-tarnish before you pack it away. This way, any oils, moisture, or dust that it came into contact with during the day while you were wearing it will be whisked away.
Cartier: The Bottom Line
Trends come and go. Styles evolve throughout the decades. Jewelry and watches will always be in vogue, though. Timeless pieces designed by Cartier can be passed on from generation to generation, turning these investments into family heirlooms that will be cherished by great granddaughters or great grandsons - and beyond. Not only will Cartier jewelry and watches last several lifetimes, they will continue to hold their value, and possibly appreciate over time.