Ballon Bleu won't keep time and the local Cartier boutique won't help

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
Hi ladies and gentlemen,

I am wondering what your experience has been with your Cartier watches.

Mum bought herself a ballon bleu last October, which has been running very fast from the get-go.

She hurt her leg and had been monitoring her watch at home but decided that it wasn't good enough after finding that the watch was running 8 minutes faster 4 weeks after it had been reset.

I took it to Cartier for her and the boutique ran a function test then monitored it for about 10 days. Apparently the watch was "a couple seconds" faster which was within their norm, according to the lady at the servicing section. The boutique manager later told me that it was faster by 4 seconds per day but there's specific written record of the test result so I'm not sure who would be more accurate. In any case, 4 seconds is apparently within their standards.

Now, even if it was 4 seconds faster than the actual time per day, that's only 2 minutes over a month so I'm not sure how it became EIGHT minutes faster.

Cartier boutique manager has offered to either send it for further testing or replace the mechanical clock work inside the watch but both would require opening the watch, which mum refuses to allow.

The boutique manager insists that there's no defect and that it would be perfectly fine in terms of value as it would be like taking a car to servicing but mum doesn't believe that and frankly she doesn't trust him.

Considering we've never had any issues with other much cheaper automatic watches, like my cheap Seiko, the fact that there's such a substantial defect to a brand new watch doesn't seem right. We've also had other expensive watches like Piaget which have never had such issues.

The whole experience has been very upsetting for Mum who thought that this would be a lifetime investment piece. I know that this is not the most expensive watch on earth but for $25K, and a Cartier, surely the watch should be running on time at least for a few years..?!

She wants return the watch but the boutique manager insists that his offer is over and beyond the service objectively and legally expected of Cartier and won't provide a full refund or replacement. I disagree with that and will be looking at further action.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever had to escalate your complaint further up than your boutique manager?

It would be so helpful to hear what your experience has been with your Cartier watches and Cartier's customer service.

Thanks so much in advance! Here's pic of the actual watch.

IMG_1491355249.222042.jpg
 
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stmary

Member
Feb 10, 2011
1,303
288
Gorgeous watch. I think there's no harm for you to send in for further inspection. I too had problem with my quartz tank francaise, it just won't keep it time and had to go for repair 3 times before it is ok again (free repairs since it is still under warranty).
Worst come to worst you can always ask for an exchange.
I remember my siblings and I bought ronde de solo for our father and a few days later it stopped, we brought it back to the boutique in selfridges and they immediately exchanged it for another watch (same model).

good luck with your mom's watch. I hope she agrees to send it in for further inspection. No harm in it since it is still under warranty.
 
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6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
Gorgeous watch. I think there's no harm for you to send in for further inspection. I too had problem with my quartz tank francaise, it just won't keep it time and had to go for repair 3 times before it is ok again (free repairs since it is still under warranty).
Worst come to worst you can always ask for an exchange.
I remember my siblings and I bought ronde de solo for our father and a few days later it stopped, we brought it back to the boutique in selfridges and they immediately exchanged it for another watch (same model).

good luck with your mom's watch. I hope she agrees to send it in for further inspection. No harm in it since it is still under warranty.
Thanks for sharing your experience, stmary. Quartz movements are battery operated right..? It's odd that it would be so faulty that you had to have it fixed 3 times. How frustrating!

So at the very least, Cartier should be able to exchange the faulty watch with a new one in the same model. That's handy to know.

If this watch had been bought at a department store like David Jones here in Australia, I'm sure they would have provided a full refund, no questions.

I'm surprised Cartier has such dodgy service. 8 minutes x 12 = 1.5hr faster in a year! What the..
 

stmary

Member
Feb 10, 2011
1,303
288
Thanks for sharing your experience, stmary. Quartz movements are battery operated right..? It's odd that it would be so faulty that you had to have it fixed 3 times. How frustrating!

So at the very least, Cartier should be able to exchange the faulty watch with a new one in the same model. That's handy to know.

If this watch had been bought at a department store like David Jones here in Australia, I'm sure they would have provided a full refund, no questions.

I'm surprised Cartier has such dodgy service. 8 minutes x 12 = 1.5hr faster in a year! What the..
Yes it is battery operated, that is why it is mind boggling as to why it can't keep the time. 1.5 hr faster in a year is unacceptable. Do let us know how it goes with your mom's watch.
 

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
Thanks stmary. That's really upsetting to hear about your situation. Did they not offer you an exchange for a new watch? I can't believe your dad's watch stopped after 3 days either.. is this a pattern [emoji853]

I will post updates. I wonder if there are others who have had a similar experience with a Cartier auto watch..?
 
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KensingtonUK

Member
Jun 13, 2014
881
352
My BB is an automatic but has had similar watches. I think they have demagnetized it and did a full service Inside on the mechanicals twice and still have. It just exchanged it. The last time was almost a year ago and the boutique manager finally agreed saying if it happened again she would replace it. However, the managers at the boutique seem to have no power and say exchanges have to be approved by corporate which I think is ridiculous on a watch that is three years old and has any issues since it was a month old
 

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
My BB is an automatic but has had similar watches. I think they have demagnetized it and did a full service Inside on the mechanicals twice and still have. It just exchanged it. The last time was almost a year ago and the boutique manager finally agreed saying if it happened again she would replace it. However, the managers at the boutique seem to have no power and say exchanges have to be approved by corporate which I think is ridiculous on a watch that is three years old and has any issues since it was a month old
Oh no, that's horrible KensingtonUK. Even after the inside mechanicals had been replaced twice you had the same issues? How stressful! It's ok that some items turn out to be defective so long as you have great customer service to back it up but that doesn't seem to be the case at Cartier..

I might send a letter to the Australian Head Office and see what they say.. the boutique manager kept trying to tell me that there was nothing wrong with the watch and annoyingly repeat the mechanics of an automatic watch over and over.

Thanks so much for sharing KensingtonUK. Really appreciate it!
 

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
The next step is to run further tests and replace the interior, I believe. Why is your mother against opening the watch?
Thanks for the reply, LVoeletters!

Well she's very unhappy with the entire situation and also believes that opening & replacing the interior:

1) will devalue the watch;
2) will not fix the issue given that the test results (4 seconds faster per day) were not at all reflective of the actual experience (8 minutes over 1 month = 16 seconds faster per day);
3) should not be necessary for such a new watch.

From experience, an item that has a manufacturing defect tends to continue to be defective regardless of what further actions are done to it. She would much prefer a new replacement BB or refund.
 

kewave

O.G.
Nov 26, 2008
2,982
744
I have an automatic Santos. It's not the most reliable watch in terms of accuracy in keeping time.
My Rolex, Seiko & AP are much better.
Decided to go for quartz when I bought my Chanel after the not-so-impressive mechanical watch experience with Cartier.
 

Makenna

Member
Jan 24, 2012
2,469
311
Bay Area, CA
My BB stopped working 3 weeks after I bought it, completely stopped but it started up when I played around with it, after that it wouldn't keep time. I brought it back to the store and supposedly they checked everything and it's working fine and they changed the battery for me. Got it back from the store after a couple of weeks and that same night the band came off, had to bring it back to the store and again sent it out for repair. Picked it up after a week and maybe 3-4 weeks later the watch was running 2 hours behind, brought it back to the store and spoke to the manager to get a replacement but they wouldn't do a replacement for me. They sent the watch out for repair once again but this time they replaced the movement inside of the watch, took about 4-6 weeks and haven't had any problems since then. I would much prefer a replacement as well but Cartier wouldn't budge.
 

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
I have an automatic Santos. It's not the most reliable watch in terms of accuracy in keeping time.
My Rolex, Seiko & AP are much better.
Decided to go for quartz when I bought my Chanel after the not-so-impressive mechanical watch experience with Cartier.
Gosh.. you also had the same experience with other watches being much better on time. How is this possible when Cartier started out mainly has a jeweler and watchmaker?! They must have a shoddy quality assurance program :sad:

My BB stopped working 3 weeks after I bought it, completely stopped but it started up when I played around with it, after that it wouldn't keep time. I brought it back to the store and supposedly they checked everything and it's working fine and they changed the battery for me. Got it back from the store after a couple of weeks and that same night the band came off, had to bring it back to the store and again sent it out for repair. Picked it up after a week and maybe 3-4 weeks later the watch was running 2 hours behind, brought it back to the store and spoke to the manager to get a replacement but they wouldn't do a replacement for me. They sent the watch out for repair once again but this time they replaced the movement inside of the watch, took about 4-6 weeks and haven't had any problems since then. I would much prefer a replacement as well but Cartier wouldn't budge.
Wow, so from what everyone is telling me, Cartier makes less than average watches and has less than average quality and service standards.

Your experience sounds infuriating! This is exactly what mum wants to avoid as she can sense that this watch will most likely continue to give her issues.

What a headache.. mum should have just gone for the Bvlgari that she was previously eyeing up.

Thanks so much kewave and Makenna for sharing!
 

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
This is so concerning to read as I am planning to get an automatic BB for my next watch. Good luck OP! Please keep us updated on your mum's watch saga...
Don't buy it...! That's all I have to say... I'll keep you guys posted. More action to follow next week.
 

6efox

Member
Apr 30, 2014
230
288
So I've lodged a complaint with the Aust Cartier complaints team yesterday. The lady I spoke to, however, told me that she had learned in the Cartier training course +/-15 sec loss PER DAY for an automatic watch was normal and was within the international industry standards! What the. I told her that probably is true for vintage watches but I don't accept that should be the case for a brand new BB as it's a little more than a bracelet if that was the case. I think that's just absolutely ridiculous..

Oh and I forgot to mention this but when mum first bought the watch at the boutique, she asked the salesman if the silver part was gold to which he answered "yes, it's gold" so she assumed it was white gold. She got home and discovered it was stainless steel! She wouldn't have bought it had she known but decided to keep it as she still liked the look of it. Of course, this was before the she realised that the time was off.

Will post further once I've heard back from management.