Cartier & Orient: King of Jewelers vs. King of Affordable Watches

December 14th, 2012 Posted in Watch Comparisons | 11 Comments

To most, Cartier is best known for diamonds and jewelry, not so much watches. That said, the Cartier Tank Francaise is an exceptional timepiece that dates back to 1917 when the first Cartier Tank model was released.

On the other hand, Orient is best known for affordable timepieces, not so much diamonds and jewelry. The Orient CFDAC004W is also an exceptional timepiece and one of Orient’s dressiest executive pieces.

So, today let’s pit the king of jewelers against the king of affordable timepieces in this online watches debate, and let you be the judge.

Check them out.

Cartier Tank Francaise

As the name suggests, Cartier was inspired by the introduction of the tough and powerful tank during World War I, and thus created the first “Tank” watch in 1917. The Tank Francaise evolved from this original model.

The Tank Francaise is undoubtedly a dressy watch, and as a result isn’t super equipped with things like water resistance (30m). However, this little machine still has a lot to offer. The square-shaped case was an innovative design during a time when wristwatches were just becoming popular. The Tank is small, just 28mm, and is suited for both men and women.

Of course, anything Cartier is going to cost you. The history and craftsmanship that goes into such a brand is remarkable, and at $4,500 (potentially less if you shop for online watches), you may be able to find an exceptional alternative with just as much history and craftsmanship.

Orient CFDAC004W

Very close in appearance to the Cartier Tank Francaise, the Orient CFDAC004W features a square-shaped stainless steel case and watch band, roman numerals, and date calendar. Most definitely one of Orient’s dressier watches, the CFDAC004W is a bit larger than the Tank but no less sleek and elegant.

Some other differences include the addition of a power reserve indicator on the CFDAC004W and much livelier blue accent colors on the dial as opposed to the subdued black of the Tank. Additionally the CFDAC004W features 50m water resistance (just one step up from the 30m of the Tank). The CFDAC004W also has basic mineral crystal as opposed to the sapphire crystal used to complete the Tank.

Quite similar, wouldn’t you say? Vastly different price-wise though. At $290 (and even less through many online watch retailers) the Orient CFDAC004W is a small fraction of the Tank but no less the watch.

Which watch would you wear and why? Leave a comment!

  1. 11 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Donal Hickey on Dec 12, 2012

    Excellent site! Very informative and well laid out. I will add a link on my Facebook. Happy Christmas from Ireland and keep up the good work!

  3. By iris tidwell on Dec 16, 2012

    the only watch to have is an orient watch dependable and strong/

  4. By amy on Dec 28, 2012

    I like the Cartier Tank Francaise, its smaller and would fit my wrist far better. Very sleek.

  5. By phil on Jan 6, 2013

    New in this madness, I’ve got friends owning some Orients and will definitely purchase some in the future. I think the Orient makes more sense compared to the Cartier’s Tank, I’mtalking about being affordable. Will definitely sell some Orient in my shops…

  6. By Patricia Kirk on Jan 9, 2013

    Very beautiful watches and the size is great

  7. By Patricia Kirk on Jan 9, 2013

    Very beautiful Orient watch and the size is perfect

  8. By Naomi on Jan 15, 2013

    These appear very well made and stylish.

  9. By DEBORAH DOYLE on Jan 16, 2013

    you have the best watches and very stylish.

  10. By BERT on Feb 1, 2013

    Ive been reading everything about orient the orient star looks like a very very exlant watch at 1.100.00 with. Gmt some day I hope to own one!

  11. By Ken DaSilva~Hill on Mar 15, 2013

    It has just come to my attention that there may be many Fake ( replica ?) Orient watches being offered through various websites. Whilst browsing Orient Divers Watches, in intending to find a reliable supplier in the UK, I have come across a site which seems to offer a variety of quality watch makes all at prices around $200. These are noted under ‘Replica Watches’ but apparently are shown with the original makers specifications below each model. This makes it difficult to understand if one is buying the real thing or a copy. Orient watches are very prominent on this site. I can understand why these items are being copied, as the high profit margin on cheaply produced fakes ( even those of high quality ) and ease of sale through websites, makes it simple to make vast amounts of money from unknowing consumers who think they are getting a bargain. However, this begs the question, how does one know who to trust when buying a watch these days.
    I was recently in Paraguay, where I was shown in a nice neat shop, a counter full of latest model Citizen watches. My suspicions were aroused when an Eco-Drive watch I inspected would not start after being exposed to light, the similar but working watch that was next produced had the same serial number as the non working watch! A closer examination of the face made me more suspicious still, and made me suspect that the watch was actually fitted with a standard quartz movement rather than the Eco-Drive. A casual buyer would likely not have been conversant enough with Citizen watches to notice the very subtle differences in the typeface, or the serial number situation, and thinking they had bought a bargain watch, would have been happy till the battery ran down!. The shop had Citizen advertising in the windows and above the shopfront, although they also sold many other makes of watches too. The decider for me was that the watches came with no box, no documents apart from a handbook and ‘guarantee’ which was only applicable to Paraguay.
    It seems to me that one should be very careful who one deals with when buying any watch. It may cost rather more, but going to the manufactures website and finding an official dealer, is likely to be the only way one can be sure not to be buying a junk watch or lining a profiteers pocket. One of the delights of a good watch is knowing that it is a quality item, surely we owe it to ourselves to own the real thing, rather that the ‘lookalike’.

  12. By Paul D. Sullivan, Arlington on Apr 18, 2013

    I’ve had my CFDAC004W for almost 2 1/2 years now, and is one of my favorite Orients. The case is very well executed and the bracelet is one of the best of all the Orients in my collection, including some of the Star models I own. To this day the watch is VERY accurate, keeping an error of under +/- 3 sec. per day.

11 comments | Tell us what you think!