Cartier

'A little bit of Cartier is good for everyone'Cartier New York advertisement, 1972

Jeweller to royalty, pioneer of the men's wristwatch and creator of the fascinating 'Mystery Clock,' Cartier is a name that is known for exceptional luxury the world over. Cartier watches have featured movements from the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin, and now their own 'Calibre de Cartier.'

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Cartier History

The History of Cartier Watches

Often overlooked by the serious watch enthusiast, Cartier watches have more history, relevance and pedigree than some might first realise. Although not predominately a watchmaker, rather a purveyor of fine jewellery and leather accessories, Cartier watches have had significant influence on the horological evolution of centuries past.

Inherited from master watchmaker Adolph Picard in 1847, apprentice Louis-François Cartier took over the Paris-based workshop at the age of 29. His aim was to continue the tradition of fine watch and jewellery making, and before long, the reputation of Cartier watches had spread across the country. Less than ten years after taking over, the sale of Cartier watches transcended to royalty, specifically to Princess Mathilde, cousin of Emperor Napoleon III - the first of Cartier's many aristocratic customers.

As Alfred grew older, he enlisted the help of his three sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who helped to take Cartier watches global. Cartier boutiques opening across Paris garnered much interest and excitement from the social elite who flocked to join the ever-growing list of clients purchasing the exquisite Cartier watches on offer.

Pierre spread the wings of Cartier further still by opening a boutique on New Burlington Street in London. This was in 1902, the same year of the coronation of King Edward VII, a move that proved to be a wise one – only two years later, Cartier received a royal warrant to become the King’s official purveyor of fine jewellery. The King had declared Cartier as, “joaillier des Rois, Roi des joailliers,” or, jeweller to Kings, King of jewellers, and in that same year they received another appointment as official purveyor to King Alfonso XIII of Spain as well. The appointments went on to include the courts of Portugal, Russia, Siam, Greece, Serbia, Belgium, Romania, Egypt, Albania, Orleans and Monaco. Cartier watches and jewellery were bigger than ever.

Aviator - and friend of Louis Cartier - Alberto Santos-Dumont complained that the size, shape and unreliability of pocket watches made them unsuitable for flying. Cartier designed a square, flat timepiece that fastened to the user’s wrist with a leather band, and thus, the first men’s wristwatch was born. The Cartier Santos was a hit with the pilot, and was the turning point in fashion for men's wrist watches.

Cartier watches continued to develop with the expertise of watchmaker Edmond Jaeger, who later co-founded Jaeger-LeCoultre. Jaeger was an expert at designing ultra-thin movements for pocket watches, which provided the perfect basis for a movement for the more compact wristwatch. Since then, movements from Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Movado - and even their own in-house movements - have been used in Cartier watches.

The Cartier ethos is to celebrate form as much as function, and the pieces they create are often bold and mesmerising. A notable invention was that of the ‘Mystery Clock,’ a mantelpiece clock whose hands appeared to float inside a transparent crystal face. Cartier’s contribution to art, culture and design is like no other jeweller to date, and long shall its emotive creations continue to amaze, bedazzle and enthral all those who experience them.

Cartier Series

Cartier Ballon Bleu

The Cartier Ballon Bleu is one of Cartier's most distinctive and original designs, named after the swooping curves of the case and crystal that... read more

Cartier Tank Francaise Chronoflex

Slender and elegant, the Cartier Tank surprisingly takes inspiration from the tracked war machines that Louis Cartier saw in use on the Western... read more

Cartier Must 21

The Cartier Must 21 range highlights Cartier's originality and fresh-thinking, taking familiar Cartier design details like the Roman numerals and... read more

Cartier Panthere

The Cartier Panthere collection, designed by style icon Chloë Sevigny, draws from the powerful grace of the panther to evoke a sense of... read more

Cartier Pasha

In the mid 1930's, the Pasha of Marrakech asked Cartier to make a watch that could be worn in his swimming pool, and so the Cartier Pasha... read more

Cartier Roadster

The Cartier Roadster takes its inspiration from the sleek, metallic curves of the automotive industry of the 40's and 50's, celebrating all that is... read more

Cartier Santos

Inventor and pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont wanted a watch that could be wrist-worn for use whilst flying, and Cartier obliged by making... read more

Cartier Tank Americaine

In 1989, the watchmakers at the Cartier workshop in New York set about remodelling the original Cartier Tank to give it a design influenced... read more

Cartier Tank Chinoise

The very first Cartier Tank Chinoise was created in 1922, five years after the original. Sharing the same DNA as its lineage, the Tank Chinoise... read more

Cartier Tank Francaise

Drawing influence from the classical square shapes of traditional French architecture, the Cartier Tank Francaise was an immediate success... read more

Cartier Tank Solo

Introduced in 2004, the Cartier Tank Solo is a fresh interpretation of the original 1917 Cartier Tank, whose design was inspired by the rolling... read more

Cartier Baignoire

Originally introduced to the world alongside the Cartier Tortue in 1912, the Cartier Baignoire was designed by Cartier as a feminine alternative... read more

Cartier Calibre de Cartier

In 2010, Cartier broke into both the sports watch and in-house movement scene at the same time with the Calibre de Cartier. Whilst still... read more

Cartier Ronde Solo

The most traditional looking watch of Cartier's range, the Cartier Ronde Solo still lends itself perfectly to the classic Cartier touches that make... read more

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier

The Cartier Rotonde de Cartier range is a showcase of watchmaking expertise, from tourbillions to perpetual calendars and even minute... read more

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

The Cartier Tank has evolved since its inception, gradually changing with the times to stay fresh and modern, however many believe that the... read more

Cartier Haute Joaillerie

As well as being a watchmaker, Cartier is also a jeweller, and one of the world's best. The inevitable combination... read more

Cartier Tortue

Cartier introduced the first Tortue in 1912, a woman's wristwatch with bold, full curves, and then again for men... read more

Cartier Collection Privee

The Cartier Collection Privee is an exclusive range of Cartier watches that exhibit the best examples of watchmaking from the French brand... read more

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The Watch Magazine

Cartier Ballon Bleu

Cartier Ballon Bleu

Posted 28 Nov 2011

Cartier has always been pushing boundaries when it comes to watch style and design. Although other manufacturers have made their name by producing wonderfully exquisite and ornate movements, Cartier prefers to stun its... more

Ladies Night

Ladies Night

Posted 09 Aug 2011

Whether it’s a film premiere or a meal for two, a lady wants to look her best. It would be a fashion travesty to put on a stunning outfit and then spoil it by wearing a nasty watch. So what makes the difference between a... more

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