We are quick to buy a Cartier watch, simply on the basis that we assume or know it is of good quality, but do you know where Cartier is from, or how it has turned into one of the most sought after watch brands in today’s lifestyle? Let’s get you up to speed!
Louis-Francois Cartier is the founder and started the company in 1847 in Paris. Mr Cartier was known for his charisma and leadership, which formed the building blocks for this powerful brand. Mr Cartier developed a fascination with watches and understood their importance which he then used to turn these timepieces into works of art. Cartier’s reputation grew when his watches started to be worn by the most important people in the European area at the time and dubbed him the “Jeweler of King and King of Jewelers”.
Mr Cartier had the ability to revive the art in horology of which he created jewels and placed them into his watches turning his work into jewellery watches like the picture below.
In 1899, Mr Cartier handed over his business to his three sons which continue to run it as a family business. Even though they don’t make their own watch movements in the present day, they have a great partnership with Edmond Jaeger ( such as Jaeger-LeCoultre) which supplies their movements.
Above, are examples of some of the first hand made mainstream watches for men made in Paris, known as the Santos-Dumont and the Tank Models. Santos-Dumont produced these watched with Cartier. What helped Cartier gain is popularity was the iconic square design and the Tank model.
The Tank model, one of the most famous models, was released in 1917 during the WWI. It was made in honour of the tough, new Allied tanks apparently.
Here (above) you can see one of the first mainstream watches for men which also has a square-like case. This watch is the famous Santos-Dumont model.
Cartier had to introduce and persuade the idea of wristwatches for men to the Parisian aristocracy. In those times, the classic pocket watch was the only type of timepiece men carried. They also introduced the first waterproof wristwatch in 1931, and in Paris many other variations of watches which included covered wristwatches, shutter watches, the chronograph, reversible watches and lastly the minute repeater.
Then in 1939, Cartier opened a London workshop which they used to create more modern designs. As their popularity picked up, they introduced a sapphire and diamond range of watches in the 1940s. Later in the 1960s, they launched the “crash watch” also known as the “Dali” watch which is a limited edition as only 15 were made in that year.
Cartier always remains ahead of their competition, especially in the 1980s by releasing 100 different models! Absolutely incredible for that time, especially because they kept to their classic design. When their London workshop closed in 1979, the company started using quartz movements in their wristwatches which allowed them to produce larger quantities.
Today, Cartier is still based in Paris, but is part of the Richemont Group of Luxury Brands and now produce jewellery and accessories as well.
Check out our collection of Vintage Pre Owned Cartier watches for sales right HERE.