Cartier was founded in 1847 when Louis-François Cartier, then an apprentice to Parisian jeweler Adolphe Picard, took over the business when his master passed away. By 1853, young Louis-François had become a favorite of Napoleon III’s cousin Princess Mathilde, who helped Cartier gain entry to Parisian society.
For the next quarter century, Cartier was strictly a jeweler, but in 1874, Louis-François’s son Alfred gained the company’s reins. He in turn brought his sons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, into the firm—it was this third generation of Cartiers that would make the Paris jeweler’s name synonymous with luxury wristwatches.
The first Cartier wristwatches were diamond-studded bracelets for ladies, which were introduced in 1888 and languished until Parisian fashions changed enough in the mid-1890s to encourage the adornment of a bare wrist with a watch.
But the real wristwatch breakthrough came in 1904, when, according to Cartier lore, a Brazilian aviation pioneer named Alberto Santos-Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier of the shortcomings of fumbling with a pocket watch on a short test flight. Cartier made his friend a flat, square wristwatch called, appropriately, the Santos. In the process, Cartier popularized wristwatches in France and throughout the world.
In 1912, Cartier introduced the oval Baignoire and tortoise-shell shaped Tortue models, followed in 1917 by Cartier’s most famous early wristwatch, the Tank, which was reportedly inspired by the design of Renault tanks used during World War I. Rudolph Valentino wore a Tank in the 1921 silent classic The Sheik.
In the early 1920s, Cartier partnered with fellow Frenchmen Jaeger and Breguet to produce movements for its watches. Other illustrious Cartier collaborators included Swiss makers Vacheron Constantin, Patek Phillipe, and Audemars Piguet.
During the 1920s, Cartier started stamping its watches with four-digit reference numbers—today, knowledgeable collectors know to look for and verify these codes before purchasing...
By 1940, Cartier had introduced a motoring watch, with a curved shape that was designed to be worn on the inside of the wrist—the winder was on the back of the watch, against the wearer’s skin, rather than the side. And then, in 1942, after the death of Louis Cartier, the company began several decades of stagnation.
Countless variations of the Tank appeared (in the Chinoise, horizontal bars at the top and bottom of the dial rest on the Tank’s vertical "treads"), and in 1965 there was even a watch whose body was shaped like a parallelogram. But it was not until the Must de Cartier in 1976 and the reissue of the Santos in 1978 that the firm was able to reestablish itself as a player on the wristwatch scene.
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Tasha Robinson-White, Former Business Executive, Confidant to Floyd ...Eurweb.com, April 30th
There was an expensive new car, $100,000 in jewelry that included a Cartier watch, diamond earrings, the replacement of the diamond solitaire in her wedding ring, and more. Being so close to Mayweather for so long greatly impacted Robinson-White's ...Read more
At The Heart Of A Watch, Tested By TimeKPBS, April 24th
My father held her hand for a long moment, and slid his fingers along her skin until they found her wrist and the steel-and-gold Cartier watch wrapped around it. He turned her arm over and unclasped it and slipped it onto my wrist where it has sat on...Read more
Robbers steals £5k Cartier watch from motorist in KilburnBrent and Kilburn Times, April 22nd
Robbers steals £5k Cartier watch from motorist in Kilburn. 10:55 22 April 2015. Lorraine King. A Cartier Santos 100 like this was stolen? Archant. The hunt is on to find two robbers who stole a £4,000 Cartier watch from a motorist in Kilburn...Read more
The Clé de Cartier Might Be the Most Comfortable Watch EverEsquire (blog), April 20th
Cartier will introduce its new Clé de Cartier watch later this week, a signature luxury timepiece that aims to eliminate the bulging, sharp edges that make some watches uncomfortable. The result is a sleek, elegant timepiece that looks as good as it feels...Read more
These Are the FactsVulture, April 13th
He wants to go to trial, and while Matt is appropriately worried about Wesley — whom he only knows from the tick of his ridiculously hard-to-read Cartier watch — he's incredibly discomfited when he realizes that a woman in the jury is being blackmailed...Read more
It pays to be Conor McGregor's girlfriend: Dee Devlin shows off €30k watchIrish Independent, April 8th
Devlin works full-time with her other half, and is enjoying the perks of celebrity as she shared a photo of a recent gift, a €30,000 Cartier watch. The diamond encrusted Tortue watch retails for approximately €27,000 and comes in a variety of colours...Read more
Cartier Watch Wants Vibrating Diamonds To Be A Woman's Best FriendForbes, February 19th
I cover both timepieces and other luxury items that interest me such as cars and technology. An unshakable interest in wrist watches mixed with a passion for curiosity afforded me the opportunity to make them my career. My website aBlogtoWatch.com is...Read more
Exclusive: Woman Hopes To Reunite Cartier Watch With Owner In Time For ...CBS Local, February 11th
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Jana Cassidy had just moved and was sorting through boxes when she found something she'd nearly forgotten about for two decades. “I needed something out of storage, and I came across the watch I found almost 20 years ...Read more