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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Kim Kardashian is Burning Through $1 Million a MonthLife & Style Weekly, March 12th
Between renovating her $11 million mansion and buying designer duds and gifts such as a $100,000 Cartier watch for fiancé Kanye West, sources tell Life & Style Kim's shelling out $1 million a month. “She literally says, 'I'm out of control with my...Read more
Teen claims €6500 Cartier watch gardai seized is hisHerald.ie, March 12th
Joseph Connors (19) has insisted the Cartier watch is his and wants it returned, Dublin District Court heard. The case was adjourned after Judge Cormac Dunne was told garda inquiries were not yet complete. Garda Eoin Kelly brought an application under ...Read more
Certified Timepieces Announces Mother's Day Sales on Customized Ladies ...PR Web (press release), March 12th
Here are some of the benefits of shopping for a used Rolex, Cartier watch or any other top of the line watch brands with Certified Timepieces. Authentic Timepieces Certified Timepieces specializes in selling genuine used Rolex watches. All the...Read more
Missouri pastor Chaplain Henry Gerecke who tried to save souls of Nazis at ...Daily Mail, March 10th
His valet, Robert Kropp, had carried Goering's gold Luftwaffe badge with diamonds, a Movado travel clock, a gold cigarette case inlaid with amethyst and monogrammed by Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, a gold-and-velvet cigar box, a Cartier watch set with ...Read more
Former lover of Victoria's Secret CEO Sharen Turney writing tell-all bookDaily Mail, March 10th
During their two-year romance, Turney allegedly promised to buy her boyfriend a multimillion dollar home in Naples' exclusive Port Royal community, but all he got was a Cartier watch. Things got more serious in 2010, when Turney was considering a ...Read more
FREE TRIAL – Limited time onlyGQ.com, February 24th
Nick Foulkes explores how French masters Cartier are still lending a touch of class to the everyday, from the birth of the modern wristwatch in 1904 to the present. The other day I was in Lisbon for an exhibition of fine jewellery by Cartier. I like...Read more
Police investigate Cartier watch theftDriffield Today, February 20th
Overnight on Tuesday 11 February thieves broke into the house on Hall Close by forcing open a downstairs window leading into the property's utility room and stole a Cartier Watch, described as being a Tank Fracais model with a square face. If you have...Read more
WatchTime.com: Milestones of Cartier watchesThe International News Magazine, February 12th
Aficionados, both new and longtime, can now expand their knowledge about historic Cartier watch models such as the Santos, the Torture, the Tank, the Pasha, and the Ballon Bleu. The downloadable feature, “WatchTime Spotlight: Cartier – from the Cartier ...Read more