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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Malaysian man admits to 3m yuan watch robbery in Beijing, but 'cannot remember ...South China Morning Post (subscription), November 25th
Moi Lit Leng , 39, was dubbed the “Silly Thief” by Chinese internet users after he robbed a Cartier watch store with a model gun and stole 11 watches worth more than 3 million yuan (HK$3.64 million) in March. Straight after the robbery, Moi took a taxi...Read more
How to Layer Your Jewelry Without Looking RidiculousMichigan Avenue Magazine, November 22nd
Tank Louis Cartier watch, Cartier (price on request). 630 N. Michigan Ave., 312-266-7440. Victoria necklace, Pomellato ($39,100). 41 E. Oak St., 312-649-9720. Horsebit necklace, Gucci Fine Jewelry ($9,950). See above. Cartier Paris Nouvelle Vague ring, ...Read more
From Barbara Taylor Bradford: A Life Story That DazzlesNew York Times, November 22nd
“The little Cartier watch, the blue sapphire ring, the pearls and my parrot — those are pieces I would never sell.” Proof of just how much some pieces mean to her came a few months ago when her “everyday” pearls from Ms. Richter's shop went missing...Read more
21 Most Expensive Cartier Watches in the WorldInsider Monkey (blog), November 8th
the 21 most expensive Cartier watches in the world, we tracked down all related auctions that took place in esteemed auction houses such as Sotheby's and Christies as well as various news websites reporting the sale of an expensive Cartier watch...Read more
Turn Any Watch Into A Smart Watch With ChronosForbes, November 6th
Don't want to trade your Cartier for a Fitbit? Chronos has the answer for watch collectors. Millennial entrepreneurs Mark Nichol and Luke Fromowitz launch Chronos to discreetly transform any watch into a fully connected time piece featuring touch...Read more
Richemont Drops on October Sales Decline, New Cartier CEOBloomberg, November 5th
Richemont shares fell the most in two months after a surprise sales drop in October and the departure of the head of jewelry and watch label Cartier, which leaves the Swiss luxury-goods maker's biggest brand without a permanent chief during the...Read more
The House That Cartier Skill BuiltInternational New York Times, November 2nd
He was using the fine, needle-like saw to cut the delicate dried petals of some Ecuadorian roses that had been dyed orange, green and turquoise — and now were being shaped to resemble the feathers of a parrot, for the dial of a Ballon Bleu du Cartier...Read more
This Pile of Vintage Cartier Watches Is a StealBloomberg, November 2nd
Not every rectangular Cartier watch is a Tank. Source: Christie's. Cartier's best known for the rectangular Tank watch, but there are plenty of other rectangular Cartiers here, too. Lot 19 is a strange Tank variant that has a similar shape and Roman...Read more