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A comprehensive archive of CARTIER Watches. Each model or type is featured with detailed pictures & specifications to tell you virtually everything you need to know about CARTIER wristwatches we've handled since 2005.
Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier when he took over the workshop of his master. In 1874 his son, Alfred Cartier took over the administration of the company, but it was Alfred's sons Louis, Pierre & Jacques, who were responsible for establishing the world-wide brand name of Cartier.
In 1904, Louis Cartier met the Brazilian aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who complained of the unreliability & impracticality of using pocket watches while flying. Cartier rose to the challenge, designing a flat wristwatch with a distinctive square bezel. This watch was not only a hit with Santos-Dumont, but also with Cartier's many clients. Thus, out of this timeless design, the "Santos" was born. This was the first men's wristwatch (Patek Phillipe made the first wristwatch, but for a woman & as a one-off). Incredibly enough, this watch is still produced today in much the same form.
Louis retained responsibility for the Paris branch, moving to the Rue de la Paix, in 1899. He was responsible for some of the company's most celebrated designs, like:
In 1907, Cartier signed a contract with Edmond Jaeger, who agreed to exclusively supply the movements for Cartier watches. By this time, Cartier had branches in London, New York & St. Petersburg & was quickly becoming one of the most successful watch companies in the world. The introduction of the Baignoire & Tortue models (both of which are still in production today) took place in 1912, followed by the Tank model's debut in 1917. In 1932, the watertight watch made especially for the Pasha of Marrakesh - raised the bar even higher. Needless to say, the innovations, both in terms of design & technology, continued apace.
In 1917, inspired by the newly introduced war machines on the Western Front, Louis Cartier designed the most famous Cartier watch, the Cartier Tank watch. This line too has survived, with over thirty varieties now being made. The watch has been a favourite of such people as:
In the early 1920s Cartier formed a joint company with Edward Jaeger (of the famed Jaeger-LeCoultre company) to produce movements solely for Cartier. Thus was the famed European watch & clock company born, although Cartier continued to use movements from other great makers. Cartier watches can be found with movements from:
It was also during this period that Cartier began adding its own reference numbers to the watches it sold, usually by stamping a four-digit code on the underside of a lug. In fact, many collectors refuse to accept a Cartier as original, unless these numbers are present.
Jacques took charge of the London operation & eventually moved to the current address at New Bond Street.
Pierre Cartier established the New York City branch in 1909, moving in 1917 to the current location of 653 Fifth Avenue, the Neo-Renaissance mansion of Morton Freeman Plant (son of railroad tycoon Henry B. Plant) which Cartier bought from the Plants in exchange for $100 in cash & a double-stranded natural pearl necklace valued at the time at $1 million.
Among the Cartier team was Charles Jacqueau, who joined Louis Cartier in 1909 for his entire life, & Jeanne Toussaint, who was Director of Fine Jewelry from 1933 on.Ring-Design > Cartier 1969. Ring-Design > Cartier 1969.
After the death of Pierre in 1964, Jean-Jacques Cartier (Jacques's son), Claude Cartier (Louis's son), & Marionne Claudelle (Pierre's daughter) - who respectively headed the Cartier affiliates in London, New York & Paris - sold the businesses.
In 1972 a group of investors led by Joseph Kanoui bought Cartier Paris. President Robert Hocq, the creator of the concept of "Les Must de Cartier" (a staff member is said to have said "Cartier, It's a must!" meaning something one simply must have) in collaboration with Alain Dominique Perrin, General Director, began introducing new products representative of the status & quality of the Cartier of the past. In 1974 & 1976 respectively, Cartier London & Cartier New York were bought back. In 1979 the Cartier interests were combined together, creating "Cartier Monde" uniting & controlling Cartier Paris, London & New York.
Cartier's largest stores are found in:
Cartier watches are favoured by many notables & celebrities:
Wikipedia contributors. Cartier SA. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. June 18, 2008, 00:55 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/withindex.php?title=Cartier_SA&oldid=220044629. Accessed June 28, 2008.