Founded in 1847, Cartier was the creation of master jeweller Louis-Francois Cartier. Originally synonymous with the creation of high end jewellery, this is a famous luxury name that has expanded into the world of haute horlogerie, launching a vast array of luxury timepieces for both men and women.
Although Louis-Francois was the man who launched the company, it was in fact his grandsons that were to bring Cartier international acclaim by opening boutiques in some of the most influential cities around the world and by pushing innovation within the company.
One of these key innovations was the creation of the first modern wristwatch by Louis Cartier in 1904, which was a significant moment in the company’s watching making history. This built on from the ground work that had already been done, as the brand had designed and manufactured pocket watches and necklaces with watch movements throughout the 19th century.
Louis Cartier initially had the inspiration for producing Cartier watches from his friend and aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The idea was to produce a watch that allowed Alberto to check the prevailing time whilst flying; as a result, the Santo name was used for a collection of watches for the highly respected Cartier company.
Whilst Louis Cartier was very much behind the innovation of the wristwatch for the brand, all of the grandsons of the founder were responsible for the company’s growing international significance. As boutiques in Paris, London and New York opened, its reputation for the most exquisite quality jewellery and timepieces grew with the people who could afford these luxury items.
Over the years, as the brand has continued to grow and uphold its well deserved reputation for quality, one of the main strengths of the company has been its diversity. With a number of diversely styled watches, it has been possible for Cartier to appeal to a broad customer base with different tastes and requirements from their timepieces.
Tank has become an iconic member of the family of Cartier watches, and similarly the Ballon Bleu, Pasha, Roadster and Santos have attracted their own admirers and the interest of collectors. More recently, the launch of the Calibre 1904MC in 2011 has been another momentous moment in the history of Cartier watches.
The reason for this is that it was the first time that the company had used its own manufacture movement, with the self-winding movement being fitted in the new model, the Calibre de Cartier. This model range was later expanded in 2013 to include a fully integrated chronograph movement, Calibre 1904-CH MC, with its column wheel visible via an exhibition case back.
Another great moment for the company in recent years was the release of the Calibre de Cartier Diver in 2014, which represented a new genre of watch for the brand, a diver’s watch. This particular model attracted critical acclaim from the world press for combining robust specification and the handsome, luxurious design that has been associated with the Cartier name for decades.
In addition to diversity, Cartier watches have stood apart from others by showing their willingness to compete with the mostly highly respected and revered Swiss and international watch brands, by producing perpetual calendars, minute repeaters and tourbillions. Furthermore, the company has released a number of skeletonised watches that freely disclose the movement within.
With watches for both men and women, the Cartier brand remains one of the most successful luxury watch makers in the world, bringing a substantial quotient of style and a diverse array of designs. As a result, there is likely to be a suitable timepiece to fulfil anyone’s desires from this innovative, luxury brand founded over a century ago.