Watches from Cartier embody perfection unlike any other luxury brand. Thanks to their innovative wristwatches, they have been considered a pioneer in the field for over 150 years. One of the first pilot's watches was made by this Parisian company.
- One of the most reputable luxury brands worldwide
- Watch manufacturer with in-house calibers
- Cartier Santos: one of the first pilot's watches in the world
- Cartier Tank: a cult watch with a square case
- Women's and men's watches
Cartier: A Pioneer in Watchmaking
The French company Cartier is famous for their fine jewelry, luxurious accessories, and elegant watches. The manufacturer is considered one of the pioneers of the craft; Cartier was one of the first companies to offer wristwatches at a time when pocket watches were still the dominant trend.
Cartier has set design standards, too. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Parisian manufacturer introduced the first square dial
. The Santos
, which was developed in 1904 especially for the Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos Dumont, is today one of Cartier's most famous wristwatches. The same can be said for the Tank
, another square timepiece which has been around since 1917. Over the decades, it's become an iconic design. Andy Warhol, Elton John, Jacques Chirac, Calvin Klein, and Yves Saint Laurent are all prominent wearers of this watch. The Tank and the Santos are available in different versions as both men's and women's watches
The Tonneau watch, introduced by Cartier in 1906, is also quite famous. Its shape is reminiscent of an upright barrel and the watch's curved design lends it a distinctly feminine touch. The Tortue from 1928 resembles a turtle, and the oval case of the Baignoire (French for bathtub) from 1957 was inspired by a bathtub, as its name suggests.
The Ballon Bleu
is round like a balloon. The crown on this women's and men's watch is set with a sapphire cabochon
kept safe from damage by a protective arch made of precious metal. A cabochon is a gem that has been shaped and polished, but not faceted. It has a flat underside and a domed surface.
Lovers of decorative watches will get their money's worth with a Cartier timepiece. If you like the style of a square or rectangular watch
, then look at the Tank and Santos collections. A pre-owned Santos in good condition can be bought for less than 1,000 euros. New, however, it costs around 3,000 euros. Models with 18-karat gold cases and diamond-set bezels cost over 30,000 euros. The Santos 100
, made in celebration of Santos's 100th birthday, costs 2,500 pre-owned in good condition; new, it starts at 3,700 euros. However, the version with a tourbillon and diamonds
costs over 200,000 euros.
The Tank is also square shaped. Pre-owned models are available for around 500 euros. New, they cost much more, running around 2,000 euros. There are models in this series that cost much more than 50,000 euros, as well. If you want a square watch with a tourbillon, expect to pay at least 80,000 euros.
If you're not a fan of the square case with the Tank and the Santos, there are other, rounder options. The Pasha
, an homage to the pasha of Marrakesh, is available pre-owned for around 1,400 euros. New, it starts around 2,500 euros. In gold
with a skeletonized dial
and set with diamonds, a new model costs over 100,000 euros.
A new Ballon Bleu can be purchased for around 3,000 euros. Since the series is comparably new, there aren't many pre-owned watches available for sale. However, pre-owned Ballon Bleus usually cost about the same and are often in very good condition.
Cartier Tank: A Cult Watch for Over 100 Years
Cartier developed the Tank in 1917 during the First World War, when the British utilized tanks in warfare for the first time. The square watch's design was based on these colossal steel giants and reminiscent of the tanks' tracks. One special feature of the Tank was the design of its unique lugs, which were part of the case. The strap fits seamlessly on the Tank with no space between it and the case. Cartier presented the American General John J. Pershing with the first prototype. In 1919, the watch came onto the market. The design caught on quickly with Cartier's unconventional customers. The Tank is available as both a women's and men's watch.
- Square wristwatch suitable for men and women
- Designed in 1917
- Design inspired by tank tracks
- Lugs integrated into the case
Cartier Santos: The Watch for Pilots
The Cartier Santos has been around since 1904. The Paris-based company designed the wristwatch for the famous Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos Dumont. In 1906, Dumont performed the first public engine-powered flight worldwide. During this record-breaking flight, he used the wristwatch Cartier designed especially for him. This meant he could keep both hands on the wheel while reading the time. The Cartier Santos is considered one of the first pilot's watches in the history of watchmaking. Starting in 1911, it was available to the public. The Santos introduced wristwatches to men; previously, they were predominantly worn by women.
- Developed in 1904 for the pilot Alberto Santos Dumont
- One of the first pilot's watches ever made
- The Santos made it socially acceptable for men to wear wristwatches
Cartier Pasha: A Round Watch with a Protective Cap
There's a long history behind the present-day Pasha. At the beginning of the 1930s, the Pasha of Marrakesh, one of the most famous Cartier lovers, supposedly requested a waterproof wristwatch which he could wear while bathing. The result was a rectangular watch with a manual winding locking system. However, due to its case shape, the watch was only waterproof for a certain amount of time. A round case, on the other hand, is much easier to make waterproof. Therefore, Cartier developed a gold watch with a screw-down case back and centrally placed lugs in the early 1940s. The main attraction of this new watch was its screw-down protective crown cap. One only had to unscrew the cap to set the time, and since the cap was attached to the case by a small chain, it couldn't get lost. The metal grid over the watch glass was reminiscent of military watches from around the time of World War I. These watches were the predecessors of the Pasha. The story claiming Cartier made the 1985 version of the Pascha upon request of the Pasha of Marrakesh is probably just that, a story, seeing as the series didn't get its name until it premiered in 1985.
Cartier: Jeweler of Kings
The French jeweler and watch manufacturer Cartier has history, tradition, and experience stretching back over more than 160 years. In 1847, 28-year-old Louis-François Cartier took ownership of the Parisian jewelry store run by his mentor, Adolphe Picard. Cartier established himself quickly with his Paris store. A large part of his success was due to his sense for the tastes of his customers.
In 1874, his son Alfred joined the company. He expanded the watchmaking sector of the business with the goal of creating Cartier watches for the home, on necklaces, and as wristwatches. Already in 1888 there were diamond-studded women's watches
on display at the Cartier store. With these wristwatches, Cartier proved themselves pioneers in the field. Towards the end of the 19th century, pocket watches were still predominantly being used. In 1893, the company ordered their first batch of watches from Vacheron Constantin
. In the beginning, these early wristwatches didn't sell very well as they weren't particularly fashionable. However, as long sleeves and women's gloves became less popular, the naked wrist became the perfect spot for a wristwatch.
Louis Joseph, the son of Alfred and grandson of Louis-François Cartier, married Andrée-Caroline Worth in 1898. She was the heiress to one of the largest fashion studios in Paris and brought know-how as well as a customer list to the table. Just a few years later, she relocated the store to the famous Rue de la Paix, one of Paris's most popular and fashionable shopping streets which entices people from all over the world. Subsequently, Louis Joseph began to cater the business to an international market. He signed a contract with the French watchmaker Edmond Jaeger to supply movements so Cartier could produce and offer new, extravagant women's watches. In 1904, Louis and his brother Pierre traveled to Russia, where they found themselves inspired. In no time at all, the brothers were able to count the Russian imperial family and Russian nobility amongst their customers. Cartier was also very successful in England; so successful, in fact, that they opened a boutique on New Bond Street in London in 1909. Across the English Channel, Cartier was creating a network that would reach all the way to the influential princes on the Indian subcontinent.
Cartier's precious jewelry and watches were highly sought after by kings and nobles worldwide. They established themselves as the official jeweler of the largest royal houses, providing richly decorated tiaras set with gemstones to queens and princesses. Among their clientele were the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain. This was just one of many reasons the Prince of Wales and later King Edward VII proclaimed the Parisian business the "Jeweler of kings, king of jewelers." This still holds true today; at her wedding to Prince William, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore a Cartier tiara that had been previously worn by Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
The business split into three parts upon the death of Louis Cartier in 1942: Cartier Paris, Cartier London, and Cartier New York. The parts remained separate until the end of the 1970s, when they were brought together as Cartier Monde SA. Today, Cartier belongs to the Richemont Group together with other manufacturers such as Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Söhne.
- 1847: Louis-François Cartier founds the company
- 1888: The first wristwatches are sold by Cartier
- 1904: The Santos is developed
- 1917: The Tank is developed
- 1931: Waterproof wristwatches are presented
- 1985: Pasha enters series production
- 2007: The Ballon Bleu is introduced
- 2010: Cartier produces their first in-house caliber