About Cartier Watches
Founded by Louis-François Cartier in Paris in 1847, Maison Cartier is one of the world’s leading purveyors of fine jewelry and luxury watches. By the turn of the 20th century, the founder’s grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, set out to make Cartier a global brand with Louis at the helm in Paris, Pierre in the USA, and Jacques in London.
Illustrating the timeless appeal of Cartier watches, many of the brand’s current top-selling models were created over a century ago. In 1904, Louis Cartier designed a wristwatch for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer aviator who complained that a pocket watch was just too cumbersome to use during a flight. Not only was the Cartier Santos watch the world’s first pilot watch but it was also one of the earliest examples of a man’s watch designed to be worn on the wrist during an era when pocket watches were the norm for gentlemen. While the current iterations of the Cartier Santos stay true to the design fundamentals of the groundbreaking wristwatch that debuted well over 100 years ago, the company revamped the collection in 2018 to meet modern expectations.
During World War I, a new type of armored vehicle called tanks made their way onto the battlefields. Inspired by their strong silhouettes, Louis Cartier designed the rectangular Tank watch and presented a prototype to American General John Pershing in 1918. The following year, Cartier introduced the Tank watch into the market. Since then, countless versions of the Tank watch have been made, such as the Tank Americaine, the Tank Francaise, the Tank Solo, and others, and today, it endures as one of Cartier’s flagship models.
The 1980s saw the birth of the glamorous Cartier Panthere watch, characterized by its supple link bracelet and the sporty water-resistant Cartier Pasha watch inspired by a vintage timepiece once made for Thami El Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech. What’s more, given that Cartier is also a master at making fine jewelry with a long list of royal and celebrity clients, it comes as no surprise that gem-set watches and high-jewelry timepieces remain as brand specialties.
Rather than simply relying on an impressive archive of watch icons, Cartier carries on introducing new models that quickly become modern classics. The round Ballon Bleu watch and the cushion-shaped Drive watch—both introduced in the 2000s—are fantastic examples of classic Cartier aesthetics but reinterpreted to suit a contemporary audience.
In addition to designing beautiful timepieces, Cartier is now also focused on equipping more of its watches with in-house movements. Since 2007, Cartier has made a handful of manufacture movements ranging from the straightforward to the highly complex—some even furnished with the coveted Geneva Seal. Yet, in its pursuit of high watchmaking mechanics, Cartier has not forgotten the practicality and relative affordability of quartz movements and continues to use them in a good majority of its watch models. As a result, Cartier offers a fantastic range of luxury watches at different price points to suit a variety of tastes and budgets.