Shortly before the Prince of Wales became Edward VII, he proclaimed the company Cartier “Jeweller of Kings and King of Jewellers”. In 1904, he granted the company the first ever Royal warrant as supplier to the Royal court of England. Today Cartier creations still enjoy the same prestige, maintaining the original “savoir-faire” whilst relentlessly seeking innovation.
The foundation of the company dates back to 1847, when Louis-François Cartier took over the jewellery workshop of his master, Adolphe Picard, at 29 Rue Montorgueil in Paris. In 1899, Cartier moved into 13 Rue de la Paix, the prestigious brand’s current address. Here, the future of the company fell to the three Cartier brothers: Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who opened branches in London (1902) and New York (1909), laying the foundations of the Cartier empire.
In particular Cartier’s success can be credited to the son’s many journeys around the world (India, Russia, USA, Persian Gulf), which resulted in merchandise which combined a strong exotic element with its own originality and creativity.
The company’s expertise and imagination influenced not only its jewellery, but also its watchmaking, with Cartier account books mentioning the first ladies’ wristwatch in 1888. In 1904, there followed the launch of the Cartier Santos timepiece, created for the Brazilian aviator Santos-Dumont, a friend of Louis Cartier.
Several other models have been released that can be added to Cartier’s watch timeline: commencing in 1906, there was the launch of Cartier Tonneau, then the Cartier Mystery Clocks in 1912, the Cartier Tank (1919), Cartier Bagnoire (1957), Cartier Tank Must (1977), Cartier Santos, made of steel and gold (1978), Cartier Panthère (1983), Pasha (1985) and Pasha C (1995), Cartier Tank Américaine (1989) and the Tank Francaise (1996). The most recent generation of timepieces have been the Cartier Roadster in 2001, Santos 100 in 2004 (created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous original mode) and Cartier Pasha 42mm in 2005.
The latest creation is an updated version of Ballon bleu de Cartier: a touch of masculine luxury added to a timepiece that made watch history.
At the official Cartier website, you can navigate through the virtual world of the company, its history, collections and inspirations. There is also an area dedicated to the artistic side of watchmaking, something Cartier is particularly passionate about. Not only did the company create the Cartier Art Magazine, but it also founded The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in 1984, which has helped a wide range of artists in the promotion of contemporary art.It is also worth visiting the section Wish List which enables Cartier club members to make their own selection of Cartier products and then send their “list of wishes” to others; a good way of suggesting your ideas for a present.
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