Elites in the Jeweler Industry
Once dubbed the jeweler of kings, and the king of jewelers, today we simply know them as Cartier. The company began as a destination for bespoke jewelry and timepieces. Now, it has flourished into one of the most highly regarded watchmakers in the world. Cartier watches are not just a symbol of luxury and sophistication, they are a piece of history.
Louis-Francois Cartier founded his namesake brand in 1847 in Paris, France. In the early years, Cartier established the company’s reputation by catering to the extravagant desires of the elite in society. After building the brand for a few decades, Cartier brought his sons and later his grandsons into the business. They helped him bring a fresh perspective to the company and expand the brand’s offerings.
Cartier Watches: Establishing a Presence in Watchmaking
By the turn of the 20thcentury, Cartier made one of its most significant creations to date. In 1903, they designed their first men’s wristwatch. Cartier created the timepiece specifically with the needs of pilots in mind. The idea was inspired by his close friend, Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer in aviation for whom the watch is named. The distinctive timepiece featured a flat shape and a square bezel, and it became known as the Santos.
Just four years later in 1907, Cartier began a partnership with Edmond Jaeger of the prominent watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre. Jaeger agreed to be the exclusive supplier of movements for Cartier watches. By this time, the brand was gaining momentum and widespread popularity. That same year, they opened boutiques in London, New York City, and St. Petersburg. As their global presence grew, they started emerging as one of the most successful watch companies in the world.
Lasting Success in the 20th Century
The early 1900s also mark a time when Cartier introduced several models that have since become icons for the brand. In 1912, the brand launched the first Baignoire and Tortue models. Then, in 1917, Cartier debuted the original Tank. By the 1920’s, the brand had become so successful, other companies had started to create imitations of Cartier timepieces. In response, Cartier began adding reference numbers to their watches.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, Cartier faced major changes. Following the death of Louis-Francois Cartier’s grandson Pierre in 1964, the remaining family members decided to sell the family business. By 1972, a group of investors led by Joseph Kanoui had bought the company.
In the years following the acquisition, Cartier remained a leader in the watchmaking industry. During the 1980s, Cartier worked to expand its collections and stay one-step ahead of the competition. In 1985, they introduced the first Pasha, and in 1996, they debuted the Cartier Tank Francaise.
The Impact of Cartier Today
Cartier has continued to grow into the 21stcentury. The brand launched the Roadster in 2002. They also released the Santos 100 in 2004 as part of the celebration of the 100thanniversary of the model. For over 150 years, Cartier has maintained an unparalleled reputation in the watchmaking industry. Their one-of-a-kind aesthetic and commitment to excellence have allowed them to be highly regarded by peers and collectors alike.