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. The Cartier store already had diamond-studded women's watches on display as early as 1888. With these wristwatches, Cartier proved themselves pioneers in the field. Towards the end of the 19th century, pocket watches were still the preferred method of telling the time. 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.
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: Cartier sells their first wristwatches
- 1904: Development of the Santos
- 1917: Development of the Tank
- 1931: Presentation of water-resistant wristwatches
- 1985: Pasha enters series production
- 2007: Introduction of the Ballon Bleu
- 2010: Cartier produces their first in-house caliber