Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Luxury Watch Designer Feature: Cartier

Luxury Watch Designer Feature: Cartier

Today's most famous fashion and jewellery design houses haven't necessarily achieved great international success.
But the story begins with a skilled designer passionate about his craft.
One of the most important examples is the story of Cartier.

About Cartier

Cartier is a French luxury brand that designs and manufactures fine watches and jewelry.

Cartier is a French luxury watch and jewelry manufacturer and one of the world's leading fashion and jewelry design companies, few of which have reached the same level as Cartier.

However, Cartier's origins lie in the art of watchmaking rather than jewellery.

History of the Cartier Brand

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 when its founder Louis-François Cartier took over his master's workshop.

Cartier enjoyed more than a decade of success, opening its first Cartier boutique in 1859, amid the outbreak of the French Revolution.

In 1874, Louis-François' son, Alfred Cartier, took over the business.

Alfred's business sense was far superior to that of his father, and it was his ambition to grow the business rapidly.

Alfred introduced Cartier to royal families throughout Europe and around the world, and Cartier's designs were particularly well received by King Edward VII.

Cartier enjoyed great success in the late 1800s, eventually opening a showroom on Rue de La Paix in Paris in 1899.

Although Alfred succeeded in establishing Cartier as a supplier to the French elite, it was his sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who made the brand world famous.

Photo: Pierre, Louis, Alfred and Jacques Cartier

Photo: Pierre, Louis, Alfred and Jacques Cartier

Alfred's sons planned for their own leadership roles at Cartier from an early age, knowing that they would one day take over the family business started by their grandfather.

The three brothers had big dreams: to grow Cartier from a locally based business into an international luxury brand.

Louis was in charge of Europe, especially Paris, Pierre of America, and Jacques of Britain and the colonies.

Each of the three brothers would make groundbreaking contributions to drive the Cartier brand forward.

The eldest son, Louis, built trusting relationships with men, mainly in Europe.

They are attracted by the beautiful designs and thoughtfulness that Cartier offers, making frequent purchases and becoming loyal Cartier customers.

Pierre, the second generation, was a natural networker with an understanding of the desires of the elite.

Pierre married a wealthy American socialite and aimed to expand Cartier in New York.

The Hope Diamond and a rare double-strand pearl necklace.

Pierre purchased the infamous Hope Diamond and quickly offered it to a wealthy society woman, sparking public negotiations that made the tabloids go wild.

A few years later, Pierre used the million-dollar pearl necklace to buy himself a coveted piece of real estate on Fifth Avenue (which would later become the Cartier townhouse).

Later Cartier townhouses

Jacques Cartier was the youngest brother and initially had little interest in jewelry.

However, after meeting Nelly Harges, an heiress to JP Morgan, he decided he wanted to become a Catholic priest.

However, Nellie's family did not approve of Jack's marriage and persuaded them to keep separate for a year.

If they still want to get married a year later, their families support it.

To ease the loneliness of the prolonged separation, Jack threw himself into his work.

His world map was of Britain and the Colonies.

So he traveled to India, made connections with gem-loving maharajas, and became obsessed with gems.

His travels helped inform Cartier's signature oriental-influenced aesthetic.

Ultimately, through some valuable networking, smart strategic decisions, and a great marriage, the Cartier brothers managed to grow a locally renowned brand into an international success that is still relevant more than 150 years later.

From its founding in 1847 until 1964, Cartier remained under family control.

Cartier is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss Richemont Group, but its headquarters are in Paris, France.

Cartier watch collection

Cartier has an extensive history in watchmaking and design, and has pioneered many trends and innovative technologies in the watch industry.

While every Cartier watch is special, there are some influential collections that have forever changed the way we think about watches.



In 1904, Louis Cartier's friend, the famous Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont, commissioned a wristwatch that would allow him to tell the time while flying.

Thus was born one of the first wristwatches, at a time when pocket watches were the norm.

To help Dumont concentrate on piloting, Santos used a large, high-contrast dial that made it possible to check the time at a glance.

Launched in 1911, the Santos watch gained popularity thanks to Santos-Dumont's fame as an essential fashion accessory for men of the time.



Louis Cartier created the "Tank" watch in 1917.

The design of this watch was inspired by Renault's new tanks that were seen on the battlefields of World War I.

Louis presented a prototype of the Tank watch to General John Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force.

Over the last century, several different variations of the Tank watch have been released, including the Tank Solo, Tank Anglaise, and Tank Française.

Pasha de Cartier

Pasha de Cartier

The Pasha is one of the oldest waterproof watches.

It is believed that in the early 1930s, the Pasha of Marrakech commissioned a watch for swimming, although there is no confirmation that the watch was actually made for him.

In 1985, Cartier created a large watch that was assertive and masculine while remaining true to its elegance.

Cartier commissioned the design of Gérald Genta, a designer with experience in this field.

Throughout its history, details have remained at the heart of the Pasha silhouette.

While remaining faithful to its first iteration from 1985, the new Pasha de Cartier amplifies its originality, bringing together elements that go beyond the boundaries of classic watchmaking to lend it a unique power.

Ballon Bleu

Ballon Bleu

The Ballon Bleu is one of Cartier's most iconic watches.

Worn by celebrities such as Kate Middleton and royals alike, the watch has become popular for its rounded pebble case, comfortable fit and stylish design.

This watch features Roman numerals and a sapphire cabochon winding mechanism.

A unique feature is the beveled crown guard atop a sapphire cabochon crown.

Cartier Panthere

Cartier Panthere

A watch that doubles as jewelry, the Panthère de Cartier is one of Cartier's most distinctive designs.

Adorned with gold, diamonds and exquisite gemstones, this elegant timepiece has become an iconic symbol of the Maison Cartier.

Other articles

世界5台ジュエラー カルティエの伝説的な歴史と腕時計の歴史

The world's top five jewelers: The legendary history of Cartier and the history of wristwatches

Click here to watch a video about the history and appeal of Cartier. Cartier watches are a prime example of a silhouette that is recognizable at a glance. The simple square dial is filled w...

Read more