Called "the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers," Cartier specializes in elegant and finely crafted watches, often adorned with jewels and precious metals. Today, the Cartier name has become symbol of beauty, refinement, and luxury to the highest degree. Buying a Cartier watch is an excellent choice for black tie functions and formal gatherings. Discover the next model for your collection with our selection of exceptional used Cartier watches for sale at Crown & Caliber.
Louis-Francois Cartier founded his namesake brand in Paris, France in 1847. In the beginning, Cartier built the company’s reputation by outfitting the members of high society. After growing the brand for a few decades, Cartier brought his sons into the family business. They helped bring a fresh perspective to the brand and expand the company’s offerings.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Cartier had created its first men’s wristwatch. They developed the timepiece specifically to meet the evolving needs of pilots. To refine the design, Cartier used his close personal friend and famed aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont as a source of guidance and inspiration. The result was the first Cartier Santos in 1903. The unique model showcased a distinctive flat shape and square bezel.
Four years after the Santos debuted, Cartier forged a partnership with Edmond Jaeger of the distinguished watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre. Jaeger agreed to be the exclusive supplier of movements for Cartier. Later in 1907, they also expanded their global presence by opening boutiques in St. Petersburg, London, and New York City. By this time, the brand had gained widespread popularity. Cartier was quickly emerging as one of the most successful watch companies in the world.
Soon after, Cartier introduced another one of their most iconic models. In 1917, they launched the first Tank. As the brand grew to be a more prominent and powerful force in the industry, other manufacturers started to create imitations of Cartier’s models. In response, Cartier developed a practice of adding reference numbers to their timepieces.
The second half of the twentieth century brought about major changes for the Cartier brand. Louis-Francois Cartier’s grandson Pierre passed away in 1964. Soon after, the remaining members of the family elected to sell the business. By 1972, a group of investors led by Joseph Kanoui had purchased the company.
Despite leaving the hands of the Cartier family, the brand remained one of the top manufacturers in the industry. By the 1990s, they had added three more collections to their catalog that would quickly become staples of the brand. They released the first Panthere in 1983. Two years later in 1985, they introduced the Pasha. Finally, they expanded the popular Tank collection in 1996 with the Tank Francaise.
Cartier has continued to grow and develop new collections in the new millennium. The brand debuted the first Roadster in 2002. Two years later, they unveiled the Santos 100 to commemorate the monumental 100th anniversary of the model. In 2007, Cartier introduced the Ballon Bleu, and just a few years ago in 2012, they launched the Calibre de Cartier. Since then, Cartier has continued to reimagine some of their classic models. For example, in 2018, they reinvented the legendary Santos collection, even adding a chronograph variation in 2019. This drive for innovation and commitment to excellence is what’s made the Cartier brand so successful for nearly 175 years.
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