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Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.


When in 1847 Louis-François Cartier took over the jeweller's workshop where he had served his apprenticeship in Paris, it did not take long for it to become a benchmark for French jewellery watchmaking.

The greatest royal palaces in Europe helped to enshrine this success. In 1856, Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, purchased her first timepiece. A few years later, Empress Eugenie became a client. The first ladies' jewelled watch appeared in 1888, in the same spirit of imperial luxury.

Thirty years later, Louis-François Cartier put his son Alfred in charge of the firm. On the strength of its success, in 1899 the firm moved to its now legendary address at 13 rue de la Paix in Paris.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, Alfred Cartier decided to develop the firm's international business. Each of his sons was put in charge of a different area: Louis looked after Paris, Pierre had New York and Jacques, London.

Very soon, the English store attracted the attention of the royal family: the Prince of Wales ordered 27 diadems from the jeweller for his coronation in 1902. Two years later, Jacques Cartier was appointed as the court's official jeweller; the courts of Spain, Portugal, Russia, Belgium and many more were to follow suit.

In 1902, Louis Cartier created a watch for his friend Santos Dumont, a Brazilian pilot. The watch was designed to be worn on the wrist with a leather strap. It was marketed in 1911 and became an iconic reference for the Maison.

1906 was a prosperous year: a second store was opened in London, as well as a branch on New York's prestigious Fifth Avenue. In watchmaking, Cartier created the first Tonneau wristwatch, and filed patent for the foldover catch for wristwatches.

Five years later, a new watch was created: the Tank, which was to become the brand's icon.

In 1999, Cartier became a part of the Richemont Group. Two years later, the Firm opened its own Manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds, where it had had operations since 1972.

From then on, this unique site was home to all the stages of a Cartier watch from design to manufacture. It was from these workshops that the Firm's Fine Watches were henceforth to emerge, of which the first was the Ballon Bleu flying tourbillon.

Fine Watchmaking now occupies the predominant position in Cartier, with the regular presentation of grand complications displaying the Firm's fine expertise in watchmaking art: chronographs, quantième perpétuel, flying tourbillon, and exclusive complications such as the Astrotourbillon, including some references with the famous Geneva Seal.


Cartier founded.
The first Cartier watch is marketed.
Creation of the first Cartier wristwatch for pilot Alberto Santos Dumont.
Creation of a watchmaking manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
Creation of the Cartier Fine Watchmaking collection.

Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier's watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.

A socially responsible firm, Cartier is a founding member of the “Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices”, as well as engaging in philanthropy through the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, founded in Paris in 1984.

Established on the suggestion of the artist César, this is both a space for artists to create in and a place where the general public can encounter art. The firm is also very active in charity work: in 2013, it founded the Cartier Charitable Foundation to provide support for good causes around the world.



In 1917, Louis Cartier designed a new watch shape inspired by the concept of linear purity. The two parallel brancards are a signature feature of the Tank watch. Influenced by the design of a military tank viewed from above, this watch espouses a clear graphic principle: the brancards symbolise the tracks while the case represents the turret. This combination gives rise to a new and fundamental principle in which the case attachments are aligned with the strap to maintain the smooth rhythm of the design.


The Santos de Cartier watches were created to honour world-changing pioneers such as Alberto Santos-Dumont. These resolutely future-oriented models feature a clean design with a square case and visible screws, and an ergonomic bracelet which liberates the movement.


When it was launched in 1983, the Panthère watch introduced the concept of a jewellery watch. This best-selling watch perfectly embodied the spirit of the fun-loving 80s, proving particularly popular with the art scene. With the Panthère watch, Cartier embraces clean lines without losing sight of the linear softness that makes this timepiece a quintessential jewellery watch. The watch takes its name from the bracelet, whose ultra-flexible structure echoes the movements of the Maison’s emblematic animal.

Ballon Bleu

The Ballon Bleu watch was created from a new interpretation of roundness which, for the Cartier designers, involved giving volume to the circle. Doubly convex, its shape strikes the perfect balance between line and volume. To avoid breaking the line, the domed sapphire crystal is perfectly integrated into the case along with the winding crown, which features a blue bubble and crown guard under a metal arch at three o’clock.


The Pasha de Cartier watch is a bold model with an extraordinary design created for those with a radical view of the world that reflects the imagination of a new generation of opinion leaders. Their success is embodied in the diversity of new and unique creative avenues opened up in 2020, in a move away from those of their predecessors in the 1980s.

Cartier Privé

The Cartier Privé collection, a celebration of collectors, honours the Maison’s iconic models through limited edition numbered watches – rare models that bridge the gap between Cartier’s watchmaking heritage and today’s aesthetic vision. Following on from the Crash, Tank Cintrée, Tonneau, Tank Asymétrique and Cloche de Cartier watches, the Tank Chinoise watch marks the latest chapter in the Cartier Privé collection. The Tank Chinoise features a rectangular dial that reveals the mystery of the skeleton movement inside.


The Baignoire watch is a signature watch for women who know how to create a style all their own, who forsake trends and fashions in search of a piece that exudes timeless French chic. It speaks to women of culture and taste, such as Catherine Deneuve, Romy Schneider and Jeanne Moreau, women whose primary concerns are the cultivation of freedom and wit. Mélanie Laurent today follows in their footsteps to embody the unique spirit of the Baignoire.

Coussin de Cartier

The Coussin de Cartier watch is a sensational evening wear model. This flexible watch is made up of gold links that interweave in a grid pattern, in which Cartier has integrated an innovative element allowing the case to deform and retract to adopt its original shape. The Coussin watch is a multi-sensory piece, irresistible to the touch and captivating to the eye thanks to the iridescence of its diamonds and coloured stones.


Everything you should know about Cartier watches.

Cartier Ballon Bleu, Cartier Santos, Cartier Tank, or Panthère de Cartier ? Wedding Bands for men and women. Let the professionals guide you.

What are Cartier watches?

Founded in Paris, France in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, developed by sons Pierre, Jacques and Louis Cartier, the House of Cartier was a fine jewellery company that was warranted in London by King Edward VII who referred to the brand as “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers”. The Cartier client was a “superior customer”, often of the aristocracy, who placed orders for rings, tiaras, brooches and necklaces. Today, Cartier jewellery also includes collections of men’s wedding bands, and bridal sets with the famous solitaire rings in three golds set with a brilliant-cut diamond.

Cartier watches were introduced in 1904, among the first wrist watches in the world, to enable Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, friend of Louis Cartier, to read the time while flying, virtually impossible with the then customary pocket watch. From the beginning, the Cartier watch dial was adorned with Roman numerals, and that first “Cartier Santoswatch with a square bezel was highly successful, paving the way to today’s wide collection of Cartier watches in stainless steel, gold and other precious metals, with bracelets or leather straps, for men and ladies. The softly curved “Clé de Cartier”, the stylish “Drive de Cartier”, the square-shaped “Panthère de Cartier”, the round “Rotonde de Cartier”, or “Calibre de Cartier” with manufacture movements all demonstrate the brand’s attention to the aesthetic and mechanical properties of each Cartier watch. With headquarters in Paris, France, production of Cartier watches, from movement to final assembly, is made at the Cartier Manufacture on two sites in Switzerland: in Geneva and La Chaux-de-Fonds.

The essentials of the Cartier Ballon Bleu

With 34 models in the Cartier Ballon Bleu collection, you can choose from sizes of 36mm to 46mm in round cases of stainless steel, 18K pink or white gold, or gold and steel, complemented with matching stainless steel bracelets, 18K gold bracelets, 18K gold and steel bracelets, or leather straps. An ultra-thin model exists, as well as a carbon model in a stainless steel and ADLC case with black calfskin strap and steel and ADLC double adjustable folding buckle. The 36mm model in stainless steel is equipped with a quartz movement, while an automatic movement runs the 42mm models. The XL models in this collection boast the 44mm Ballon Bleu de Cartier chronograph watch with calendar at 6 o’clock, or the 46mm Flying Tourbillon with 2nd Time Zone manual-winding watch. Whatever the size, the Cartier Ballon Bleu watch is smoothly rounded, irresistible to touch, and features a fluted crown set with a blue cabochon-shaped sapphire.

What you should know about the Cartier Santos watches

Eleven models comprise the Cartier Santos collection, recognizable by its distinct geometric shape in sizes of Large and XL. The Santos 100 watch features visible screws on its square bezel with rounded corners, and comes in stainless steel, 18K yellow gold and steel, palladium or carbon, all with leather strap; the Large models measure 51.1mm x 41.3mm. These are powered with an automatic movement, while the XL Skeleton model in palladium comes with a manufacture manual winding movement. With a square but more curvaceous bezel, the Cartier Santos-Dumont measures 44.6 x 34.6 for the Large model, and comes in 18K pink or white gold, or titanium, with leather strap. Skeleton dial models provide a good view of manual-winding manufacture movements; some bezels are diamond set.

Gaining territory with the Cartier Tank watch collection

Inspired by parts of a Renault tank, created by Louis Cartier in 1917 for US Army General John Pershing, the elegant “Tank Louis Cartier” has since been joined by the more robust “Tank Anglaise”, the elongated “Tank Américaine”, the iconic “Tank Française”, the “Tank MC” with manufacture movement, and the entry price watchTank Solo” with quartz movement. While the different models vary in size, they are all recognizable with strong, bold lines of square and rectangular shape, and a strap or bracelet connected to the case under the bezel. Features characteristic of Cartier watches include a chemin de fer chapter ring, bold Roman numerals and sword-shaped blued steel hands on the dial, and a blue sapphire or synthetic spinel on the crown. Offering a wide choice of precious metals (sometimes combined with stainless steel), of movements and complications, and of leather straps or metal bracelets, this classic and distinctive watch is versatile. Apart from the Tank MC with its more sporty, masculine look, most versions are appreciated by men and ladies. Some models are diamond set. The latest version of the Tank Anglaise measuring 39.2mm x 29.8mm features a softer curved linear case with the crown set within the band and bezel.

Yet another icon: the Panthère de Cartier for ladies

Created in the 1980s, the Panthère de Cartier watch collection for ladies was reintroduced in 2017 with 17 models. Imagine the pleasure of opening the red Cartier box to discover the small model measuring 30mm x 22 mm x 6mm thick with a case and bracelet in 18K white gold set with 497 brilliant-cut diamonds, or the medium model measuring 37mm x 27mm x 6mm thick in white gold with diamond-set case, dial and bracelet totalling 660 diamonds, completed with lacquer spots for a total panther look. Other models exist in stainless steel, pink gold, yellow gold, or yellow gold and steel. All are equipped with a quartz movement.