Cartier has enjoyed a worldwide reputation as the “King of Jewelers and the Jeweler of Kings” since its founding in Paris by Louis-Franois Cartier. The company is also responsible for some of the most iconic and influential timepieces in history and continues to build on that legacy to this day. One of those icons sprung from a request by pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont to his friend Louis Cartier, grandson of the founder, for an easily readable watch he could wear during balloon flights.
Cartier’s answer, today called the Santos watch and first marketed to the public in 1911, is now regarded as the first purpose-built aviation watch as well as the first wristwatch aimed at men. The Santos begat the square-cased Tank watch in 1919, an Art Deco-era milestone that continues to exert its influence over watch design today, and the Pasha in 1932, one of the earliest and most stylish waterproof watches.
Cartier has also in more recent years distinguished itself with in-house high complications like the “Mysterious” movements at which it has excelled, in which the dial elements appear to float in midair thanks rto cleverly obscured mechanical parts.
Headquarters: Paris, France
Ownership: Richemont Group
Notable models: Tank, Santos, Panthere, Pasha, Ballon Bleu
Did you know: Cartier’s first ‘Mystery Clock” was purchased for $3,200 in 1913 by famed American banker J.P. Morgan.
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