The House of Cartier, which symbolizes style, elegance and craftsmanship, is one of the leading watchmakers of our times. Its watches have been flaunted by the rich and the famous for more than a hundred years.
The company was set up by Louis-Francois Cartier, a master jeweler, in 1847. But it was in early 20th century that the Cartier name really blossomed. Its boutiques in Paris, London and New York came to be admired as the hang outs of the rich and the trendy. This was also the time when the Cartier empire was being run by his three grandsons -- Louis, Jacques and Pierre.
But it was Louis who gave Cartier its name, and value. To him goes the credit for introducing the first real Cartier wristwatch. The wristwatch that was named after Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aviator, was introduced in 1904. The wrist watch created several ripples in the watch making world, and encouraged Louis Cartier to roll out jeweled watches in 1906, each of which became bestsellers.
In 1917, Louis put Cartier in another orbit when he launched the company’s most famous watch -- the stunning Cartier Tank watch. The watch was a tribute to those Allied tank commanders who saved the honor of France in World War I. This watch is considered a landmark in the evolution of the House of Cartier as watchmakers. Cartier did not stop here. Its next big success story unfolded when it designed a water resistant watch for the Pasha of Marrakech in 1933. The watch with an attractive round case of solid gold became an instant hit.
The credit for most of the innovative watch designs of this period goes to Louis Cartier. He was literally a design genius, and came up with an unending stream of unique and innovative ideas. Some of the classics that he designed were the Santos, the Panther, the Bagnoire, the Pasha, the Tonneau, the Diabolo, and the Tank. Louis did not restrict himself to design. He went ahead and created several accessories that were adopted by other watch makers. One of these was the folding clasp that Louis made in 1910. Even today, the company's watch designers draw their inspiration from the designs left behind by Louis Cartier. Tank Francaise, which the company launched in 1996, is one such model. This watch, which is available in three sizes, offers a variety of movements from quartz to automatic. The watch also has a calendar and an automatic time zone changing capability. The company may be more than 150 years old now but it has not lost its hunger for excellence. It makes watches that are both elegant and opulent, and can easily last a lifetime.