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Brief Brand History for
Louis-François Cartier founded Cartier in 1847. The company to which he lends his name was originally a Parisian jewelry boutique. The third generation of the Cartier family grew the business considerably in the early twentieth century. In 1904, Louis Cartier designed the first Cartier wristwatch at the request of the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. In the 1910s, Cartier expanded its operations in Europe and established a branch in New York. At this time, Louis designed the Cartier Tank. Modeled after the tanks of World War I, the Tank remains one of the most iconic and influential watch designs still in production. In 1964, the Cartier family sold the business. Cartier exchanged hands numerous times in the latter half of the twentieth century before finally settling in Richemont's possession.
Product Line Overview
Cartier infuses each one of its watch collections with the same distinctive style. The company consistently uses bold roman numerals, flinque guilloched dials, blued sword hands, blue cabochons, and bold case shapes. Despite historically fitting its watches with outsourced movements, Cartier has developed many in-house calibers. Almost every watch is available in a variety of case sizes, movements, straps, bracelets, and metals. Many collections feature a "Louis Cartier" version, which normally comes in 18 karat gold and features a more traditional design.
The most famous of Cartier watches is the Tank. The Tank has long been perhaps the most classic dress watch on the market. Numerous derivations have tried and failed to match the Tank's well proportioned brilliance. The Tank Collection hosts several sub-collections defined by different case shapes. These include the Must, Americaine, Asymetrique, Chinoise, Cintree, Francaise, Louis Cartier, and MC.
Cartier has additionally produced a number of dress watches with more unconventional shapes. The Tortue, for instance, is set apart by its tonneau case shape. Louis Cartier's original 1912 design for the Tortue was inspired by a tortoise. The Baignoire Collection is defined by its uninterrupted elliptical shape. The design is simple, elegant, and understated. The exceedingly rare Cartier Crash is famous for its asymmetrical, distorted case and dial.
The sportiest watch produced by Cartier is the Santos de Cartier. Its geometric shape, brushed integrated bracelet, and use of exposed screws makes the Santos de Cartier fashionable in the modern watch market. However, the piece has a rich history and stays true to Cartier's design philosophy. The Santos-Dumont is slightly more formal in appearance, with two hands, leather straps, and fewer exposed screws.
Cartier also produces several other collections, each worthy of consideration. The Ballon Bleu de Cartier features a round case shape interrupted at three o'clock by a crown and cabochon enclosed in a cylindrical extension of the case. The Ballon Blanc de Cartier is similar to the Ballon Bleu but is wound with a crown beneath a diamond at four o'clock. The Drive de Cartier is defined by a round case that is slightly squared at the lugs. The Ronde de Cartier watch is the most conventional of the Cartier watch designs. The collection still retains Cartier's signature sapphire cabochon, blued hands, and bold Roman numerals. Finally, the Pasha de Cartier Collection was first introduced in 1985. The watch stands out for its square minute track and round case, lugs that appear to float away from the case, and distinctive Arabic numerals at twelve, nine, six, and three o'clock.
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