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Cartier: Ambassador of Luxury

From the start of the twentieth century, the famous Paris jewellery company founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier made its name in the watchmaking world with extraordinary cult models such as the Santos and Tank. Behind this global success stood an ambitious talented young man; a visionary convinced that the wristwatch revolution was imminent. From 1848, Louis-Francois’s son, Louis-Joseph Cartier, built up a watchmaking department within his father’s respected establishment. His first breakthrough came in 1906. In that year, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont performed his first feats in an airplane with a Cartier watch on his wrist. The Santos model would make Cartier one of the greatest names in watchmaking at the start of the century.

In 1907, Louis-Joseph started work with another wristwatch visionary: Edmond Jaeger. Louis-Joseph Cartier’s second stroke of genius would consolidate the growing Cartier legend. Inspired by American World War I armoured vehicles, the Tank, launched in 1919, met with phenomenal success. Paris, London, New York… The empire was now run by the three Cartier brothers spread across borders and continents. The great and good of this world swore by Cartier, ambassador of luxury and French good taste.

Prestige watches such as the Vendome and Tortue were the stars in the pre-war years. In 1942, on the death of his two brothers, Pierre Cartier was named manager of the Paris establishment. A worthy successor, he focussed on the brand’s image, equipping Cartier watches with systems and movements manufactured by master watchmakers such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet.

In 1973, when Robert Hocq was appointed chairman of the company, Cartier pulled off a remarkable coup with the launch of its iconic Must line. Ten years later, the brand reissued its essential Tank, Vendome, Santos, and Tortue models. Windup or quartz, they were now equipped with Cartier movements. Proving it was still very much the ambassador of luxury, in 1985, Cartier struck again with the superb eighteen carat gold Pasha with its perpetual calendar. It was a magnificent tribute to El Haj T’hami el Mezouari el Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech, known as “The Last Lord of the Atlas.” In 1931, the Pasha commissioned Cartier to manufacture a unique model decorated by Moorish patterns.

Today, the famous brand is proud of its Private Collection made up exclusively of collector watches, its range of fine jeweller’s watches, its extravagant timepieces that perfectly illustrate the Cartier dream, and of course the classic and sports products that have won the brand a place in history. Today, we are struck by the extraordinary enthusiasm kindled by the new Santos Dumont range (Santos 100 series), including the extra-large gold model and the diving model with its rubber strap.

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