Founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier in Paris, France, Cartier has grown to become one of the most recognizable names in luxury. Today, Cartier offers a wide collection of fine jewelry and luxury watches. It was Louis Cartier (the founder's grandson) who is credited for making the first men’s wristwatch when he developed the square Santos watch for aviator Alberto Santos Dumont in 1904.
Many of Cartier’s most iconic watches were designed by Louis Cartier, including the barrel-shaped Tonneau in 1906, the turtle shell-shaped Tortue in 1913, and the rectangular Tank in 1917. The Cartier Tank is the Maison’s most notable watch design, and it has remained a mainstay (in numerous iterations) of Cartier’s collection over the last century.
The culture of elegant, yet striking, watch designs continued at Cartier well after Louis Cartier’s era. The 1960s saw the emergence of the amorphous Crash watch, the 1970s welcomed the more affordable Les Must de Cartier line, and the 1980s was the decade when the sporty Pasha and the glamorous Panthère debuted. In more recent years, Cartier has unveiled modern watch models such as Ballon Bleu, Drive, Clé, Ronde, and Rotonde.
While Cartier is known for a vast assortment of case shapes — many of which do not follow the traditional round silhouette — most Cartier watches share a similar design language. These details include dials with black Roman numerals, blue sword-shaped hands, and a secret Cartier signature, in addition to a crown set with a blue cabochon-cut stone.