Cartier is known for its fine jewelry and watch manufacturing. It was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis Francois Cartier. It was later operated by his son, Alfred Cartier, and in 1874 by Alfred’s sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques.
The first wrist watch was designed in 1907. It was a flat watch with a unique square bezel containing a Jaeger movement. The watch was called the Santos and is still a well-loved watch today. Cartier became known as one of the most successful watch companies in the world as well as for their platinum and diamond engagement rings and wedding bands. Branches included London, New York and St. Petersburg.
In 1912, the Tank model was introduced and still continues today with thirty different varieties.
In 1920, although his watch movements included Vacheron Constantin, Audemars-Piquet and Movado, Edmond Jaeger signed a contract to solely supply the movements for Cartier.
In 1972, investors bought Cartier. President Robert Hocq created the well-known name of “Les Must de Cartier” meaning something one must have and Cartier merged with “Les Must de Cartier” in 1981. Alain Dominique Perrine became the Chairman of Cartier SAA and Cartier International. He founded the Cartier Foundation of Contemporary Art which included artists of the time.
In 1988, Cartier became a majority holder in Piaget and Baume & Mercier and in 1990, Cartier had its first exhibit of its fine watches at the Musee du Petit Palais in Paris.
In 2003, the Vendome Luxury Group was formed which included Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Mont Blanc, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Karl Lagerfeld, Chloe, Sulka, Hackett and Seeger.
In 1994, Cartier moved to Rive Gauche, its new headquarters. Today Cartier is owned by the Rupert Family out of South Africa.