When in 1847 29-year-old jeweler Louis-Francois Cartier founded the family business in Paris district Eglise Saint-Eustache near the oyster market, there were no signs that after 50 years a small workshop would become a rich empire and there would be a line of richest clietns from all over the world.
At the base of the future intercontinental luxury empire there stands a goldsmith Adolphe Picard, where Louis-François (1819-1904) was hired as an apprentice boy. Obviously journeyman tried very hard, because the owner decided to leave the business not to his relatives but to the boy Cartier.
Soon, the young jeweler knew almost all the dealers in Paris, and he had set many orders. It is one thing to be popular among shops owners, and quite another – among the nobility. However, among customers there was Spanish merchant who settled in Paris, Ouizille-Lemoine, through whom fate gave Cartier a chance.
Napoleon III announced the forthcoming marriage with Countess Eugenia de Montijo. The newlyweds decided to buy and remade some wedding jewelry. Bride went to her fellow countryman and the jeweler used the chance for one hundred percent. The court ladies were smitten with the beauty of products.
By the end of the XIX century Cartier authority got so famous and respected that it was the official supplier of royal courts from Edward VII and Nicholas II to the Siamese and Albanian.
Back in 1888 Cartier created the first lady’s wrist watch – it was decorated with diamonds and gold. In 1903 he created an exclusive wristwatch for aviator Santos-Dumont Antonio. But the first serious collection came out only in 1906.
The following model was created on the Jaeger mechanisms . Shells on the perimeter were encrusted with diamonds, and the crown was an emerald. Complementary watch straps of white leather. This series were very popular. Multiple instances were acquired by Rothschild and Vanderbilt, which without doubt says a lot about how popular the brand became by that time.
In 1910 Cartier surpassed himself by creating the world’s first wristwatch with rectangular shape. Next came a series of men watches, named in honor of Santos Dumont. Aviator himself agreed to advertise them. Then came the clock with indicating time in Paris, London and New York, which was really original and neat.
In 1917, Louis Cartier introduced the world famous watch Tank. It was the most successful model of the firm, reprinted almost every year. The real milestones in watchmaking became “tank” – the curved shape of the wrist (1923), jumping hour and minutes (1929) and waterproof (1931).
In 1972 the leaders of the American, English and French branches of Robert Hawke, Alain-Dominique Perrin and Joseph Kahn decided to reunite for the common good.
The union noted the legendary series of Must de Cartier jewelry, watches and all kinds of accesories. The success of the series has been so enormous that the word “Must” (in the sense of “an indispensable condition for success”) entered the lexicon of almost all European languages as well as Chinese and Japanese.
Last year the company was headed by Bernard Forna, a member of the Board Directors of group Richemont, which Cartier entered in 1993. A very solemn, but always tasteful, company celebrated the 30th anniversary of a Must series, which consists not only of jewelery and watches, but also of cufflinks and spirits, umbrellas and lighters, handbags and eyewear. Today, Cartier brings together 14 companies responsible for the production of various luxury goods.