Founded in 1847 by jeweler Louis-Francois Cartier, Cartier the company has become a driving force in the world of luxury watchmaking thanks to the founder’s three grandsons — Louis, Pierre, and Jacques. Starting with high jewelry watches in the 19th century, such as brooches and pocket watches adorned with the finest gems made for royalty and aristocracy, Cartier ventured into manufacturing wristwatches with the legendary Santos watch.
When pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont told his friend Louis Cartier that it was cumbersome to use pocket watches while flying, Louis presented him with the world’s first pilot watch in 1904 — a wristwatch outfitted with a leather strap called the Cartier Santos. The Cartier Santos remains one of the brand’s flagship collections for both men and women today and countless editions of this seminal pilot watch have been released over its long and illustrious history. In 1917, Louis Cartier designed yet another crucial Cartier timepiece — the Tank watch. The shape and design of the Cartier Tank was inspired by the newly invented military tanks and it became an instant hit with plenty of models over the years such as the Tank Française , Tank Anglaise , and Tank Americaine .
The Carter Roadster watch was designed to emulate the cars of the 1950s and 1960s, while the Cartier Ballon Bleu is name for its distinct blue sapphire crown on its curvy round case. The Cartier Caliber collection demonstrates the House’s watchmaking skill be equipping each watch in the line with the in-house manufacture 1904 MC movement.
Early in Cartier’s watchmaking history, in 1904, the brand made an agreement with Edmond Jaeger to manufacture watch movements for Cartier watches. Over the years other watchmakers such as Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constatin also supplied Cartier with watch movements.
Then Cartier began equipping their modern watches with either quartz or modified ETA mechanical movements. In the last decade, Cartier has taken serious steps to expand their movement manufacture capabilities and began producing in-house manufacture movements completely developed and constructed in their own ateliers. Since 2007, Cartier has launched a number of high complication mechanical pieces such as the Ballon Bleu flying tourbillon — the company’s first in-house movement to include the Geneva Seal.
Buying Pre-Owned Cartier Watches
A beloved brand that has a rich heritage, there are few watches that are as recognizable as Cartier timepieces. Ultra luxurious and sought out by women and men for their prestige and classic designs, the secondary market is the ideal place to find used Cartier Santos watches, secondhand Cartier Tank timepieces, and pre-owned Cartier Ballon Bleu models at attractive prices.