Cartier - There can be few people who have not heard of that name. Famous world-wide for its range of watches and jewelry, it is a household name in many countries around the globe. The business empire began way back in 1847, when the apprentice Louis-Francois Cartier bought out his employer’s jewelry business in Paris.
Louis set about making a name for himself in Paris, and this he did, creating masterful jewelry designs and having the knack of obtaining hard to find items for his rich clientele. Louis-Francois' Son, Louis-Francois-Alfred, joined his Father in the business in 1874 and quickly began to carve a niche for himself by sourcing watches and clocks. Alfred's idea was to eventually start making clocks and watches, and before long his ambition had been met, with the addition to the company's stock of highly jeweled and detailed wrist watches for women.
Unfortunately there was not a great demand for Ladies watches at this time and many of Cartier's items lay unsold for long periods. It was not until the wearing of long sleeves went out of fashion in 1895 that Cartier's watches again came to the fore.
Alfred's Son, Louis, married a wealthy woman called Andree-Caroline Worth and it was thanks to her and her connections with the fashion industry in Paris, that the Company began making their own exclusive jeweled timepieces.
The huge range of watches created over the years runs into hundreds of different designs, but there are a few worthy of mention that stand out from the crowd. The "Pasha" has been popular since inception, the design being inspired by the Pasha of Marrakesh; the bakelite and gold one-of-a-kind made in the 1940s; "Tank" watches; the "Tortue" and the "Santos" but to name a few.
Cartier has also used other manufacturer’s designs, including Jaeger, Patek Philippe and Piaget. But it took a new owner in 1972 to set them back on the road to individuality. Robert Hocq acquired the company and with marketing manager Alain Perrin, a completely new set of designs was rolled out. The Company has never really looked back, with designs incorporating the most precious metals and stones from around the world.
Perrin took control in 1981 and has been a kingpin in the success of Cartier, with a succession of new watches keeping an increasingly sophisticated public happy.
For the collector, any of the models mentioned above are worthy of collecting. On a personal level, I like the "Tank" designs, there are models including any manner of complications; moon phase, day/date, power reserve, twin time zones, the list goes on. Any Cartier is worth owning so, if you like it - Buy it!
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