Associated with luxury and style the world over, Cartier have been producing excellence in jewellery and watch making since the 19th century. Starting with Louis-Francois Cartier in 1847, and continuing with his son Alfred, and then most notably with his sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques, the company famously made the first men’s wristwatch in 1904, beginning a tradition that would continue right up until the present day.

The design approach at Cartier has always paid attention to fashionable concerns of style and visual effect as well as engineering functionality. The brand’s association with high fashion and desirability shows no sign of fading even now.

In the early stages of the 20th century, the Cartier brothers, in particular Louis, introduced the notion of the watch design approach being heavily influenced by the artistic and other design developments of the day, such as Art Deco. This foresight helped to see the brand grow and grow, and although it seems an intuitive notion today, looking to external culture was actually an extremely innovative and inspired approach at the time.

Within the first few years of the 20th century, Cartier’s presence was starting to be felt in locations across the globe, with branches in New York and London, as well as St Petersburg. Around this time the company teamed up with Edmund Jaeger, for supply of the movements used in the manufacturing process.

The Cartier Tank Watch came about during the First World War, and is one of the company’s best known creations, variations of which are still being produced by the brand today.

Many of Cartier’s watch designs have had huge influence in terms of both watch making and fashion/ design in general. In some ways, the company’s approach to design as an art form rather than just a functional pursuit is what has made the watches so special. Notable models over the years have included the Tonneau, Tortue, Baignoire and Panthere designs, with tribute paid to the classic styles in the more recent Roadster, Pasha and Santos collections.

In another far sighted move, Cartier watches began having identification numbers marked on them early in the 20th century, which has greatly enhanced their collectable nature, as well as tapping in to the notion that a Cartier watch was and is a desirable object.

Today the company is owned by the Richemont group of Switzerland, but the style and spirit of early Cartier continues to be loved and cherished among watch lovers throughout the world.