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Brief history of Cartier "Alberto Santos-Dumont" 

Key Dates In The History Of Cartier

1874 Louis-Francois’ son Alfred assumes control of the brand. His three sons Louis, Jacques, and Pierre will create the Cartier image we know today. 1888 Cartier creates the first ladies’ bracelet watch.

1899 Louis Cartier moves the brand’s headquarters to Rue de la Paix. The brand will remain at this address until the present day.

1904 The first Cartier wristwatch is created. Louis Cartier develops the Santos for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian flying legend. Santos-Dumont complains that pocket watches are unreliable and dangerous to use while flying, so Louis makes him a wristwatch with a square face and flat profile.

1907 Cartier signs an agreement giving Edmond Jaeger exclusive rights to supply the brand’s watch movements. It is the first step in a history that will see Cartier watches utilising movements from all the top maisons de haute horlogerie: Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and Movado. The brand now has offices in New York, St Petersburg and London. 1912 Cartier introduces its Tortue and Baignoire watches.

1914 The Cartier panther is born on a ladies’ watch. The image is created from paved diamonds and onyxes.

1917 Another legendary luxury watch is created: the Tank, designed by Louis Cartier after seeing Renault tanks in action on the Western Front. The Tank will go on to become Cartier’s signature model, worn by some of the most famous women in history. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie will all become fans of this piece.

1931 The Mystery pocket watch, featuring hands that rotate on concealed crystal discs, is created.

1938 Cartier makes a gift of one of its watches, at this time one of the smallest wristwatches ever created, to Princess Elizabeth II.

1940 Jacques Cartier gives his personal London office to General de Gaulle, from which he founds the Free France movement.

1947 Cartier celebrates its 100th birthday. 1972 Cartier is bought by a group of investors, and ceases to be a family-owned company.

1976 Cartier’s first collection of watches under the new ‘Les Must de Cartier’ slogan is revealed. 1985 The Pasha de Cartier watch is revealed.

1989 The legendary Cartier Tank receives its most famous update - the Tank Americaine. The longer, smoother case becomes an instant icon.

2004 The Santos 100, Santos-Dumont and Santos Demoiselle watches are premiered, in celebration of the centenary of the Cartier Santos luxury watch.