Louis-François Cartier founded Cartier in Paris in 1847 when he took over the workshop of his master. In 1874, Louis-François' son Alfred Cartier took over the company, but it was Alfred's sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who were responsible for establishing the brand name worldwide.
Cartier Santos - steel/gold from 1988
In 1904, the Brazilian pioneer aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont
complained to his friend Louis Cartier of the unreliability and
impracticality of using pocket watches while flying. Cartier designed a
flat wristwatch with a distinctive square bezel. This watch was liked by
not only Santos-Dumont but also many other customers. Thus the "Santos"
was born. This was Cartier's first men's wristwatch.
Mackay emerald and diamond necklace, 168 carats Muzo, Colombia, 1931.
Louis retained responsibility for the Paris branch, moving to the Rue de la Paix in 1899. He was responsible for some of the company's most celebrated designs, like the mystery clocks (a type of clock with a transparent dial and so named because its mechanism is hidden), fashionable wristwatches and exotic orientalist Art Deco designs, including the colorful "Tutti Frutti" jewels.
In 1907, Cartier signed a contract with Edmond Jaeger,
who agreed to exclusively supply the movements for Cartier watches. By
this time, Cartier had branches in London, New York and St. Petersburg
and was quickly becoming one of the most successful watch companies in
the world. The Baignoire and Tortue models (both of which are still in
production today) were introduced in 1912, followed by the Tank model in 1917. This, designed by Louis Cartier, was inspired from the newly introduced tanks on the Western Front. This line too has survived, with over thirty varieties made since.