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How Cartier Became A Serious Watchmaker?

August 9th, 2019
cartier-watchmaker

If you think about ‘Haute Horlogerie’, what is the first brand that will come to your mind? Of course, it is not ideally Cartier! Nonetheless, the fact is that Cartier is today an earnest watch manufacturer with a compelling past and excellent proficiency in jewellery or gem setting. Moreover, it is no secret that Cartier is ideally the world’s second or third best selling Swiss brand after Rolex.

Although the brand is typically more recognised for its fine jewellery, Cartier’s watches have also made a big impression all over the world. While their signature timepieces are now highly desirable and collectable, you can choose to ‘sell my Cartier watch’ with full confidence. Thus, let’s today find out how the prestigious brand Cartier gradually became a serious watchmaker over the years.

The History of Cartier

In 1874, Louis-Francois Cartier founded the company ‘Cartier’ in Paris, France, during the disruptive time of the French revolution. The brand, in its early years, established its reputation by meeting the extravagant desires of the elites in society. While Louis-Francois Cartier’s son and later, his grandsons joined the business after a few decades, it brought a new perspective to the company and quickly acquired the fame.

In 1904, the brand made the watch ‘Santos’ for his Brazillian aviator friend and client, Alberto Santos-Dumont. However, the timepiece did not go on sale until 1911. Later, Cartier partnered with Edmond Jaeger in 1907 who supplied the movements for the brand’s exclusive wristwatches. While the company opened its boutiques in the same year in New York City, London and St. Petersburg, its global presence grew. Eventually, Cartier began to emerge as one of the world’s most successful and popular watchmakers.

The King of ‘Haute joaillerie’

Cartier startled the luxury watch industry in 2008 with the launch of its ever first Geneva Seal watch – the Cartier Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon. Interestingly, the famous Cartier had no tradition of producing in-house mechanical movements. Moreover, the brand also had no roots of watchmaking in Geneva, and this is indeed a primary requirement to achieve the reputably prestigious ‘Poincon de Geneve’. Thus, you now may be wondering:

How did Cartier earn the Geneva Seal?

The fact is that Richemont SA, the parent company of Cartier, took possession of the production facilities of Roger Dubuis Manufacture in Geneva that specialised in producing movements with Geneva Seal. While the company quickly took over a factory in the Dubuis facility, it installed ten expert watchmakers over there.

The Flying Tourbillon calibre 9452 MC is indeed based on the design of Roger Dubuis. But, the question that yet lingered was whether the expertise behind the Ballon Bleu design was Cartier or Dubuis. However, it was really Cartier that emerged as a legitimate mechanical movement maker with earnest ambitions in high horology.

Cartier soon cemented its position in the high-mechanical men’s watch market. The brand introduced seventeen new mechanical timepieces for men and nine all-new movements that included another Geneva Seal movement. However, at least six of its movement was designed, developed and produced entirely in the Cartier’s big watchmaking factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Among them, the first movement Cartier made in-house is the automatic calibre 1904 MC. It is the base movement for upcoming mechanical watches of Cartier, including the ones with complications. Ideally, the most surprising production of Cartier was the Cartier ID One – probably the first watch of the world that never requires adjusting.

The watch sports some innovative mechanisms and components like a carbon-crystal balance wheel, and Zerodur hairsprings. The Cartier ID Two is another concept timepiece made by Cartier that is indeed the first high-efficiency watch of the world. The watch uses less energy but stores as well as distributes energy more efficiently. Incorporating new elements, new construction of the mechanical parts and distinctive treatment for watch parts, Cartier made the timepiece with a power reserve of 32days.

However, all these Cartier’s innovations have left the watch aficionados, and collectors impressed, surprised but also, confused at the same time. While people perceived Cartier more as a creator of jewellery and handbags for women, they wondered how the brand could produce high-mechanical wonders.

cartier-watch-history

A New Chapter in Illustrious Cartier Watch History

Cartier chiefs confessed that today the brand is the world’s leading producer of jewellery timepieces, especially for women. For example, women’s models in the United States account for about two-thirds of Cartier watch sales. Regardless, they acknowledged that the brand converted into manufacturing mechanical movement to keep with Cartier’s recognition as a historical manufacturer of its luxury assets and men’s watches with icons such as the Cartier Santos and Cartier Tank.

The International CEO of Cartier, Bernard Fornas, asserted that Cartier has been making new mechanical timepieces for men since 2005. The brand developed in-house mechanical watches not only to place itself as a luxury watchmaker next to Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget and others but also to produce movements that manifest Cartier’s image as an epitome of design and creativity.

High-end Mechanical

Cartier was well-aware of the fact that men, interested in so-called ‘better watches’ were more knowledgeable about watches and also, more interested in movements’ quality. Thus, in 1998, the brand launched its ‘Collection Privee, Cartier Paris’ series, keeping those male consumers in mind. A collection of limited edition watches was equipped in Cartier’s classic cases such as the Santos and the Tank and powered by top-notch mechanical calibres produced by Cartier.

Highlights of Cartier

 

  • Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon

In 2007, Cartier introduced its first extravagant Flying Tourbillon Calibre 9452MC movement that received the first-ever Geneva Seal. Moreover, the movement was equipped into a much bigger 47mm Ballon Bleu case. However, in meanwhile, Cartier launched a much more wearable 40mm Rotonde and glamorous Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon watches.

  • Calibre de Cartier

In 2011, Cartier launched a thin automatic calibre 1904MC movement with power reserve up to 48hours. The first watch powered with the calibre 1904MC was the ‘Calibre de Cartier’. However, the brand soon after started to employ this calibre as the base for many Chronographs and Perpetual Calendar calibres.

  • Cartier Diver

The Cartier Diver is indeed the first diver watch made by the brand, also powered by the calibre 1904MC. However, the most exciting fact is that it is the world’s slimmest Diver watch. While the case size of the watch is 42mm, it has a height of only 11mm. And, for a diver timepiece, the height of 11mm is indeed flat, especially when you compare it with the Rolex Sea-Dweller of 17,68mm height or the popular Rolex Submariner with a height of 12,5mm.

However, the bezel of the watch is unidirectional and self-lubricating, steel varnished with ADLC – a material harder than steel. While the sapphire crystal is 1.2mm thicker than the standard ‘Calibre de Cartier’ watch, it can combat the water-resistant up to 300m.

  • Rotonde Annual Calendar

The exclusive Rotonde Annual calendar with in-house automatic calibre 9908MC and Grande date is an illustration of a complicated movement, based on the Calibre 1904. However, wearers can adjust the watch through the crown and require only one correct each year.

  • Skeleton ADLC

The Santos Dumont Skeleton was the second watch to feature the new mechanical skeleton 9612MC calibre. This good looking watch comes with a pink, white gold or ADLC coated titanium case and has a wearable 38.7 X 47.4mm dimensions.

  • Rotonde Grande Complication

The amazing Rotonde Grande Complication was introduced in 2010. However, Cartier made certain refinements to release the Rotonde Grande Complication’s 2015 version, retaining the same dial colour and case. But, it was entirely a different watch fitted with Flying Tourbillon, Minute Repeater and Perpetual Calendar.

The new automatic skeletonised calibre 9406MC movement and double platinum micro-motor powered the watch. More significantly, this Rotonde Grande Complication achieved the Geneva Seal.

From the standard calibre 1904MC to the high-end 9406MC movement, Cartier created a stunning collection of nearly 40 different calibres, since 2007. This genius watch manufacturer is indeed worthy of your attention if you are interested in luxury watchmaking.

However, for those who are looking to ‘sell Cartier’, ‘sell Cartier watches’ or ‘sell watches’ of any other luxury brand to raise instant cash, get in touch with the trustworthy watch buyers at The Luxury Hut in London to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal.

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