Louis Cartier adopted the watch when wristwatches were still primarily jewelry. Superlative jewelry with a strong dash of French sophistication was his métier. In the Second French Empire, clothes and jewelry drove people to a particular degree. Since her marriage to Napoléon III, France's last monarch, Eugénie, was an imperial regular at Cartier, and antique pocket watches were in the lavish Cartier displays on Paris's Boulevard des Italiens from 1859. In the watch modern era, VIPs and celebrities, high aristocracy and heavy industry at major events and galas love to bask in the glow of sparkling Cartier gems. With a glittering luxury brand like Cartier, it is inevitable that gossipy tales of history will surround it. Royal events are always in demand. In 2015, the Monegasques paid homage to the princely godchildren with a precious belt buckle and a Cartier watch from the 1920s.

Princess Caroline likes to show off with the tiara Louis Cartier designed for her grandmother, and the fact that Grace Kelly and Liz Taylor and their successors in fame Nicole Kidmann, Monica Bellucci, Jennifer Lopez and Liv Tyler were and are intimately involved with Cartier comes as no surprise, especially when legendary stones like the 83-carat "Star of South Africa" are involved. Richard Burton purchased the largest diamond ever cut from Cartier for his still-or-again wife Liz Taylor. The luxury watch specialist HORANDO also feels obliged to the aura of the French noble house and uses its expertise to equip its customers with selected Cartier models. When buying luxury watches on the Internet, trust and security are paramount. With its wide network, HORANDO is able to fulfill even the wishes for rare and sought-after Cartier models from the Tank, Pasha C, Panthère, Santos, Ballon Bleue collections in a short time at a good price-performance ratio.

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Rise, glory and transformation of the House of Cartier

In 1888, the son of the company's founder, Louis Cartier, recognized the importance of the wristwatch and, in addition to his own ladies' models, included the products of other luxury manufacturers such as Vacheron Constantin in his range. By the time the British court ordered no fewer than 27 tiaras for the coronation of the then Prince of Wales, King Edward VII appointed him purveyor to the court, and the London boutique was stormed by British high society, all of this meant that the House of Cartier had arrived in the watchmaking Olympus. The markets in still Tsarist Russia also proved fruitful. In 1909, the Cartier store on New York's Fifth Avenue stocked the beautiful, the rich and the famous. The reference to aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont comes from the ingenious watchmaker in 1904. Cartier Santos is the first real pilot's watch ever. During the seventies, it will experience a brilliant rebirth in the concept "Les Must de Cartier". A watch legend, similar to the Tank and Pasha collections that made a furor in the second decade of the 20th century in the Art Deco style. Pasha was dedicated to the Sultan of Marrakech and this aroused the desires of the Maharajas in faraway India. In the first decades of the 20th century, other crowned heads got a taste for the exquisite - Cartier's high-altitude flights were unstoppable. Until the extinction of the family line in the fateful year 1965 which led to the splitting up of the family business. "Monde Cartier" became the "Vendome Luxury Group". But this cannot diminish Cartier's nimbus as a synonym for sublime luxury and established wealth. It has long been synonymous with a lifestyle that could hardly be more luxurious, and other luxury product segments have long since been taken up: perfume, eyewear, silk scarves, cigarette lighters, stationery and leather goods - the soigné trivialities without which the sophisticated woman or man of the world cannot leave the house. The unfussy, classic design - unmistakably Cartier - implies elite, refined aspirations. In 2009, Cartier celebrates its 100th anniversary in the U.S., now under the umbrella of the Richemond luxury goods group. Cartier is a world leader in the jewelry segment.

The Cartier brand's icon and world watch heritage: Cartier Santos

It may be seen as an irony of history, but the then emerging aviation and military industries encouraged the rise of the wristwatch. Traditional pocket watches on gold chains proved useless in feats of strength such as first flight or battle. The fact that ladies' watches were worn on the wrist after the turn of the century was considered "unmanly" by the men's world. But as early as 1880, Wilhelm I had wristwatches built for his naval officers. From 1904, the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont went on many test flights with the forerunner of the Cartier Santos, and on November 12, 1907, the playboy and aviation pioneer wore "his" Santos on his wrist during his spectacular 220-meter powered flight. During World War I, the troops followed suit, and eventually the wristwatch arrived in civilian society as well. The first Cartier Santos broke with the conventions of the time, according to which a watch had to be round, and appeared boldly square-edged, with rounded corners that were surrounded by a raised glass rim and a leather strap. Today, the most famous men's wristwatch in watch history presents itself in three collections: Santos de Cartier Galbée, Santos 100 and the classic Santos-Dumont, which echoes this attitude with alligator leather, gold case and a narrower bezel. Complications? Apart from a date display, missing on the Santos-Dumont. The Santos Galbée features the typical small screws on the case and steel bracelet, as well as Roman numerals. Pure aesthetics for aesthetic purists. When watches grew in diameter in the eighties, the dainty Cartier diameters seemed almost filigree. Today, they are back in vogue, as are the bicolor versions, which had lost land at times.

Hard-to-top luxury, precision for perfectionists

In 2009, Cartier unveiled the first self-winding movement developed entirely in-house, citing the Santos birth year with the name 1904MC. A double barrel increases accuracy and power reserve, and the rotor, which pushes the automatic movement with every stroke, relies on an innovative ceramic ball bearing. Cartier entered "haute horlogerie" with the development of the Astrotourbillon, which uses innovative mechanics to compensate for the rate deviation caused by gravity. Cartier also occupies the concept watch segment, for example with the extraordinary ID Two, in which a vacuum inside the transparent case makes a screw connection unnecessary.

Women's power at Cartier

"Innovation" is the credo of current Cartier chief watchmaker Carole Forestier-Kasapi. But even before her, strong, sophisticated women were calling the shots. Jeanne Toussaint must have been gifted with absolute taste in the 1920s. She laid the groundwork for the Must de Cartier, for it was the time of Brilli cigarette holders, golden jewels and pretentious dingles. In the seventies, Nathalie Hocq woke Cartier from its slumber. Papa Robert Hocq had acquired Cartier in 1972. His daughter went through an elaborate career before bringing a new lease of life to old, albeit well-oiled, machinery in Rue de la Paix. She was a sales and marketing talent with an unerring sense of design, stones, exhibitions, people, markets. She negotiated in Arab harems and in New York's Fith Avenue penthouses. "Mademoiselle Cartier," as she was respectfully called, and her habit of smoking black cigars made fashion. Today, the international marketing director is called Hélène Poulit and in this country Patricia Gandji. Women also hold management positions in China, Korea, Mexico and Taiwan.