Today, I want to take a short walk with you through the success story of Société Cartier and highlight the major achievements of the iconic brand. Symbol of French savoir-faire and Parisian luxury – the famous jewelry House Cartier was founded in 1847 by Louis -François Cartier in Paris. It has truly long and remarkable history (171 years)! Cartier managed to remain family-owned company until 1964. Today, the company maintains its headquarters in Paris and it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA in Switzerland. Moreover, there is even a movie about the legendary make – “L’Odyssee de Cartier”, the allegory of brand’s journey made especially for the 165th anniversary by Bruno Aveillan (I suggest to watch it).
Today, the international brand is mainly operating in 3 industries: jewelry manufacturing, watchmaking and retailing. The company is engaged in the design, manufacture, distribution, and sales of watches (Horlogerie), collectibles, jewelry, fragrances, and accessories: cigarette lighters, stylish pens, and other souvenirs. The works of Cartier Horlogerie considered to be one of the greatest in history and is in highly desired by the largest museums in the world. Cartier is actually the pioneers of the first wristwatch for men. Alfred Cartier in 1904 has popularized and revolutionized the jewelry-making industry. First by making wristwatch the accessory for men and secondly, by becoming the first jeweler to successfully use platinum in the jewelry-making. The wristwatch of aviator design, which once was offered as a present to a friend is a major part of brand tradition today.
It is important to mention, that Cartier success was formed by such notable persons as regular buyers of jewelry, like Princess Matilda, the niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Empress Eugene, the wife of Napoleon III. The company was the most sought-after jewelry house among the crowned heads. François Cartier simply in the first 30 years of the XX century received 15 patents for the jewelry supply to the royal houses around the world. He was called both “the king of jewelers and the jeweler of the kings.” In addition, among the regular customers of Cartier’s product was the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. He has offered Cartier House to become a courtier of his royal household after a jewelry exhibition in St. Petersburg.
Moreover, panther – is another iconic symbol of the Cartier House that is recognizable worldwide. The white gold panther figurine, which has become the trademark of the House, was created by Jeanne Toussaint. Since 1933, she has entered the post of Director of Fine Jewellery of the brand. In those years, Madame Toussaint was often compared to this graceful animal for her independence and self-confidence. The first brooch with a panther figurine sitting on an emerald, like many other decorations designed by Jeanne Toussaint, was purchased by Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. After that, the Duchess together with her husband participated in the creation of jewelry of the brand.
Louis and Jacques Cartier died in 1942. In 1945, their brother Pierre became president of the company, which by then was called Cartier International. In the late 1940s. headquarters in London, headed by Jean-Jacques Cartier, in New York – Claude Cartier. After the death of Pierre in 1964, Jean-Jacques Cartier (Jacques’s son), Claude Cartier (Louis’s son), and Marianne Claudelle (Pierre’s daughter) — who respectively headed the Cartier affiliates in London, New York, and Paris — sold the businesses.
1972, the French office was acquired by a large financial syndicate. Products of the Cartier brand were sold not only in branded salons but in the jewelry departments of expensive stores. The company launched a line of new products: bags, belts, shawls. In the following decades, the brand continued to actively expand production. In 2012, Cartier was owned, through Richemont, by the South African Rupert family, and Elle Pagels, a 24-year-old granddaughter of Pierre Cartier.
Today, the Cartier empire has 14 distribution companies. But, like 171 years ago, their products are of high-quality standards. More than 200 retail stores can be found in 125 countries. However the 3 Historical Maison remain the same: Paris, 13 Rue de la Paix, London 175-177 New Bond Street and New York, 653 Fifth Avenue. “Les Must de Cartier” – “Cartier, It’s a must!” – I agree with President Robert Hocq, who created this phrase – simply have at least one item of Cartier as a piece of art!
Thanks for reading me