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WWD Milestones issue 05/18/2009

Louis-François Cartier (1819-1904) takes over the jewelry workshop of his apprenticeship master, Adolphe Picard, at 29 Rue Montorgueil, Paris.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon I and cousin to Emperor Napoleon III, makes her first Cartier purchase.

Cartier moves to 9 Boulevard des Italiens. Empress Eugénie becomes a customer.

The first jewelry bracelet-watches for women are made.

Louis Cartier (1875-1942) joins his father, Alfred (1841-1925; son of Louis-François), in business.

Cartier opens at 13 Rue de la Paix in Paris.

Crowned heads and aristocrats from around the world flock to buy Neoclassic diamond jewelry mounted in platinum.

Pierre Cartier (1878-1964), Alfred’s second son, opens a branch at 4 New Burlington Street in London. The opening coincides with the coronation of King Edward VII.

Cartier receives its first royal warrant as official purveyor to King Edward VII of England.

King Alfonso XIII of Spain appoints the company an official purveyor.

Louis Cartier creates a watch with a leather strap, expressly designed to be worn on the wrist, for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian aviator.

Queen Alexandra of England purchases a necklace in the Indian style.

Cartier introduces jewelry prefi guring the Art Deco style, recognizable for its abstract and geometric forms.

King Carlos I of Portugal appoints Cartier an official purveyor.

Alfred’s third son, Jacques (1884- 1942), takes over the London branch.

Creation of the first Tonneau wristwatch.

First exhibition and sale in Saint Petersburg, at the Grand Hotel Europe.

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia names the company as his official purveyor.

King Paramindr Maha Chulalongkorn of Siam appoints Cartier an official purveyor.

Cartier expands into the growing American market as Pierre Cartier opens a subsidiary in New York at 712 Fifth Avenue.

A new location opens at 175-176 New Bond Street, London.

Patent is granted for the folding buckle for wristwatches.

Pierre Cartier sells the blue, 45.5-carat Hope Diamond to an American customer, Evalyn Walsh McLean.

Launch of the Santos de Cartier wristwatch, inspired by the 1904 model.

Jacques Cartier travels to India to attend the Delhi Durbar and to visit the Persian Gulf.

The first mystery clock, the Model A, is introduced.

A delegation from the City of Paris presents Tsar Nicholas II with the Cartier Imperial Egg (now at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Introduction of baguette-cut diamonds and the comet clocks.

Launch of the Tortue watch.

King Peter I of Serbia appoints Cartier an official purveyor.

Cartier paves the bezel on a lady’s round wristwatch with diamonds and onyx to create the first Panther motif.

Duke Philippe of Orleans appoints the company an official purveyor.


The New York store moves to 653 Fifth Avenue, the mansion of Morton F. Plant, which Pierre Cartier acquires in exchange for a double-strand necklace of 55 and 73 natural pearls.

First studies for the Tank wristwatch.

The Cartier New York workshop opens; later named “American Art Works.”

Creation of batons for French Field-Marshals Foch and Pétain.

Launch of the Tank wristwatch.

King Albert I of Belgium appoints Cartier an official purveyor.

Cartier is named official purveyor to the Prince of Wales, future King Edward VIII, who, on abdicating in 1936, became the Duke of Windsor.

Creation of the Tank cintrée wristwatch.

Creation of the Tank Louis Cartier and Tank Chinoise wristwatches.

Opening of Cartier’s London workshop named the “English Art Works.”


Introduction of the first Portico mystery clock.

Creation of the three-band ring and bracelet combining gold in three colors, known in the U.S. as Trinity.

Cartier makes a memorable appearance at the International Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris, in the Pavillon de l’Élégance.

Alfred Cartier dies.

Creation of the Baguette wristwatch.

A loyal American customer, Marjorie Merriweather Post, purchases from Cartier in London earrings once worn by Queen Marie-Antoinette of France.

Creation of the Tortue single-button chronograph wristwatch.

King Fouad I of Egypt appoints Cartier an official purveyor.

Participation in the Exhibition of French Arts in Cairo.

Creation of the Tank à guichets wristwatch.


Creation of the Tank basculante wristwatch.

Jeanne Toussaint is named head of Cartier fine jewelry.

Cartier files a patent for the “invisible mount,” a stone-setting technique in which the metal of the mount disappears to show only the stones.

Cartier opens in Monte Carlo.

Creation of the Tank asymétrique wristwatch.

Cartier opens in Cannes.

The smallest wristwatch in the world, by Cartier, is given to 12-year-old Princess Elizabeth of England by the French President, Albert Lebrun, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth go to France for a state visit.

Cartier is named an official purveyor to King Zog I of Albania.

Creation of the “Caged Bird” brooch as a symbol of the Occupation. In 1944, the “Freed Bird” brooch would celebrate the Liberation of Paris.

Louis and Jacques Cartier die.

Pierre Cartier heads Cartier Paris.

Claude, son of Louis, takes the helm of Cartier New York, while Jean-Jacques Cartier, son of Jacques, heads Cartier London.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor purchase, in Paris, a platinum panther brooch on a Kashmir cabochon sapphire of 152.35 carats. Cartier would buy the brooch for its own collection in 1987.


Legendary Hollywood actress Gloria Swanson appears in “Sunset Boulevard” wearing two diamond and rock crystal bracelets she purchased from Cartier in 1930.

Marilyn Monroe sings “Cartier!” in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Creation of Jean Cocteau’s sword for his election to the Académie Française, to the artist’s own design.

For her marriage to Prince Rainier, American actress Grace Kelly receives numerous gifts of jewelry by Cartier including her engagement ring, set with a 12-carat emerald-cut diamond.


Barbara Hutton buys a tiger brooch in yellow gold, onyx and yellow diamonds.

Pierre Cartier dies.

Creation of the Crashwatch.

The Mexican actress María Félix commissions Cartier to make a diamond necklace in the form of a serpent.

Cartier grants Robert Hocq a license to create an oval lighter with a retractable wheel under the Cartier name.

Creation of the Maxi Oval watch in London.

Cartier acquires an exceptional pear-shaped diamond of 69.42 carats and sells it to Richard Burton, who gives it to Elizabeth Taylor for her birthday. The famous Cartier diamond was thus renamed the Taylor-Burton.

Cartier opens in Geneva.

Creation of the Love bracelet.

Cartier opens in Hong Kong.

Cartier opens in Munich.

Cartier Paris is taken over by a group of investors led by Joseph Kanoui.

Creation of Les Must de Cartier by Robert Hocq with Alain-Dominique Perrin.


Launch of the first leather collection in bordeaux-red.

Cartier loans a significant part of its Art Deco style jewelry collection for The Great Gatsby, directed by Jack Clayton and starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

Cartier celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Louis Cartier.

The first major retrospective, “Louis Cartier: Art Deco Masterpieces,” opens in Monte Carlo.

First collection of Les Must de Cartier vermeil watches.

Viewing in New York of “Retrospective Louis Cartier: One Hundred and One Years of the Jeweler’s Art.”

Creation of the first oval pen.

Creation of the Santos de Cartier watch with a gold and steel bracelet.

Cartier scarves make their debut.

Cartier Paris, Cartier London and Cartier New York are reunited as a single legal entity.

Launch of Must de Cartier and Santos de Cartier perfumes.

Introduction of gold-and-stone-themed jewelry collection.

Creation of the Collection Ancienne Cartier (later the Cartier Collection) to record and illustrate the jeweler’s art and history.

Creation of the Panthère de Cartier watch.

Introduction of a jewelry collection on the theme of gold and pearls.

Creation of the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jouy-en-Josas.

Cartier becomes partner to the International Polo Tournament at Windsor, England.

Launch of the Pasha de Cartier wristwatch.

Debut of the Panther jewelry collection.

Panthère de Cartier perfume launches.

Creation of Les Maisons de Cartier tableware (porcelain, crystal and silverware).

Formation of Compagnie Financière Richemont. Richemont owns a minority holding in Cartier Monde SA and Rothmans International, which also holds investments in Cartier Monde, Alfred Dunhill and, through Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc and Chloé.

Debut of Egypt-themed jewelry.

The Tank Américaine wristwatch bows.

Showing of “The Art of Cartier,” the first major retrospective in Paris, at the Petit Palais.

Establishment of the Comité International de la Haute Horlogerie (CIHH).

The first Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva.

“The Art of Cartier” is shown at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Creation of the Pasha C wristwatch in steel.

So Pretty de Cartier perfume launches.

“The Art of Cartier, the World of French Jewelry Art” exhibition opens at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum in Japan.

The Tank Française wristwatch is introduced.

Debut of the Creation jewelry line.

Launch of the Tank ring.

Showing of “Cartier, Splendors of Jewelry” retrospective at the Hermitage Foundation in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Cartier celebrates its 150th anniversary with fine jewelry introductions, including a necklace in the form of a serpent, paved with diamonds and set with two pear-shaped emeralds of 205 and 206 carats.

The “Cartier 1900-1939” retrospective shows at the British Museum in London and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Creation of the Collection Privée Cartier Paris fine watch collection.

Creation of the Paris Nouvelle Vague Cartier jewelry collection, inspired by the city of Paris.

“The Art of Cartier, A Splendor of Time” retrospective at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes opens in Mexico City with guest of honor María Félix.

The “Cartier 1900-1939” exhibition opens at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

The intersection of Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street in New York is officially named “Place de Cartier.”

Launch of Délices de Cartier jewelry.

Launch of the Roadster watch.

Cartier shows the ceremonial necklace made for the Maharajah of Patiala at the  21st Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris.

Creation of the Tank Divan wristwatch.

“Cartier Design viewed by Ettore Sottsass” premieres at the Vitra Design Museum in Berlin and the Palazzo Reale in Milan. The exhibition will later travel to the Daigoji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Introduction of the Le Baiser du Dragon and Les Délices de Goa jewelry collections.

The Kimberley Process is implemented and Cartier immediately adopts measures to end trade in conflict diamonds.

Cartier contributes to “Jean Cocteau, Spanning the Century,” at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Cartier opens at 154 Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris.


The company marks the 100th anniversary of the Santos de Cartier wristwatch, with the creation of the Santos 100, Santos Demoiselle and Santos-Dumont wristwatches. Cartier presents “The Art of Cartier” retrospective at the Shanghai Museum.

Presentation of the historic Star of the South diamond weighing 128.48 carats at the 22nd Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris.

Creation of Caresse d’Orchidées par Cartier fine jewelry.

A bespoke perfume service begins at 13 Rue de la Paix.

Cartier cofounds the Council for Responsible Jewelry Practices and becomes an active member of the Women’s Forum.

Creation of the La Doña de Cartier wristwatch. Cartier holds the first “Love Charity” international fund-raising sale.

Cartier presents a special award for women business entrepreneurs at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.

Debut of Inde Mystérieuse fine jewelry and the Ballon Bleu de Cartier wristwatch.

“Cartier 1899-1949, The Journey of a Style” premieres at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Museum in Lisbon.

“Cartier, Innovation Through the 20th Century” shows at the Kremlin Museum in Moscow.

The 9452 MC calibre, the first Cartier calibre to be stamped with the Geneva Seal, is introduced.

Creation of Roadster men’s fragrance.

“The Art of Cartier” retrospective shows at the Deoksugung National Museum of Seoul.

Presentation of a fine jewelry collection, dedicated to extraordinary creatures such as dragons, chimaeras, plumed serpents, at the 24th Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris.

Cartier marks 100 years in New York.