The Cartier Brand

Cartier’s reputation as the king of jewellery is undeniable and is, without a shadow of a doubt, down to the exquisite design and quality of its pieces. Founded in 1847, this sophisticated and creative company brought such originality to creating its watch cases that they have become highly desirable collector’s pieces in the world of vintage Horlogerie. Their designs have significantly influenced how we regard watches, jewellery, and accessories today.



In terms of creativity, the branch which stood head and shoulders above the others was the London headquarters at New Bond Street. It became an epicentre for daring and imaginative design and produced some of the brands’ most iconic creations. Cartier London’s strength wasn’t in its creativity alone, however. The branch housed its tradesmen and specialists entirely under one roof, creating a unique workshop-boutique where great ideas and master craftsmanship joined forces magnificently. The facility to design, produce, and sell a watch in the same city, in the same establishment, was a great novelty within the industry in those days, and Cartier was able to offer an unparalleled service to its clientele. So, whilst bearing the name of the Parisian jeweller, it operated as an independent and self-sufficient entity.



The most significant difference between Cartier’s international branches was the craftsmen in their workshops. Whilst the artisans at the New York branch were primarily French, at the London branch, English jewellers and watchmakers were trained in the ‘Cartier style’ but allowed to work more independently, which led to some of Cartier’s most unique and innovative creations.


At age 22, the creatively talented Jacques Cartier took control of Cartier London. Three years later, he would move the store to its present location, a five-story townhouse at 175-177 New Bond Street. On the building’s upper floors were the workshops that began to produce exclusive “Cartier London” jewellery. At the time, wristwatches were still in their infancy. Jacques’ older brother Louis had designed a watch for Alberto Santos-Dumont only a few years earlier, but the Cartier Tank was probably not even thought of yet. In the early years, the main focus of the London workshop was fine jewellery and bespoke commissions.


Due to the death of King Edward VII in 1910, Cartier London was also appointed as the official supplier for two royal coronations, creating tiaras and other distinguished pieces of jewellery in its first decade of operation.