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Cartier Collectors Models

Cartier Collectors Models
Kseniya Burns

Whether you are a sage collector or are just getting into collecting vintage, rare watches, Ermitage Jewelers wants to help you succeed in your pursuits. Current day market is filled with cheap imitations of great watches and the only way to protect yourself from being misguided it to acquire as much knowledge about the subject as possible. Ermitgae Jewelers believes in keeping the authenticity of the brand, which is why we do not sell replicas and encourage everyone to learn the history behind these wonderful, historic timepieces. Below you will find a short write up on some of the most highly regarded Cartier watch lines that can become a wonderful investment for any collector, watch connoisseur, or just an individual with high style and a desire for a quality, relevant timepiece.


As with any Cartier watch, there is a story behind the design of the Santos. This particular line of watches in important to the history of Cartier largely because it was the first wrist watch that Cartier produced and the one that gave rise to the popularity of a wrist watch. Alberto Santos- Dumont was one of the most famous people of the early 20th century. His fame and glory were earned through his  involvement in the development of aviation. In 1901, Santos flew around the Effile Tower in 30 minutes (at that time a significant achievement in aviation history) which catapulted his fame even further. Although Santos continued to make advancements in aviation history, he also played a small but crucial part in popularization of a wrist watch.  Santos and Louis Cartier were very good friends, so when Santos complained to Cartier that he lost track of time while making his 30 minute flight because his hands were busy and he couldn't check his pocket watch, Cartier saw an opportunity to design a watch that would offer a much needed respite from pocket and pendant watches of the time.  The first Santos wrist watch featured a square case that was adorned with rivets akin to those  that held together the aircrafts of the time.


The Tonneau model was one of the first models that was officially marketed by the Cartier. To this day, this particular line of watches remains an important symbol of the innovation and imagination of the Cartier brand. The watch featured a thin, barrel shaped,  curved design that hugged the wrist snuggly, gold bars seamlessly transitioned the bracelet to the case. The dial was similar to that of a Tank, however appeared more gentle when paired with the overall design. The 1906 Tonneau model gave rise to a Tortue.


In 1912 Cartier introduced a watch that was inspired by the shape of a turtle. The watch continued with the ergonomic design of the case similar to that of a Tonneau, however, the Tortue became the first watch to have that unmistakable quality and complexity of Cartier. Tortue featured the first, single push chronograph.


The conception of Cartier Tank watch happened in 1917 when Louis Cartier was inspired by the French production of tanks during World War I. During that time, the French produced more tanks than any other nation involved in the conflict. The watch mimic the shape of a tank. It is both square and rectangular with its brancads seamlessly transitioning into the bracelet. The defining features of the watch also include its roman numeral dial with minute "index" markers that are reminiscent of the tank tread design, baton, blue steel hands, and a sapphire crown. The prototype of the Tank  watch was presented to John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing for his accomplishments during WWI. Pershing was an American WW I general who was served as an inspiration to many military leaders to come and was the first man in US military history to earn the highest ranking of General of the Armies while still alive.


Legend has it that in 1932 Cartier watchmakers were approached by El Haj T'hami el Mezouari el Glaoui, Pacha of Marrakech in Paris who commissioned a waterproof watch so he could keep track of time while he was in his pool. According to some sources it is possible that Pasha of Morocco was actually a personal friend of Louis Cartier. The resulting product of the decadent request became one of the most popular Cartier watch collections when it was resurrected in 1985 after the merger of the three Cartier houses. The watch featured a "grill" similar to those on the military watches of the time. The grid applied over the face of the watch served as a barrier and protected the crystal from breakage. The crown had a cap that screwed over it to make the watch watertight. Current models of Cartier Pasha watch still come with the iconic "canteen crown" . Although many subtle modifications were made to the Pasha line since its re-release in 1985, the look of the watch remained largely the same.


We are all familiar with the era of Grease Lightning, milk shakes, and poodle skirts, but what most people fail to realize it that the iconic 50's and 60's in this country were also marked by the birth of the car mod culture. The post war society craved excitement and new ways to have fun, so many car enthusiasts began modifying their cars and turning them into hot rods or simply purchasing a performance geared automobile. European roadsters were faster, smaller, more agile cars that did well in autocross and on long curvy mountain roads. The US models were larger, louder, heavier cars that were suited batter for a drag strip than for cornering.

Inspired by the sport of car racing Cartier produced a line of watches that embodied the style and the spirit of the faced paced, precision lifestyle of a race car driver. Although it is unclear which roadster in particular inspired the design of the line, one thing is clear, the watch itself is a mechanical marvel!