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In 1907 Edmond Jaeger began to make the internal movements for Cartier watches. Success moved Cartier forward into the world market. Fashionable wristwatches replaced pocket watches as styles changed through design movements such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Some early Cartier models include the Baignoire , the Tortue , and the Tank watches.
Cartier’s Lasting Design and Artistic Appeal Today you see a lot more technical development in wristwatches than we saw through the last hundred years because wristwatches tended to follow pocket watch developments in terms of timekeeping and manufacturing. Today, though, they’re using new materials for balances and hairsprings, and they’re inventing new escapements.
In fact, just before World War I there was a lot of experimentation with bracelet watches. They gained in popularity, but they were still only owned by the few because they were expensive. Eventually manufacturers started making things that people could use to convert their small pocket watches into wristwatches.
For example, there were a lot of popular ladies’ fob watches, which women wore on a neck chain. So some makers started producing cases that you could snap fob watches into to create an instant wristwatch. Other firms put lugs on these old fob watches so that, again, they could be worn as wristwatches.
This is a great question. I’ve written before about how I think watches are still status symbols Not only do men’s magazines all still advise men to go out and spend money on a watch, but I’ve often been at a lunch with high-achieving women, looked around, and noticed that 8 of the 10 women there were wearing Cartier watches. In New York — at least among the legal and banking set — Cartier is kind of the first and last word, at least in my experience. My 30th birthday gift to myself was a Cartier Tank Francaise watch, though, so perhaps my perception is a bit biased!
I was first made aware of Cartier’s horological ascendance with the Cartier Ballon Bleu at the 19th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in 2009. True snobs would turn their noses at this statement, after all, the 42mm stunner didn’t have an in-house movement, within the well polished case beat the heart of a standard ETA but like all Cartier products, the finish of the dials and the attention to the distinctive crown to me were but hallmarks of a jeweler in pursuit of eventually becoming a serious watch maker. 1 year later, they have proven me right.