From being worn by Queen Elizabeth on her coronation day to adorning the wrist of legendary crooner, Frank Sinatra, Cartier Watches have been associated with the height of taste and style for over 170 years. This makes them the perfect gift for a loved one. Thankfully, a Cartier needn't be out of anyone's reach either — not when there is a wide choice of luxury second-hand watches available. And anyone who straps a piece of craftsmanship by the renowned French jeweller on to their wrist can vouch for the sense of timeless quality that it gives.
What's more, you instantly become part of a proud lineage of fascinating individuals who have worn a Cartier timepiece
The brand's history stretches back into the 19th century. It began when Louis-Francois Cartier took over his master's jewellery shop and began his visionary design career. However, he didn't branch out into watches until 1888, when the first ladies bracelet timepiece was fashioned.
Sixteen years later, in 1904, the first official wristwatch was created for Brazilian flying legend, Alberto Santos-Dumont. Alberto felt that pocket watches were dangerous to use when flying, so a watch worn on the wrist was invented to allow him to glance at the time quickly and easily.
Over the years that followed, the Cartier Panthere icon was incorporated into designs, the wild animal offering a symbol of regal fierceness for wearers. And in 1917, during the first world war, the immortal Tank watch was unveiled. Startlingly modern with simple Roman numerals, this ahead-of-its-time design was made to look like a tank cockpit. It became wildly popular and is now known as one of the most iconic watches on the planet, worn over the years by legends such as Cary Grant, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Yves Saint Laurent, Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie. Rudolph Valentino even wore it beneath his sheikh costume while filming, while Andy Warhol simply called it 'the watch to wear'. Over 100 years since it was first invented, it has never gone out of fashion.
Other enchanting creations followed over the decades, including the 1931 Mystery pocket watch, which used hidden crystal discs to move its hands. In 1938, the brand fashioned one of its smallest wristwatches ever, gifting the dazzling and dainty diamond peace to Elizabeth II. When she eventually wore it on her coronation day, Cartier was officially at the very pinnacle of high society.
In 1989, the Tank received a design update when the Tank Americaine was unleashed, with a longer, smoother look that wearers loved. And in 2004, the Santos 100, Santos-Dumont and Santos Demoiselle were all premiered, in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the watch originally created for the daring Brazilian pilot.
For those who dream of wearing this 'watch of the ages', it is now easy to find vintage and secondhand Cartiers, whether that's a Tank Francaise, Cartier Panthere or Lanieres for ladies, or a Cartier Santos, Ballon Blue or Pasha de Cartier for gents. And whether your preference is rose gold, white gold or platinum, there is something for every taste. You can also take your pick from different decades, including the roaring 20s, glamorous 40s or style-conscious 80s. For although Cartiers have a distinctly timeless feel, the essence of different periods also shines through in various creations.
Of course, a Cartier is also ideal as an anniversary gift too, for many are embedded with gemstones to match different milestones, including (of course) eternal diamonds. Cherished, iconic, revolutionary - there is no gift quite like a Cartier watch and no feeling quite like glancing down at one on your wrist. Best of all, the legend is sure to live on for many years to come.