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Vintage 1920s Art Deco Pocket Watches
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Vintage 1920s Wrist Watches
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Vintage 1920s Art Deco Pocket Watches
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Vintage 1940s Wrist Watches
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Cartier Ewc For Sale on 1stDibs
How Much is a Cartier Ewc?
Cartier Biography and Important Works
For its extraordinary range of bracelets, watches, rings and other adornments, French luxury house Cartier is undeniably one of the most well known and internationally revered jewelers in the world among clients both existing and aspirational.
Perhaps 1847 was not the ideal time to open a new watchmaking and jewelry business, as the French Revolution was not kind to the aristocracy who could afford such luxuries. Nevertheless, it was the year Louis-François Cartier (1819–1904) — who was born into poverty — founded his eponymous empire, assuming control of the workshop of watchmaker Adolphe Picard, under whom he had previously been employed as an assistant. Of course, in the beginning, it was a relatively modest affair, but by the late 1850s, Cartier had its first royal client, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, who commissioned the jeweler to design brooches, earrings and other accessories.
Under the leadership of Louis-François’s son, Alfred, who took over in 1874, business boomed. Royalty around the world wore Cartier pieces, including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Maharaja of Patiala and King Edward VII, who had 27 tiaras made by the jewelry house for his coronation in 1902 and issued Cartier a royal warrant in 1904. (Today, the British royal family still dons Cartier pieces; Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, regularly sports a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch.)
Cartier’s golden years, however, began when Alfred introduced his three sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, to the business. The brothers expanded Cartier globally: Louis reigned in Paris, Pierre in New York and Jacques in London, ensuring their brand’s consistency at their branches across the world. The trio also brought in such talents as Charles Jacqueau and Jeanne Toussaint.
One of Cartier’s earliest major successes was the Santos de Cartier watch — one of the world's first modern wristwatches for men. (Previously, a large number of people were using only pocket watches.) Louis designed the timepiece in 1904 for his friend, popular Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted to be able to check the time more easily while flying.
Cartier’s other famous timepieces include the Tank watch, which was inspired by the linear form of military tanks during World War I, and the so-called mystery clocks. Invented by watchmaker and magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and later crafted exclusively for Cartier in the house’s workshop by watchmaker Maurice Couët, the mystery clocks were so named because the integration of glass dials on which the clocks’ hands would seemingly float as well as structures that are hidden away within the base give the illusion that they operate without machinery.
On the jewelry side of the business, Cartier’s internationally renowned offerings include the Tutti Frutti collection, which featured colorful carved gemstones inspired by Jacques’s trip to India and grew in popularity during the Art Deco years; the panthère motif, which has been incorporated into everything from brooches to rings; and the Love bracelet, a minimal, modernist locking bangle inspired by medieval chastity belts that transformed fine jewelry.
While the Cartier family sold the business following the death of Pierre in 1964, the brand continues to innovate today, renewing old hits and creating new masterpieces.
Finding the Right Watches for You
Records show that, in Europe, by the 16th century, it was high time for portable clock devices. Right now, perhaps you’re shopping for your own. If so, find a vast range of fashionable and functional antique, new and classic vintage watches on 1stDibs.
While wall-mounted time tellers and grandfather clocks were much more convenient than the sundials of ancient history, watches were becoming crucial for an increasingly connected society whose members learned that the latest advancements in technology meant they could carry devices that kept time to within a minute a day. Tragically, the first pocket watches — albeit an improvement on the accessories that preceded them, which dangled from a chain worn around the neck — didn’t help much as far as accuracy or portability. Focused on style over substance, the upper class frequently carried lavish pieces that ran hours behind.
Eventually, watches migrated from owners’ pockets to their wrists. In the early days of watchmaking, watches were fragile enough that they necessitated protection from the elements. Now, wristwatches made of gold and steel can withstand the harshest climates — even 100 meters underwater, in the case of Rolex’s Submariner. Designer Gérald Genta, whose range of clients included Rolex, created for Audemars Piguet the first luxury sports timepiece to be made from stainless steel. First introduced in 1972, the Royal Oak was a perfect choice for blending the form and function that are now synonymous with sports watches.
Indeed, although exceedingly practical, the watches of today are far from bland. Bvlgari’s iconic Serpenti watch was on everyone’s list after the collection’s bold bracelet, which technically debuted after the timepiece, graced the wrist of actress Elizabeth Taylor. If anything, elaborately crafted timepieces — the unmistakably boxy silhouette of Cartier Tank watches, the elegant and minimal Calatrava designed by legendary Swiss house Patek Philippe — are even more effective than the shape we associate with traditional watches. You’ll always know what time it is because you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from your new accessory.
Form watches — the all-encompassing moniker bestowed upon non-round watches — are making headlines and completing contemporary fashionable ensembles the world over. At the same time, both casual fans and careful collectors are drawn to the unbeatable charm of vintage styles, such as the icons designed by Omega that even James Bond can’t resist.
When shopping for a watch, it’s good to keep your needs as well as your specific personal style in mind: A smaller, subtle timepiece is a good fit for small wrists. When will you be wearing your new accessory? There’s a versatile model out there for everyday wear, while a rugged, feature-heavy watch is a safe bet if you’re prone to embarking on all-weather activities in the great outdoors.
Find exactly what you’re looking for in an unparalleled collection of antique, new and vintage watches on 1stDibs — we promise it will be worth your time.
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