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The Renowned History of Cartier Watches

April 5th, 2024

a Cartier watch on a black background

While the brand now stands as an iconic symbol of luxury and superb design, Cartier’s inception dates back to 1847 in Paris. Founded by Louis-François Cartier, this prestigious brand quickly rose to prominence, captivating the world with its exquisite jewelry and watchmaking. Over the years, Cartier has introduced several sought-after watch collections that have not only showcased the brand’s exceptional craftsmanship but have also become emblems of sophistication across the globe. Collections like the Tank, Panthère de Cartier, Santos de Cartier, and Ballon Bleu de Cartier have each played a pivotal role in shaping the luxury watch industry, marking significant periods in Cartier’s storied history. It is our extreme pleasure here at Hing Wa Lee Jewelers, to house a varied collection of watches from each of these collections, catering to the experienced watch collector and the casual shopper alike. 

three Cartier Tank collection watches


Introduced in 1917, the Cartier Tank collection has become an icon of the brand, embodying class and definitive design. Inspired by the clean lines of military tanks from World War I, its rectangular case and seamless integration with the bracelet have set a benchmark for watch aesthetics. Over the decades, the Tank has been reimagined in various iterations, preserving its timeless appeal while adapting to contemporary tastes. This collection's enduring popularity underscores Cartier's mastery in creating watches that demonstrate the height of both innovation and tradition.

a lady wearing a Panthère de Cartier watch with a rainforest background

Panthère de Cartier

The Panthère de Cartier collection, launched in the 1980s, showcases the brand’s prowess in combining jewelry craftsmanship with watchmaking. Named after the panther, an animal that has long been associated with the brand as a symbol of allure, grace, and power, this line is characterized by its supple link bracelet that wraps around the wrist like a piece of jewelry. Its elegant and fluid design appeals to those who appreciate both the decorative and functional aspects of their timepieces. The Panthère de Cartier remains a beloved collection, exemplifying the luxury and bold spirit of its wearers.

Santos de Cartier watch on a silver background

Santos De Cartier

Marking a milestone in aviation and watchmaking history, the Santos de Cartier was created in 1904 for the aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. This watch collection is distinguished by its square bezel, visible screws, and the integration of the strap into the case design, reflecting a blend of functionality and style. It represented a significant departure from the pocket watches of the era, offering a practical solution for pilots. The Santos de Cartier collection has evolved while maintaining its pioneering spirit, displaying the signature style of freedom and adventure.

a lady’s outstretched arm wearing a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch

Ballon Bleu de Cartier

The Ballon Bleu de Cartier, with its distinctive round case and the blue sapphire cabochon crown nestled in its arc, offers a modern twist on traditional watch design. Introduced in the 2000s, this collection is known for its elegance, featuring a floating balloon-like case and a gentle curve that sits perfectly on the wrist. The Ballon Bleu de Cartier appeals to those seeking a harmonious blend of classic Cartier luxury with a flavor of contemporary whimsy, making it a versatile choice for various occasions.

a man playing a cello outside a Cartier jewelry and watch store

Strength, Grace, and Allure: Cartier

Cartier is a legacy of luxury that transcends time. Each watch collection reflects the brand’s commitment to excellence, from the groundbreaking Santos de Cartier to the sophisticated Ballon Bleu de Cartier. These collections are not merely timepieces but pieces of art that carry the spirit and history of Cartier. As Cartier continues to innovate and expand its offerings, it remains steadfast in its dedication to craftsmanship, elegance, and the time-honored allure of its creations.

Discover Cartier at Hing Wa Lee Jewelers

Explore the world of Cartier at Hing Wa Lee Jewelers, where the legacy of Cartier's exquisite timepieces awaits. With locations in California, including San Gabriel and Walnut, Hing Wa Lee offers an extraordinary selection of Cartier collections. Visit us online to delve into the peak craftsmanship and aesthetic of Cartier watches. For a personalized experience, we invite you to request an appointment, allowing us to guide you through the legacy and luxury of Cartier, ensuring you find the flawless timepiece that resonates with your style and story at Hing Wa Lee Jewelers.