There is no other watch brand more associated than Cartier with what in watchmaking terms is called a dress watch. Traditional dress watches have often had a thin strap and a minimalist dial, which has made them fit well under a jacket sleeve.
According to older rules of etiquette, conversation was the highlight of the evening at formal events and therefore the watch should not attract too much attention.
Nowadays, however, few people think along these lines when choosing watches for formal occasions. Nevertheless, it is the understated elegance that is recommended when choosing a dress watch.
The history of Cartier
That Cartier would provide some of the most elegant timepieces for more festive occasions was only natural, given its history. Even Cartier’s earliest models of watches are studded with many precious stones, beautifully designed and very expensive.
These models were mainly for women and coincided with the fashion that began to emerge at the end of the 19th century, when female festive fashion no longer required long sleeves or long gloves.
Founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis François Cartier, the prestigious Cartier jewellery company has offered exclusive watches, jewellery, perfumes and pens over the years and now has branches in New York and London, among other places.
The elegant Cartier Tank
Among the classic men’s models launched by Cartier over the years is the Cartier Tank, one of the most classic models of suit watches. Launched in 1917, the Tank watch was inspired by the tanks Louis Cartier saw on the Western Front during the First World War.
The Cartier Tank did not actually come onto the market until 1918 and full-scale production began in 1919, when a modest 6 watches were produced.
Since then, different variations of the model have been launched, such as the Tank Louis in 1922, the Tank Americaine in 1989 and the Tank Francaise in 1996.
The most distinctive feature of a watch from the Tank collection is its Roman numerals on the dial, the sword-shaped hands in blue and a beautifully crafted crown in sapphire blue.
The Cartier Tank is one of the most sought-after and copied wristwatches of all time. Among those who have worn it are style icons such as Cary Grant and Yves Saint Laurent. Even among women, this is a coveted watch worn by Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana, among others.
Other stylish dress watches from Cartier
One of the first Cartier watches still in production came back in 1904 when the first Santos-Dumont watch for a bracelet or necklace was launched. In 1910, Cartier designed a wide buckle for the watch and in 1911, the first Santos watches appeared on the market, a truly classic model with its square-rounded corners and eight screws on the crown ring. Here a Santos watch in 18-carat rose gold.
One of the more unique models of the wristwatches launched in the last decades from Cartier is the Ballon Bleu De Cartier which came on the market in 2007. Unsurprisingly, this model is also a favourite of several of today’s celebrities, with Johnny Depp among those seen wearing this watch.