When we hear the name “Cartier,” we immediately think of beautiful jewelry and fine timepieces. The company was founded in Paris in 1847 by master jeweler Louis Francis Cartier. His son Alfred and grandsons Louis, Pierre and Jacques each helped propel the business early on which was moved to Rue de la Paix in 1899. From there, Cartier was well on it’s way to becoming a recognized luxury brand worldwide.
The Cartier brand was family-owned until 1964, when grandson Pierre passed away and his heirs decided to sell the business.
The Cartier name is still making headlines today, but in a different medium. Instead of master jeweler, Maximilien de Hoop Cartier is producing fine beverages. In 2007 he founded Patagonia, which produces fine wine, premium beer and also some of the best water in the world.
Photo Credit: Maximilien de Hoop Cartier
He has also opened a foundation “De Hoop Cartier” in Geneva, Switzerland, to help promote health care and education in Latin America and Switzerland.
I have been a fan of Cartier timepieces and jewelry for many years, so I was excited to find out what someone whose family brand has been coveted by collectors for over 100 years finds worthy of collecting!
RH: Were you exposed to art and antiques as a child, or is this a passion that formed as an adult?
Cartier: As long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by beautiful things. The walls at my childhood home were lined with beautiful paintings, and we often had artists working in different mediums in our home as guests.
Photo Credit: Maximilien de Hoop Cartier
I can still remember as a child waking up in the early mornings during the weekends by the sound of my mother’s records playing Edith Piaf, or when my Aunt Martha will visit us and played the piano. Then, at the age of 5 they took me for the first time to the Opera House and I started visiting museums around Europe.
RH: Do you remember the first piece you acquired in your collection?
Cartier: I think my collection really began on my 13th birthday when I got my first wristwatch as a gift from my mother. I was fascinated by the precision involved of making such a piece of art. Art and aesthetics has always been around me in various forms during my upbringing.
RH: Do you have a favorite period you like to collect or artist?
Cartier: My favorite period of my collection is when Charles Jacqueau (1885-1968) was working at Cartier as a designer from early 1909 till 1950’s. Charles has been acclaimed as the” Picasso of jewelry design” for his original and finely detailed designs.
From the beginning of the 20th Century when the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes took place in Paris in 1925 which gave its name to “Art Deco.” Art Deco is the era found in most of my collection. Its design movement gained international popularity in the 1920s as a new style for a new century; drawing inspiration from such sources as Egyptian and Aztec motifs and Bakst’s designs for the Ballets Russes. It was then popularized in a wide variety of fields, including architecture, fashion, film, and industrial design.
RH: What type of Art Deco items do you collect?
Cartier: I am very interested in functional art; pieces of art with a great sense of aesthetics that at the same time can have a daily use. For example: vanity cases, cigar humidor, lighters, cigarette cases, powder boxes, money clips, cuffs, paper knifes, photograph frames, travel accessories sets, pens, belt-buckles, handbags, tableware, clocks, wristwatches, compass, ashtrays, champagne bucket, etc. etc. which are part of my 300 Cartier pieces collection.
I also collect the limited editions that are still being produced today, especially the mystery clocks, with hands that appear to float on the dial. Cartier is still producing the mystery clock today. Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Double Tourbillon and Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours to be debut in May 2013.
Can you imagine 300 pieces of vintage Cartier in one place? When I grow up, I want a collection like that!
If you want to start collecting vintage Cartier, check out these websites:
The Vintage Contessa:
Learn more about Cartier’s foundation by visiting