In 1847, Louis-François Cartier (1819 - 1904) took over the jewellery workshop of his master, Adolphe Picard, at 29 rue Montorgueil in Paris, and marked the birth of Cartier.

Until the end of the 19th century, Cartier was still primarily a retailer of jewelry and objects produced by outside manufacturers. When Cartier's son Alfred took over in 1874, the firm gradually began repairing and improving jewelry, and then designing and manufacturing their own original pieces in the late 1800s.

The first ladies' wristwatch, where the future lies, was mentioned in the Cartier account books in 1888.

(Mysterious Clock, Billiken Model - In 1911, Cartier dreams up what was to become one of its most celebrated creations: the mystery clocks. Their hands appear to float in space, independently of the movement)

Following the success of their London branch since 1902, they expanded into the huge American Market by opening a shop run by Pierre Cartier in New York in 1909.