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The Tonneau was introduced in 1906, just two years after the first men’s wristwatch, the Cartier Santos. The ornate barrel-shaped case—tonneau being the French word for barrel—was a precursor to the tastes of the Art Deco-era that would soon follow: strong, bold, and geometric. The Tonneau was Cartier’s second watch design, introduced in 1906, coming just two years after the iconic Santos-Dumont. Despite its history, the Tonneau, nevertheless, has evaded the mainstream popularity that other Cartier designs have enjoyed. It was, and still is, truly a connoisseur's watch. This 1990s Tonneau is a beautiful smaller execution, measuring 32 x 21 mm that wears elegantly due to the slim and curved shape. The watch features an elegant barrel-shaped case executed in 18k yellow-gold with short downturned lugs and lovely bold screws that attach the strap to the case. The ivory dial features artisanal guilloché engraving and large painted Roman numerals together with a ‘Paris’ signature. Together with the engraved case back that reads “made in France” this indicates that the watch was specifically made for and sold by Cartier’s flagship boutique at Place Vendôme in Paris. This Tonneau is powered by a manual movement and comes on a new matte-black alligator-leather Cartier strap. The watch was just serviced by Cartier and comes with the corresponding service papers.
Cartier Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s jewellery workshop in 1847. Over the years, his sons and grandsons inherited the family business and expanded the brand by opening shops in New York and London. King Edward VII of the United Kingdom granted Cartier a prestigious royal warrant in 1904, calling the brand “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers.” Such was the renown of Cartier, that royal warrants soon rolled in from all over the world (among which, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Siam, Spain, Portugal, and Russia). While Cartier is known primarily for its jewellery, it also has a storied history in watchmaking. Cartier’s first foray in watchmaking came in 1888, offering exclusively ladies models. In 1904, Louis Cartier gave his friend and Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont a watch to wear during his flights. Until then, wrist watches were worn exclusively by women and men opted for the traditional pocket watch. The ‘Santos-Dumont’ was not only the first wristwatch geared towards men but also the first pilot’s watch.
- SKU 6782
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