Their concept of gentlemanly elegance was a modern one, encapsulating an art de vivre whose refined details and precious signatures have inspired the most high profile dandies on the planet, from Boni de Castellane and Jean Cocteau to Andy Warhol and Yves Saint-Laurent.
Cufflinks appear in Cartier records as far back as 1859 and these accessories, indispensable to the gentleman’s wardrobe, are re-imagined in thousands of workshop drawings throughout the Cartier archives. Over the years the themes change with the fashions, from Russian-inspired guilloché enamel to striking colour combinations in emeralds and sapphires at the height of the Art Deco period. Creative exchanges saw Cartier set cufflinks with precious stones, or recast them as watches, winding crowns or compasses to be worn on the wrist.
Reflecting the Cartier style, they adopted iconic creations of the Maison such as the menagerie and the exposed screws of the Santos watch.
Made to the most extravagant orders
Cartier cufflinks have explored registers of expression varying from the stylish to the ceremonial, from horse-racing to heraldry and coats of arms. In 1921 HRH Princess Anastasia of Greece even commissioned a pair of white enamel cufflinks emblazoned with the royal crown.
On occasion they are the bearers of highly personal messages, from the humorous to the romantic. Special orders from discerning clients include the miniature watch cufflinks made for Cole Porter created to allow the master songwriter to check the time whilst on stage. As a token of love for the man who abdicated the throne for her, Wallis Simpson commissioned for the Duke of Windsor a set of cufflinks entirely paved with diamonds and engraved on the front with “WE”. This pun on the initials of their first names, Wallis and Edward, continues on the reverse with the double-meaning word play inscription of “Hold Tight”.