Since its original design in 1904, Cartier has continued to evolve and update its popular Santos model to cater to modern tastes and styles. Today, the collection can be broadly demarcated into two categories; the Santos-Dumont XL and the Santos De Cartier. The former offers slimmed down, elegant models inspired by the historic 1904 original, while the latter represents the evolution of the reconceived, somewhat sportier model debuted in the 1970s. Both are considered iconic designs in their own right, and we are thrilled to announce that Cartier is introducing new pieces in both categories this year.
Read on to discover the highlights of the new collection, the Cartier Santos-Dumont Watch XL in both full steel and steel and rose gold, as well as the sporty yet stealthy Cartier Santos De Cartier Watch in steel ADLC, in-store for a limited time.
In 1904, Louis Cartier, grandson of Cartier founder Louis-François Cartier, made a fateful decision. Earlier, his friend, the famous Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, had come to him with a request. To make a timekeeper that was both robust and reliable but that could also be used easily while performing field tests. In response, Louis Cartier designed a flat watch with a distinctive square bezel and exposed screws. Critically, he attached a leather strap to the case so it could be worn on the wrist, giving Santos-Dumont complete freedom of movement during his aviation experiments. And with that, what many consider to be the first modern Pilot’s watch was born.
It didn’t take long before this unusual new object on Santos-Dumont’s wrist began to attract attention. He was something of a celebrity in his day and a frequent attendee at high society gatherings. Thanks to his influence, inquiries began to flow in from curious customers keen to switch out their traditional pocket watch for this trailblazing wrist worn timekeeper. Recognising the opportunity, Louis Cartier commissioned movement maker Edmond Jaeger to produce the watch in volume.
In 1911, the Cartier Santos became what is considered to be the first wristwatch for men. Launched during an era defined by an obsession with progress it was an overnight hit. It’s no exaggeration to say the Cartier Santos played a key role in the move away from pocket watches. Over the years the model has been evolved and revived by the brand several times, most notably in the 1970s when the Santos De Cartier made its debut during the dawning of the luxury steel sports watch era.
Refreshed and updated again in 2018, the Santos collection remains one of Cartier’s most enduring and also most popular. Showing exactly why that is, we turn our attention to three new models for 2020 that are now available in-store at Watches of Switzerland Australia.
WSSA0032 $8450,W2SA0017 $11700
Presented in a stainless steel, square case measuring 46.6mm x 33.9mm, the new Santos-Dumont XL is a mere 7.5mm thick. When viewed from above, the case appears completely flat but in fact is gently curved to ensure a snug fit against the wrist. This is further aided by the beautifully-finished downward sloping lugs. The result is an elegant timepiece that is large enough to be seen and read easily, but which will slide away comfortably under a shirt cuff.
Time is shown on a silvered dial, decorated with a sunray satin finish and featuring Cartier’s signature Roman numerals and the railroad minute track that dates back to the first Santos-Dumont model. Now, however, the track appears on the periphery of the dial, whereas on the original, it was placed in the centre. Blue sword-shaped hands add a touch of colour on this elegantly understated face. Purists will also appreciate the absence of text, with only the word Cartier appearing below 12 o’clock.
Framing the minimalist dial is the iconic square bezel with eight screws, slightly rounded at the edges. Adding an extra sense of contrast and warmth, the steel and rose gold version features a bezel in 18k rose gold. Both show a high polish finish which stand out nicely against the vertical satin brushing and bevelled and polished edges of the case.
Turning the watch over reveals a solid case back, engraved with Alberto Santos-Dumont’s signature. Underneath is the manual winding, calibre 430 MC. This ultra-thin mechanical movement stands just 2.1mm tall and beats at a frequency of 21,600vph/3Hz. It offers a power reserve of 38 hours when fully wound. Both models are worn on integrated alligator-skin straps – blue for the steel version and black for the steel and rose gold. A quick release system makes the straps easily interchangeable without the need for tools.
With a modern design and luxury sports watch vibe, the new Santos De Cartier in steel and ADLC is the perfect choice for the contemporary gentleman. Measuring 47.5mm in length x 39.8mm across, this watch makes a statement on the wrist. Thanks to its height of just 9.38mm, however, it can still be paired comfortably with a shirt for those more formal occasions. The case is constructed from steel and shows a vertical brushed finish, whilst the bezel has been given a special black ADLC coating. ADLC stands for amorphous diamond-like carbon, a nano-composite coating that provides surfaces with a strong protective and anti-reflective layer. Not to mention an attractive, stealthy aesthetic.
The modern Santos De Cartier dial appears here in a smoky grey colour and boasts two different finishes. The interior of the dial, the area inside the railway track, is vertically brushed, like the case. The outer chapter ring, meanwhile, which plays host to the large white Roman numerals is radially brushed giving the dial a more dynamic presence. The contrast between the two finishes is quite striking in person and is further complemented by the matt finish of the ADLC bezel. At six o’clock the date is shown via an aperture.
Inside the case is the 1847 MC calibre, an automatic movement designed and manufactured in-house by Cartier. Incorporating nickel phosphorous components and a soft-iron cage to protect it from magnetism, this reliable and robust movement oscillates at a 4Hz and delivers a 42-hour power reserve.
For maximum versatility, the Santos De Cartier Watch Large in Steel ADLC is equipped with Cartier’s QuickSwitch system. This allows you to quickly and easily change from bracelet to a strap and vice versa, without the need for tools. Worn on an integrated steel bracelet with rivets matching those on the bezel, this model also comes with an additional black rubber strap. And with Cartier’s clever SmartLink adjustment system, you can easily adjust the length of the steel bracelet to ensure the most comfortable fit possible.
All three new models from Cartier are available now from your nearest Watches of Switzerland Australia boutique. Come and visit us today to discover these exceptional timepieces and many more.