The new and updated Santos de Cartier reveals the richness of Cartier’s repertoire of watchmaking forms
Cartier watches are characterized by the timeless shapes of the maison’s watchmaking repertoire. One of them is none other than the legendary Santos de Cartier. Back in 1904, Louis Cartier made watchmaking history when he created the first modern watch specifically designed to be worn on the wrist. Specially made for famous Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the design of the Santos watch was based on the concept of form, a taste for minimalism, precision of proportions and an eye for detail. In a way, the Santos was truly revolutionary due to the fact that it was designed during the age of round pocket watches.
The Santos de Cartier watch comes with a square or straight shape, rounded corners, seamless curve of horns that converged towards the strap and exposed screws. The screws—traditionally hidden in watchmaking—were made visible and eventually became an aesthetic code of the collection. In short, the Santos watch rose to the ranks of a classic that would defy the hands of time, while at the same time cemented the legend of Cartier’s style as an icon for men and women.
During the Watches and Wonders Geneva 2021 event held earlier this year, the Maison unveiled the next chapter in the Santos de Cartier’s history. In updating this legendary timepiece, the design studios under Cartier chose to focus on proportions of the bezel while maintaining the utmost respect for the aesthetic of Santos.
Visually, the latest three models come with a bezel set with 206 brilliant-cut diamonds (for a total weight of 0.64 ct), while the crown is set with a blue synthetic faceted spinel. In terms of the case, it comes in steel and a combination of 18K yellow gold and steel. One of the new watches comes with a smokey blue dial, and all three new models are completed with the Interchangeable QuickSwitch steel bracelet and either a calf or alligator leather strap. The SmartLink size adjustment system for the steel bracelet is also presented. And ticking beneath all of that is the manufacture mechanical movement with automatic winding 1847 MC.
Other unveilings due to take place on the platform includes the limited-edition Santos Dumont collection with the aviator’s drawings engraved on the back of the case. In particular, it expands the line with two new watches. The first limited edition of 100 individually numbered pieces in platinum, titled Santos-Dumont Precious Set, reveals a blue dial with an undulating guilloché decor.
The case back of this watch is engraved with the sketch of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s flying machine “guide-rope maritime.” Driven by the manufacture mechanical movement with manual winding 430 MC, this watch pays homage to one of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s first journeys across the Mediterranean Sea between Monaco and Calvi back in 1902.
Then there’s the second limited edition of 500 individually numbered pieces in steel and rose gold that features the same guilloché decor. It pays homage to the lightest flying machine in the Santos-Dumont’s history called “La Libellule,” or The Dragonfly. Powered by the same mechanical movement with manual winding 430 MC like the previous model, the watch is completed with an engraved case back bearing the sketch of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s flying machine “N°19.”
With each passing decade, Santos de Cartier has taken on new forms, reinvented to reflect the times. One thing remains the same through each iteration: It’s always designed for those that aim higher. Inspired by its origin as the revolutionary first wristwatch and further established by its current form enriched with diamonds and an undulating guilloché decor, the Santos de Cartier once again becomes the perfect accompaniment on the wrist of bold and fearless gentlemen.
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