This year, the Santos de Cartier collection embraces one of the most beloved complications with the Santos de Cartier Chronograph.
One of the most celebrated family of timepieces in the world, the legendary Santos de Cartier collection, has an origin story quite like any other. It was initially commissioned in 1904 by Alberto Santos-Dumont, the legendary Brazilian aviator, who wanted a watch that he could wear in the cockpit as he soared in the skies. The resulting design would eventually become an enduring icon of Cartier and emphasized the maison’s forward-thinking nature.
In an era where round pocket watches reigned supreme, the pure design language of the Santos de Cartier, its square case with screws intentionally made available and—most importantly—the ergonomic strap encouraging free movement cemented its reputation as a watch ahead of its time. Quite fitting, one might say, considering how it was first created for a man who not only wanted to change the world, but actually went to do just that.
Last year, the Santos de Cartier watch underwent a much-anticipated revival with several new and exciting models introduced to further expand the collection. Now in 2019, Santos de Cartier continues its enduring legacy by adopting one of the sportiest complications: the chronograph.
The Legend Continues
In a way, the addition of a chronograph model to the Santos de Cartier family feels natural. Besides designing his own airplanes and performing risky test flights, Alberto Santos-Dumont was also known for setting and breaking numerous aviation records. His first was in 1906 when he set a new record for airspeed, covering a distance of 220 meters in just 21 seconds.
And, of course, chronographs have always been present when speed records were established and eventually broken.
The new Santos de Cartier Chronograph delves deep into its rich heritage and elevates it into a watch for the 21st century. While instantly recognizable as a Santos de Cartier watch—it’s simply that iconic—you would be forgiven if you couldn’t immediately tell that it had a chronograph. While the three sub-dials do give it away, the watch doesn’t sport the classic two-pusher chronograph configuration.
See, Cartier has modified its 1904-CH MC Cartier Manufacture movement and given it a single start/stop pusher which is then placed on the left side of the case at the 9 o’clock position. However, this is not a monopusher chronograph: The reset function is integrated into the crown.
Here, again, we see how Cartier remains attentive to elegance and ergonomics. The single start/stop button opposite the crown takes care of the latter while also giving the watch a sense of symmetry, thereby enhancing the former.
Another ease-of-use feature—and also another not to Cartier’s archives—is present in the straps and bracelets of the Santos de Cartier Chronograph. It was Cartier that filed the patent for the first folding buckle back in 1909. For its new chronographs, the brand has enhanced the design of its bracelets and straps even further for superior comfort, convenience and security, all while maintaining the signature aesthetics of the Santos de Cartier line.
It should also be noted that all of the Santos de Cartier Chronograph models are equipped with the QuickSwitch system. For those unfamiliar with the name, this means that the watches come with a quick release button that eliminates all the hassle from changing the strap. Furthermore, the bracelets come equipped with SmartLinks, so changing the length of the metal bracelets becomes easier than ever.
Gold, Leather and More
Naturally, the Santos de Cartier Chronograph has been introduced in several varieties. All of them come in Extra-Large. For the case, the options are pink gold, yellow gold and steel along with steel and ADLC. The dial on all models are silvered with a satin finish, which contrasts nicely with the sub-dials. Strap options, meanwhile, include alligator leather along with rubber and metal bracelets. All of these, as mentioned earlier, feature the ingenious QuickSwitch system.
“The new Santos de Cartier Chronograph delves deep into its rich heritage and elevates it into a watch for the 21st century”
In whichever configuration, though, the Santos de Cartier Chronograph deftly embodies the three major principles of Alberto Santos-Dumont himself and, by extension, the whole Santos de Cartier family. These principles are simplicity, practicality and innovation. In its own way, this watch perpetuates the spirit, style and thirst of altitude shared by men who change the world. Or, for the Santos de Cartier Chronograph in particular, men who are set to set new records and break old ones.
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