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Luxury Meets Sixties Swagger: Our Guide to the Santos de Cartier Watch

The Santos de Cartier was released in 1904, when Brazilian aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont asked Louis Cartier to make him a watch that didn’t require him to remove his hands from the plane’s controls. From there, the world’s first luxury, wristwatch was born. Named after the pilot who sparked the idea, the timepiece is one of Cartier’s most enduring legacies. Featuring a square case inspired by Paris’s architectural symmetry, the watch is known for its eight exposed screws on the bezel.

This timepiece comes in two distinct designs, these being the Santos Dumont and the Santos de Cartier. Drawing upon the watch’s original form and oversized proportions, the current collection offers an extensive range of stylish and sophisticated models. These are some of our favourites.

Santos de Cartier

Retaining the rounded angles of the dial and exposed screws, this watch retains its a timeless elegance and is brought into the modern era with Cartier’s interchangeable QuickSwitch system. With the ability to alternate between leather and chain-link straps, you may wear the leather strap to work and the chain link bracelet to the gym, giving you a versatile timepiece for all occasions. This watch comes in the skeleton and roman numeral faces, in a variety of metals including steel, rose gold and yellow gold.

The Basics

Brand: Cartier
Model: Santos

Dimensions: 35.1mm x 41.9mm (medium), 39.8mm x 47.5mm (large)
Thickness: 8.83mm (medium), 9.08mm (large)
Case Material: Stainless steel, stainless steel and yellow gold, pink gold, yellow gold
Dial Color: Silvered
Indexes: Roman Numerals
Lume: No
Strap/Bracelet: Both with quick-change system and SmartLinks for bracelet adjustment

The Movement

Caliber: 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, date (on the large model only)
Diameter: 25.6mm
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
Jewels: 23
Additional Details: The large version comes in a skeletonized model available in either pink gold or stainless steel

Santos Dumont

With its square geometry, the Santos Dumont is remarkably similar to the Santos de Cartier. The Santos Dumont distinguishes itself with a slimmer build, newer versions, and a sharper bezel. Unlike its relative, the Santos Dumont is only made with a leather bracelet. These elements define the Santos Dumont as a more formal watch and brings it closer to its 1904 predecessor. The watch was most recently updated in 2019 with a quartz movement. The elegant timepiece comes in roman numeral, numbered and skeleton models with an extensive range of metals to choose from.

If you enjoyed reading about one of Cartier’s most enduring timepieces, you may enjoy our guide to the Cartier Tank, and Cartier watches for him and for her.

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