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Cartier - The Santos-Dumont has all the makings to strike (very) big

Cartier The Santos-Dumont has all the makings to strike (very) big

In a new size and equipped with a new movement, the Santos-Dumont—the youngest member of the Santos family—asserts itself in 2020.

Created by one of the most well-known French luxury maisons, the Santos-Dumont bears the name of a Brazilian aviator and his story has travelled the watchmaking world over. In 1901, Alberto Santo-Dumont lamented to his friend Louis Cartier that he did not have a watch that was easy to read while flying and that was more practical than a pocket watch. In 1904, Louis Cartier made him what is widely considered the first wristwatch, as elegant as the dandy Santos-Dumont himself. In 1911, Cartier marketed it under the simplified name of Santos, and the collection has continued to grow ever since, making its simple, uncluttered design, with its square case topped by a bezel with visible screws a great Cartier watchmaking classic.

The Santos-Dumont is a collection in its own right, although the family resemblance to the Santos is evident. It was launched at the 2019 SIHH with a quartz movement—which made purists grind their teeth but delighted fans of the Parisian maison in search of a Cartier watch at an affordable price—with a choice of two sizes, large and small, and three case materials: steel, two-tone and rose gold. Thinner than the Santos, the Santos-Dumont of 2019 also had the rare characteristic of being available on a leather strap only.

This year, the Santos-Dumont is asserting itself and as well as expanding. First, with its new XL size of 46.6 x 33.9mm, followed by its transition to a manual winding mechanical movement. It is powered by the 430 MC calibre, a modified version of the Piaget’s ultra-flat 430P calibre, already in use at Cartier. The movement’s thinness allows the Santos-Dumont XL only be slightly thicker than the 2019 quartz version (7.5mm instead of 7.3mm). It beats at 21,600 vb/h and has a power reserve of 38 hours.

La Santos-Dumont a tout d’une (très) grande

Santos-Dumont XL © Cartier

The new Santos-Dumont XL is available in 18-carat pink gold, two-tone pink gold and steel and all-steel. It features all the aesthetic codes of the collection: beaded crown set with a blue spinel, sword-shaped and blued hands, sunburst satin-finished dial, and Alberto Santos-Dumont’s signature (S=D) engraved on the caseback. All three variations are available on leather strap only.


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Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of excellence to which it is heir. Cartier was a forerunner in the use of platinum in jewellery and one of the pioneers of watchmaking.

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