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Cartier - Updated for modern demands : The Cartier Santos

Cartier Updated for modern demands : The Cartier Santos

The core focus of Cartier’s men’s watches for 2018, the Santos has been reworked and has something for everyone.

You may not notice it at first sight, but the Cartier Santos has been entirely reworked in 2018. Those with a trained eye may notice some of the changes, but others remain hidden behind some ingenious technical innovations. 

Take the case. The square shape that set the first Santos models apart is unchanged. Such a shape is less unusual nowadays, but when the Santos was first launched most other watches were round (except for Cartier timepieces, whose designs have always made a point of defying horological conventions, whether for men’s or ladies’ timepieces – think of the Tank, the Crash and, more recently, the Clé de Cartier). The eight screws on the bezel were another daring feature when the Santos was launched, and they rightly claim their place on the newer version. Both of these design features evoke the geometry of turn of the century Paris, with its symmetrical boulevards and the angular corners of the city’s most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower.

Les Santos de Cartier modernisées

© Cartier

Historians may argue to this day over whether the Santos was the first wristwatch for men, but one thing that tends to get forgotten in such arguments is that it was designed specifically for aviation pioneer Albert Santos-Dumont and was as such most definitely one of the first pilot’s watches, even though it bears no aesthetic resemblance whatsoever to the watches that are nowadays recognized as typical pilot’s watches, whose designs date back to the 1940s – over 30 years after the Santos was first produced.

Les Santos de Cartier modernisées

© Cartier

The 2018 Santos model has a more fluid design with a new bezel shape that harmonises better with the case and helps to meet the objective of optimum comfort on the wrist. Another new element that undoubtedly contributes to this objective is the SmartLink system on the metal bracelet. Hidden pushers underneath each link in the bracelet can be used to detach individual links without the need for a special tool. This rather unique system allows the customer to adjust the bracelet to fit their wrist perfectly. Both the bracelets and the straps can also be removed and swapped instantly thanks to the Cartier QuickSwitch system. These technical features allow Cartier to ship each new Santos watch with a metal bracelet and separate leather strap that can be changed according to the wearer’s desires. 

Les Santos de Cartier modernisées

© Cartier


The 2018 Cartier Santos collection has also clearly been designed for universal appeal. The presence of both yellow gold and rose gold models, as well as two-tone versions in yellow gold and steel and the pure stainless-steel models cover the full range of watch tastes from east to west. The bracelet and strap supplied with each watch also allow easy adaptation to different climates. Two sizes are available: the Medium model has a 35.1mm case size, while the Large model is 39.8mm. Both come in stainless steel, two-tone steel and yellow gold, yellow gold and rose gold. The skeleton models, for which the skeletonized Roman numerals serve as both hour markers and the mainplate for the movement, are only available in the large size in rose gold or steel. Because the oversized Roman numerals have different coatings and decoration on each model (the bevels of the individual numbers on the rose gold model are in rose gold), this leads to two different calibre designations for the manually wound movement that powers them: 9611 MC for the stainless-steel model and 9619 MC for the rose gold.

Les Santos de Cartier modernisées

© Cartier

Prices start at 6,200 Swiss francs for the medium model in stainless steel and rise to 63,000 Swiss francs for the rose-gold skeleton model with rose-gold bracelet.

The brand

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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