The Santos de Cartier watch has an impressive history. The original Santos Dumont (invented in 1904 by Mr Louis Cartier for his friend, the Brazilian aviation pioneer Mr Alberto Santos-Dumont) is not only considered to be the very first pilot’s watch ever created, but also the first-ever men’s wristwatch. Equally impressive, the modern version of the watch – which, launched in 1978, took the square case of the original and added a steel bracelet and the watch’s trademarks screw details which is one of the key styles that helped transform Cartier into the globally recognised brand it is today. It was so successful in the 1980s, that it became perhaps the signature watch of that period, thanks in part to its appearance in movies from Wall Street to Clear And Present Danger. Since then, it’s been a favourite that has continued to receive tweaks such as the larger sized Santos Galbée XL in 2005 – but always remained true to the original, now-classic design.
Naturally, then, for its 40th anniversary in 2018, Cartier had to do something special with Santos de Cartier. And clearly, they took this task seriously. In 2016, Santos de Cartier watches were quietly discontinued, much to the consternation of many watch fans. Then, at this year’s SIHH watch fair, an all-new Santos range was unveiled
As throughout the history of Santos, the key updates here are subtle, but timely. The case, originally inspired by the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower, has been given slightly softer, more elegant curves that fit more comfortably on the wrist. The bezel has been extended towards the strap, which can now be interchanged easily, without tools, thanks to Cartier’s QuickSwitch system. What’s more, each watch comes with two straps – and the movement has been updated to Cartier’s in-house automatic calibre 1847 MC, which was introduced in the 2015 Cartier Clé collection. All styles come in two sizes: medium (at 35.6mm in diameter) and large (39.8mm), the latter of which features a date window at six o’clock.