The story is familiar to fans of watch related folklore. Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer in the field of aviation (more famous in his homeland of Brazil than even the Wright Brothers) requested a watch from his friend Louis Cartier. The remit being that it could be viewed whilst he was in flight thus creating one of the first ever wrist watches.
Since 1904, the Santos de Cartier collection has been a continuous pillar in the Maison. The Santos de Cartier has bred various sub collections from the elegant ladies Demoiselle series to the explicitly precious metal Santos Dumont series. To celebrate the Santos’s centenary year; it was the Santos 100 in an oversized and uncomplicated case that brought the Brand into modernity with aplomb.
For 2018, the collection has essentially been tidied up. The Galbee extension has been removed to leave simply Santos de Cartier as it rightly should be. The stylised bracelet and distinctive bezel with screws that mimic the beaten panels that held together the planes as flown by Santos-Dumont are retained, as is the polished and brushed finish that dances beautifully in the light.
Offered simply in two sizes, medium and large…without any gender bias as has always been Cartier’s way; steel is typically very visible but steel and Yellow Gold is pointedly used not just as an element of homage but also an opportunity bring back the classic colour as only these grand old houses can. Solid Rose Gold versions of both size look particularly luxurious. The large series also includes a skeletonised version, playing of the vibrancy the skeletonised Dumont models enjoyed, delivered in striking Rose Gold but also steel for the first time too. Expect the steel option to carry incredible demand.
Every single model is delivered on a bracelet with a tan calf leather strap supplied as standard. The bracelet can be removed and the strap fitted using Cartier’s (patent pending) QuickSwitch system that lets the bracelet and strap slide out and click back into the case incredibly easily yet supremely securely. Furthermore, a new system has been implemented to adjust the bracelet. The design is orientated towards the gadget generation with sleek plot links that pop the pins out when depressed but do not come out entirely thus ensuring no more lost or dropped pins.
The link closest to the clasp comes out completely first and the user can then work backwards removing as many links as is necessary. It is an elegantly thought out process, added for genuine ease of application as opposed to doing it “because we can.” The clasp that completes the strap is respectively easy to adjust and the choice of tan calf leather ensures the strap will be supple enough to mould to the wrists quickly and comfortably. Given the recent love of all things vintage, the discreet double stitching where the straps join the case is a nice touch without overdoing it.
Both sizes are self winding, housing in-house 1847 MC movement developed by Cartier guaranteeing reliability built upon the success of the previous Calibres brought to market. The large models have a symmetrically tidy date window while the medium size is time only with a running seconds hand. Both are a modern size with a solid feel, the strap/bracelet adjustments deploy with resounding clicks and the presentation as is as slick as ever.
With prices beginning at £5,350.00, this is a commercial collection, well priced and executed with restraint but hitting all the right notes for fans of the Cartier story and fans of fashion alike. Visit us in-store to discover these lovely models in the flesh, the collection arrives as of 5th April 2018. More images can be found via our Instagram feed.