Cartier Santos Watches
Own a piece of history. A Cartier Santos adorning your wrist means embracing innovation. The Santos models are unmistakable timepieces, their iconic and timeless design perfected across over a century guarantees that you will stand out in any room. The Cartier Santos watch was designed for aviation use, and today it could just as easily be worn while driving, or at an elegant black tie event. With its elegant, unmistakable Cartier style, the Santos promises to light up any room.
The History of Cartier Santos Watches
Credited as one of the revolutionaries of European watchmaking. The Cartier Santos is often credited as the first watch designed exclusively to be worn on the wrist. Its origin is widely known in the watch community around the world.
In the early 20th Century, the Brazilian heir to a wealthy family of coffee makers, Alberto Santos-Dumont was residing in Paris. His societal status and wealth afforded him the opportunity to work exclusively on his great passions. Namely, aeronautical innovation and experimentation.
Alberto dedicated his life to finding ways to change the world of aviation for the better. But during the course of his experimentation, Santos-Dumont began to find his pocket watch to be bulky and impractical for his desired use.
He needed a timepiece that would be able to access quickly and easily while flying without having to take his hands off the controls of his aircraft. To rectify this issue, Santos-Dumont turned to a close friend, Louis Cartier, the grandson of Cartier’s founder Louis-Francois.
To find a way to help his friend, in 1904 Louis Cartier created a special, one of a kind watch. There was truly nothing like it on the market at the time. A small gold square watch was attached to a leather strap, which allowed it to be worn on the wrist rather than in the wearer’s pocket.
The new watch proved a huge hit, and in 1911, following huge demand, Cartier commissioned the mass production of the watch. Finally putting to market a refined version of the Santos-Dumont’s original.
After public interest in square watches waned following the second world war, it came back with a bang in the 70’s. So, in 1978, Cartier chose to take advantage and revamp the iconic Santos. They implemented a metal bracelet instead of the traditional leather. This new timepiece was also offered in 18k gold and bi-metal steel versions.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Santos collection in 2004, Cartier released the Santos 100. A total update to the original, taking into account modern tastes, the Santos 100 took the framework of the original and brought it into the modern age. The Santos 100 retained the leather strap, while adding all-new in-house movements, and offering some skeleton and chronograph versions. The new take on a classic proved a huge hit with customers, leading to Cartier opting not to create a new Santos for over 15 years.
Modern Santos watches still retain a lot of the core originals features; from the square shape, unique roman numerals, and railroad minute track, to the bezel still being held in place with eight screws to this day, after over a century.
Thanks to its popularity and ingenious design, the Cartier Santos was a huge hit, playing a major role in the gradual move from pocket watches to wrist watches.
Today the Cartier Santos stands out as one of the most famous and iconic examples of watchmaking.
Elegance and Prestige
Known as the king of jewellers or the jewellers of kings, Cartier has a fabled reputation in the jewellery world. Their watches do more than hold their own though.
Cartier’s approach to watchmaking echoes the vision and expertise of their jewellery. Perfect for any occasion, the Cartier Santos is exceedingly popular as a luxury dress watch.
A leading model since its inception in 1911, Cartier Santos watches have been perfected across over 100 years. Watch collectors love Cartier because, thanks to their specialism in jewellery. The manufacturer uses only the most indulgent materials making you feel like royalty every time you put one on.
With each new version of the Santos comes a nod to the past, while often embracing the future. From the Santos De Cartier Skeleton series with its intricate skeletonisation and elegant roman numerals on the face, to the more faithful Santos-Dumont. Named after the man that started it all, the Santos-Dumont aims to modernise the timeless elegance of the original watch from 1904.
Its iconic design has stood the test of time, the matching steel bracelet and exposed screws across the bezel and bracelet are as elegant and exquisite today as they were 100 years ago. In 2018, in the biggest departure from the original design to date, Cartier released a Santos watch sporting significantly softer lines and rounded edges to create a much more fluid and understated look.
Collectors have invested in the Santos over the years because it represents everything Cartier stands for. Its heritage, its fearlessness, its regality.
The Cartier Santos played a major role in the adoption of the wrist watch, and since innovating all those years ago, it has cemented its place as timekeeping royalty.