This year at Watches & Wonders, we are seeing a flurry of Santos-related action from Cartier. The maison is introducing no less than four new mechanical Santos de Cartier models and six new mechanical Santos Dumont models. One of these Santos de Cartier wristwatches is a stunning diamond-set skeletonised edition, while three of the Santos Dumont timepieces also flaunt open-worked dials.
Santos de Cartier
First introduced in 1904, the historic Santos de Cartier is an iconic model for the maison. The original timepiece was conceived by Louis Cartier for his good friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, aviator, inventor, and fashion icon. Its design, which marked the introduction of the first modern wristwatch, is said to evoke a bird’s eye view of the Eiffel Tower.
Three new mechanical Santos de Cartier models
Let’s start with the classics. Cartier is introducing three new steel Santos de Cartier models, featuring stunning graduated dials in navy blue or deep green. The manufacture’s craftsmen carefully coat the dials with a thin layer of tinted lacquer by hand. The ergonomic watches indicate the time using polished steel sword-shaped hands and Roman numerals. In addition, a coating of Super-LumiNova provide these watches with round-the-clock legibility.
While two of the steel timepieces come in medium-sized 35.1 mm cases with a height of 8.83 mm, the larger version has a 39.8 mm case and height of 9.38 mm. Despite the differing sizes, all three models are water-resistant to 100 m. In addition, the wristwatches incorporate the Santos de Cartier line’s distinctive seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic blue spinal.
Despite their different sizes, the trio of Santos de Cartier watches are all powered by the same movement, the calibre 1847 MC. This self-winding calibre offers hours, minutes, and small seconds. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz, it has a solid 42-hour power reserve.
Strap and price
Finally, the three Santos de Cartier watches are accompanied by a steel bracelet with a ‘SmartLink’ adjustment system. This allows the wearer to easily change its length. This can be switched up in favour of a blue or green alligator-skin strap, securing to the wrist with a folding buckle. Both options feature a ‘QuickSwitch’ interchangeable system, allowing one to switch between the two available options with ease. Prices: the two medium Santos models are 7,600 euros, while the larger edition is 8,300 euros.
A new skeletonised Santos de Cartier
In addition to these three main Santos de Cartier models, the brand is also introducing a skeletonised edition. Skeletonised watches have become a high horological form of art at Cartier ever since the introduction of its esteemed Santos 100 Skeleton watch back in 2015. The watch housed Cartier’s first ever skeletonised movement to be entirely designed and produced in-house: calibre 9611 MC. This same movement now steals the show in the 2023 skeletonised Santos de Cartier.
The open-worked dial of the Santos de Cartier picks up on several design elements that have emerged from the maison. This includes the patented skeletonised bridges cleverly forming Roman numerals, as well as the classic polished blued-steel sword-shaped hands. With sapphire crystal protecting the dial, owners of this special watch will have an excellent view of the inner workings that make the Santos de Cartier tick.
The rhodium-finish white-gold case is neatly set with 126 baguette-cut diamonds totalling 5.88 carats, while the faceted crown sparkles with an additional brilliant-cut diamond. Alongside its sizeable dimensions of 47.5 mm x 37.7 mm, the timepiece has a case height of 9.11 mm and is water-resistant to 30 m.
The new skeletonised Santos de Cartier exposes the calibre via both the front and caseback. This important Cartier manual-winding movement, calibre 9611 MC, consists of 138 parts along with 20 rubies. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz, it provides the watch with a 72-hour power reserve.
Strap and price
Last but not least, the new skeletonised Santos de Cartier comes on either a grey or black alligator-skin strap, securing to the wrist with a white-gold folding buckle set with 28 diamonds. The watch is limited to 100 individually numbered pieces. The price of this special watch is available upon request.
Three new XL Santos-Dumont mechanical models
Over in the Santos-Dumont collection, Cartier are adding three extra-large models to the main line. Colour plays an important role in these latest iterations, with the Roman numerals on the guilloché dial adding a dash of colour in jade-green, blue, or burgundy. The hour and minutes are indicated with the help of two pomme-shaped hands matching to the case material. In this sense, the hands deviate from the norm of blued steel, allowing the focus to stay on the colourful hour markers.
The three new Santos-Dumont models all use a single precious metal for the case: rose-gold, yellow-gold, or platinum. While the rose-gold edition’s crown is adorned with a jade cabochon, Cartier pair the yellow-gold version with its classic blue sapphire cabochon. Meanwhile, as is always the case with platinum models at Cartier, this edition showcases a ruby cabochon.
The trio of extra-large watches have dimensions of 46.6 mm x 33.9 mm, combined with a height of 7.5 mm. Each timepiece is water-resistant to 30 m. Adding a special touch in a thoughtful nod to the man who inspired the original model, Alberto Santos-Dumont’s signature is engraved on the caseback.
Meanwhile, the manual-winding movement making these new pieces tick is the ever-reliable calibre 430 MC. A Cartier-branded version of Piaget’s slim calibre 430P, this movement offers a 36-hour power reserve and beats at a frequency of
Strap and price
Last but not least, these limited editions of 200 numbered pieces come with either a green, blue, or brown alligator-skin strap, while the pin buckle matches to the respective case material. The price of the yellow- and rose-gold models is 19,200 euros, while the remaining model in platinum is 25,400 euros.
Three new skeletonised Santos-Dumont models
Alongside the three extra-large models, Cartier is also introducing a trio of large open-worked Santos-Dumont watches – one of which is a limited edition.
The defining feature on the new skeletonised models is the miniaturised oscillating weight replicating a Demoiselle – a trailblazing plane designed by Santos-Dumont himself – flying across the globe. A fashion icon and technical innovator in his own right, Santos-Dumont designed more than 22 ‘flying machines’ during his lifetime. This new design element is another homage to the man himself.
In addition, the models add a splash of colour by not only featuring blued-steel pomme hands; the watchmakers also hand-paint the bridges with blue or burgundy lacquer. Unlike its siblings, the limited yellow-gold edition’s case and bezel are also covered with navy lacquer.
Housed in a yellow-gold, rose-gold or steel case featuring the model’s recognisable visible screws, beaded crown and blue cabochon, the latest additions to the Santos-Dumont collection have dimensions of 43.5 mm x 31 mm. In addition, the cases provide water-resistance to 30 m.
This year, the manufacture is introducing a new specially developed automatic skeletonised calibre: the calibre 9629 MC. The movement, with its aforementioned micro-rotor with a miniaturised Demoiselle plane, took the horology house at La-Chaux-de-Fonds almost two years to develop. The calibre has a frequency of 3.5 Hz and provides a power reserve of 44 hours.
Strap and price
Finally, Cartier pair the watches with either a blue (limited edition), grey (steel version), or burgundy (rose-gold model) alligator-leather strap. The material of each strap’s pin buckle correlates to the watch case. Last but not least, 50 pieces of the yellow-gold edition are available, while its steel and rose-gold siblings remain unlimited. While Cartier price the steel version at 33,300 euros, its rose-gold sibling is 43,400 euros. Last but not least, the special yellow-gold and blue lacquer edition is 44,700 euros.