Last year was a big one for luxury watchmaker Cartier. It started at SIHH 2017 with the reintroduction of the Panthére, which was followed up with the big celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Tank.
Kicking things off on the right track (no pun intended) this year, Cartier has re-released the Santos, another icon in the brand’s strong timekeeping repertoire.
Some of you might already be familiar with how this timepiece began. As the story goes, Alberto Santos Dumont stuck up a friendship with Louis Cartier, and in 1901 the renowned aviator and inventor complained of the difficulties he had checking the time on his pocket watch while flying.
Three years later, his friend Louis delivered with his first purpose-designed modern wristwatch, the Santos-Dumont.
The last iteration of this collection took the shape of the Santos 100, which was first presented in 2004. Fourteen years later, and we finally have an update to the collection.
The new watch is available in two sizes, a 35.1mm medium version, and a 41.9mm large version. Both are available in the same case material options - stainless steel, two-tone steel, pink gold, or yellow gold – but only the larger option comes in a skeletonized version.
Having several quite different versions of the Santos to choose from means that their prices vary quite a bit. For example, the medium version in stainless steel costs $6,250 while the skeletonized pink gold large version costs upwards of to $60,000.
The original Santos watch was intended for high performance, and that tradition also continues thanks to a solid movement which powers this new collection.
The calibre 1847 MC features anti-magnetic nickel phosphorus and a shield made from a paramagnetic alloy which makes the movement resistant to magnetic fields.
The overall shape of the watch also remains relatively consistent, as you might expect from such a timeless design. With its square shape echoing the four angular corners of the Eiffel Tower, it’s clear that this watch is a relative of the iconic Tank.
The bezel now boasts sleeker lines and provides for a better integration between the case and the strap. What hasn’t changed, however, are the eight screws found on the bezel, a tribute to the mechanical steel structures associated with the golden age of urban architecture.
The strap provides plenty of options, including steel, gold, calfskin, or alligator skin, all of which are interchangeable thanks to the Cartier QuickSwitch patent pending system hidden under the strap.
Another nice feature is the integration of the brand’s SmartLink self-fitting technology, also patent pending, which adjusts the length of the metal bracelet to the nearest link without the use of a tool.
Following up on last year, Cartier appears to be focused on freshening up its iconic timepieces annually. This year it was the turn of the Santos collection, which again shows that with a few minor tweaks a classic Cartier timepiece can look as modern as ever.