A pioneer of aviation belonging to an elite club of men who changed the planet with the force of their intellect and will alone, Alberto Santos Dumont is a true legend.
After the Brazilian aviator met with Louis Cartier in 1900, the two would embark upon a special friendship. In 1901 Santos complained to his watchmaker friend that the difficulty of telling the time on his pocket watch during flights greatly frustrated him. Just a few years after this, Louis Cartier would change the face of watchmaking by creating what is commonly seen as the very first purpose designed wristwatch for his friend.
In 1904, as a symbol of his friendship with legendary aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, Louis Cartier made a timepiece that signified everything that would go on to become Cartier’s entire brand ethos. The modern, minimalist beauty of the Cartier Santos de Cartier watch was a true marvel and, according to many experts, this was the very first true wrist watch ever created.
More than one hundred years later, the Cartier Santos de Cartier watch retains much of its appeal as the ultimate dress sports watch. Indeed, Cartier Santos de Cartier case was informed by a pocket watch that Cartier had already created, yet the super easy to read dial is clearly a shift away from the brand’s then-preferred style to an altogether more art deco inspired aesthetic that would go on to dominate the following decades.
Cartier Santos de Cartier Features
The defining feature of the watch is certainly the rounded square case, which was intended to be solid yet stunningly design, with a few stylish nods to that famous Parisian landmark the Eiffel Tower.
Whilst the Cartier Santos de Cartier watch might have been an athletic performance piece at its inception, the iconic model very soon became a fetishized item of luxury. The choice of the global elite including rockstars and billionaires, the Cartier Santos de Cartier became a true status symbol throughout the early to mid twentieth century.
Naturally, Cartier selected the watch as its marquee offering in the burgeoning luxury athletic sector in the 1970’s, competing with the big three Swiss Maisons for top dog status. Soon, the Cartier Santos de Cartier had been given steel and gold makeovers, with the addition of an integrated bracelet further modernising the classic timepiece.
Soon the Santos would, along with the Tank, become Cartier’s most successful elite watch, to be seen adorning the wrists of the most tasteful and wealthy individuals on the planet. A truly luxury sports watch, an item ahead of its time. Next came the release of an extra large version of the watch named the 100, which boasted a midnight finish and a special stripped back version with bridges created by gorgeously simply Roman numerals.
These days, the Cartier Santos de Cartier includes several modern touches as sapphire crystal protecting the dial and a luxury extended bezel. However, the watch remains true to its stunning original design and this what truly ensures the Cartier Santos de Cartier’s legendary status over a century since inception.