The Cartier Santos has over 100 years of history and was one of the first pilot's watches ever created. Luxury gold models with diamonds are especially valuable and expensive timepieces.
- One of the first pilot's watches ever made
- Designed for the pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1904
- Iconic square case
- Men's and women's models
- Available with skeletonized dial and in-house caliber
Cartier Santos: Pioneer in the Air
Aviation was still completely new at the start of the 20th century. Two of the most famous pioneers in aviation were the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur. They first conducted tests with gliders before moving on to motorized flight. The Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont
was especially influential in France due to his experiments with motorized flight. In 1906, he completed the first public flight with a motorized plane. During the flight, which set many world records, Santos-Dumont wore a unique square wristwatch
. Two years previously, Dumont-Santos had contacted Cartier
. He'd expressed his dislike of using pocket watches while flying, as they were difficult or impossible to read. Therefore, Louis Cartier created a prototype of a new watch, which became the Santos, one of the Parisian company's most iconic timepieces.
Now, the Cartier Santos is available in many different models. Cartier introduced the Santos Sport in 1978, a stainless steel watch with an automatic movement, stainless steel bracelet, gold bezel, and exposed screws on the bezel and bracelet. The Santos Sport is one of the most successful luxury watches of its time. The Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, a Parisian museum dedicated to air and space travel, even has the watch on display as a part of an exhibit.
Cartier presented the Santos 100
in celebration of the Santos's 100th anniversary. The original watch from 1904 was small and delicate. The Santos 100, however, follows the recent trend of larger watches
. With dimensions of 42 x 51 mm, it's well suited for larger wrists. The square stainless steel case has rounded edges and exposed screws on its golden bezel
. The ETA caliber 2892 powers this wristwatch.
Are you looking for a square wristwatch, one of the most famous of its kind? You should consider making the Cartier Santos your new watch. The series has over 100 years of history and is considered one of the first pilot's watches in the world. Pre-owned models in good condition are available for under 1,000 euros. These watches are usually powered by a precise quartz movement. Automatic models are also available in this price range. Gold Santos watches are more expensive; pre-owned, they typically cost 2,500 euros, but some are priced at 15,000 euros and above. Versions with diamond-set bezels have prices in the 20,000 euros range.
The price for a new Cartier Santos starts at 3,000 euros. Bicolor models made of stainless steel and yellow gold cost around 4,000 euros. New solid gold models cost around 10,000 euros, and with diamonds, they cost around 12,000 euros.
If you want a square watch that's a bit larger than the Santos, then the Santos 100 should be your first choice. You can buy this watch pre-owned and in good condition for around 2,500 euros. New models cost around 3,600 euros. Gold Santos 100 watches cost around 10,000 euros when pre-owned, while prices start at 15,000 euros for new models. Models with a tourbillon cost over 100,000 euros. A tourbillon is a complicated mechanism that compensates for deviations from the correct time caused by the positioning of the watch and increases precision. Tourbillon watches are considered some of the finest examples of haute horlogerie.
is a rectangular watch whose design was inspired by the tanks used in World War I. Pre-owned, it's available for around 500 euros. The price for a new model starts at 1,900 euros. If you prefer a round watch
, then take a look at Cartier's Ballon Bleu
. New models are available for around 3,100 euros. Ebel's Beluga
is comparable to the Ballon Bleu and available for less than 1,000 euros.
Cartier Santos-Dumont: From Classic to Modern
The watches in the Cartier Santos-Dumont series follow in the footsteps of the first Santos models. The newer series maintains the characteristic square case with rounded edges. However, other design aspects were slightly modernized. There are trendy versions with a skeletonized dial and versions with cases made of black-coated titanium. Skeletonized dials are special because they allow the wearer to admire the movement at work.
The Santos-Dumont Skeleton Watch XL is made of black ADLC-coated titanium. The advantages of titanium are obvious: It's lighter than stainless steel and just as robust. The manual in-house caliber 9612 MC powers this timepiece. It has a 72-hour power reserve, which is equal to three days. This means you can take your watch off on Friday and put it back on Monday and it will still work perfectly. The dial is only made up of the movement's bridges, which are in the shape of Roman numerals. The sword hands are made of rhodium-plated brass, and a sapphire glass case back gives the wearer a clear look at the movement. The alligator leather strap with an 18-karat white gold butterfly clasp completes the look.
The Santos-Dumont is also available in a more classic design featuring a traditional dial with Roman numerals. The 18-karat pink or rhodium-plated white gold cases are each adorned with 59 diamonds on the lugs, crown, and around the dial on the edge of the case. Altogether, the diamonds equal 2.48 carats. The case has dimensions of 44.48 x 34.6 mm, and with a thickness of just 5.58 mm, the model is wonderfully thin. Sapphire glass protects the dial and baton hands from any damage, and the strap is made of alligator leather. It features a solid gold folding buckle to keep the watch securely on your wrist. The mechanical in-house caliber 430 MC powers the classic Santos-Dumont watches.
- Mid-size cases suitable for men and women
- Gold case set with diamonds
- In-house caliber 9612 MC with a 72-hour power reserve
- Models with skeletonized dial
Cartier Santos 100: The Supersized Santos
Compared to the Santos-Dumont, the Cartier Santos 100 is a bit bulkier and more masculine. This can partly be attributed to the presence of exposed screws on the bezel. The Santos 100's size is also more fitting for larger wrists: It has dimensions of 51.1 x 41.3 mm. With a thickness of 10.34 mm, this model is also a bit larger than the Santos-Dumont. Both feature Roman numerals on their dials as well as iconic square cases, and both have alligator leather straps.
The Santos 100 is available in stainless steel, bicolor stainless steel/yellow gold, and black-coated stainless steel. The black-coated model with a calfskin strap has the sportiest feel, with its red seconds hand creating a stark contrast with the black watch. The watch is powered by the in-house automatic caliber 1847 MC.
- Square case with dimensions of 51.1 x 41.3 mm
- Screws on the bezel
- Stainless steel, gold, and bicolor models
- In-house caliber 1847 MC
Cartier Santos Demoiselle: Designed for Women
The Cartier Santos-Dumont and Santos 100 collections are also available for women. The women's watches in these collections are somewhat smaller and have a more feminine design. For example, some feature a pink alligator leather strap.
The models in the Santos Demoiselle series are marketed exclusively towards women. Smaller case dimensions of 24 x 18.7 mm or 28.25 x 21.65 mm are perfect for smaller, feminine wrists. The watches are also very thin at just 5.5 mm. Eighteen-karat pink and white gold cases increase the watches' value. A total of 48 brilliant-cut diamonds adorn the case, and a very precise quartz movement powers these watches.
- 18-karat white or pink gold cases
- Diamond-set case
- Small case sizes for thin wrists