We Love Watches – Cartier

Santos de Cartier – an old friend makes a new appearance

By Alan Peevers

My first ‘real’ watch

About forty years ago – I’m not very good at dates but I remember I was in my early twenties – I bought my first proper watch. A Cartier Santos. I saw it in a shop in Leeds and fell in love with the rugged yet elegant design. I couldn’t really afford it but I also couldn’t resist. I still have it today and it looks about four months, rather than four decades old.

One of the first wristwatches

Louis Cartier designed the Santos de Cartier to fulfil the wish of the famous Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont, who wanted to be able to tell time while flying. One of the first ever wristwatches, it sealed the bonds of friendship between these two pioneers. Its dial with the rounded angles, the curve of the horns and the exposed screws have since become truly iconic in the world of watchmaking.

Big on style

At first glance the new Santos De Cartier Large Model looks much the same as my 40-year-old model but there are subtle changes that make it even more elegant. The top and bottom of the bezel now flow almost seamlessly into the bracelet and the curves of the corners of the dial are gentler. The date seems perfectly at home at 6 o’clock rather than 3 o’clock and there are several other small modifications. But as the name suggests, the main change is the size. It’s all considerably larger now, in a case that is 39.8mm wide and 9.08mm thick. I must say it looks superb.

Steel or leather

The Santos de Cartier is such a rugged classic it has always seemed perfectly suited to the metal bracelet that features on my watch and most versions of the design. However this latest piece also comes with a second bracelet in calfskin that just looks absolutely right. And because the bracelets are equipped with the “QuickSwitch” interchangeability system, swapping between the two is the work of seconds.

Hard to resist

This version of the Santos de Cartier is priced at £5,900. Can I resist it? I think it’s time to start saving.




Alan is Creative Director at Cake Marketing & Advertising

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