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Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

At SIHH 2018 Cartier is positioning the Santos collection as one of their key highlights for 2018 (debuted on aBlogtoWatch here). That means the Parisian brand just released a refreshed version of one of the most famous square-cased watches of all time – born at a time when the wristwatch was an infant in the early 20th Century. The 2018 Santos collection features a lot of exciting new things for one of Cartier’s most important watch collections – as well as a new reason to have interest in a genuine classic. It’s hard for me to say that Cartier improved upon the Santos – because I still feel that the outgoing generation models are pretty special. With that said, Cartier certainly modernized the Santos while making an important part of their brand character appealing to a new group of watch buyers.

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

Cartier was pretty excited to share the various models in the new Santos collection with us. The Santos comes in a few styles, as well as two case sizes. There is the 35.1mm wide, 41.9mm lug-to-lug, and 8.83mm thick “Medium” Santos which Cartier mostly intends for women, and then the 39.8mm wide, 47.5mm lug-to-lug, and 9.08mm thick “Large” Santos which is what most men will prefer. Aside from the case size difference, another difference between the Medium and Large Santos cases is the existence of a date window on the dial. It is absent from the smaller model, and exists at the 6 o’clock position on the dial of the larger model.

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

The Santos case has been totally redesigned by Cartier. The most noticeable thing about the updated Santos is how much it has slimmed down. The previous iteration for men was called the Santos 100, or Santos XL. It was the same roughly 38mm wide size, but felt larger because of increased case thickness. There was a welcome masculinity to the thicker, older models, but the new ones are clearly more impressive from an engineering standpoint, and the thinner size means the Santos is again an excellent dress watch choice for men.

Water resistant to 100m, Cartier is also now boasting magnetic-resistance qualities for the Santos. Though this has more to do with the movement than the case. Devotees of the Santos watch will immediately see that even though the overall presentation of the 2018 Santos is similar to previous versions, there are many changes. Perhaps the most visually obvious (aside from the case proportions) is the bezel. No longer is it totally square, but now has “lips” on the top and bottom which are designed to visually connect the bezel with the bracelet design. More on the bracelet shortly. The new bezel is going to be a hit with some for sure, but I can certainly understand some people preferring the outgoing square-style bezel design.

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

The Santos wouldn’t be the Santos without screws in the bezel and bracelet. This is an element Cartier didn’t mess with, which is a good thing. Born during a time when metal building construction was becoming popular, it was a point of modern industrial pride to have exposed screws on many early 20th century items – including some watches such as the Cartier Santos.


Cartier keeps legibility very high on the new Santos watches because it retains the use of a white dial with black markers and blued steel hands. I have a feeling Cartier will introduce more dial colors in the future, but I doubt any of them will be as legible as this color and texture combination. The blue color of the hands is complimented by the blue spinel cabochon in the crown. Cartier has for a while stopped using sapphire crystals for the crown cabochons with the exception of of their really high-end pieces.

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

Also new for the Santos collection is the use of Cartier movements as opposed to those from an outside Richemont Group supplier. Now the Cartier Santos is equipped with the reliable Cartier caliber 1847 MC automatic movement. When considering magnetic resistance, Cartier doesn’t use silicon parts, but they do claim to use non-magnetic metal alloys for the escapement and some other movement parts as well as a magnetic shield over the movement. This is part of a new trend in the watch industry to deploy anti-magnetic technology to more and more movements as part of a “relevancy” strategy. Though it is hard not to assume brands such as Omega (with METAS certification) played a big role in pushing this trend. The 1847 MC movement operates at 4Hz and has about two days of power reserve.

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

The Santos bracelet has been totally re-engineered as well as reintroduced. Cartier actually hasn’t offered a bracelet on the larger Santos case for a while now, making them available only on women’s models for as long as five years now. Like the thinner case, the new bracelet is also thinner feeling, but retains the look of the classic with its single-piece horizontal links and screws. I do miss the buckle design and slightly more detailed finishing of the old bracelet, but the new systems in the 2018 Santos bracelet are undeniably cool.

Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Hands-On

What are those new systems? Cartier calls them QuickSwitch and SmartLink. No, these features aren’t unique, but it is good to see them being deployed in a luxury watch. While Cartier didn’t say it, I think it is safe to say that the new Santos bracelets are deeply inspired by the similar steel metal bracelet for the Apple Watch. QuickSwitch is a bracelet release system that allows you to easily push a button under the bracelet to release it from the lugs. Again, other watches feature this but it is done really well for the Santos and the fit to the case is very secure. QuickSwitch makes sense because Cartier envisions Santos owners changing strap colors as well as from straps to the bracelet on a regular basis. More so, when you purchase the Santos on a bracelet, Cartier includes a leather strap.

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  • Jameskeller

    Great article Ariel.
    Never really commented before on watch forums, however I have always loved the Cartier Santos 100 the 2018 redefined model is truly amazing. This will be a great vintage in the future. I wanted to ask because the movement is now a Cartier in house movement, does this mean it is more desirable than the previous Santos model – as I recall they were previously ETA movements and I was wondering your thoughts and comments on this?

    • David Bredan

      Hey there, thank you for your kind feedback. Regarding the issue of in-house vs ETA movements in terms of desirability and so on, we have covered that topic extensively, for example here ( and here (, these should answer your question more thoroughly than a brief reply in a comment.

    • Marius

      I highly doubt that the new in-house movement will have any effect on the desirability of the Santos.

      Firstly, you have to keep in mind that Cartier is Richemont`s cash cow, attracting most of its buyers thanks to the fame of the Cartier brand name. The average Cartier buyer knows very little about watches; his/her main interest is the design & brand recognition of Cartier. The fact that Cartier uses an in-house caliber, or an ETA will have an extremely small effect on the sales or future desirability of these watches.

      Secondly, the Cartier MC1847 in-house caliber is pretty much on the same level with an ETA. From a technical perspective, both operate at 4 Hz, and both offer a power reserve of around 48 hours. From a finishing perspective, both are completely machine-decorated at a very similar level. Essentially, the MC 1847 is Cartier`s version of the ETA. In my opinion, I would actually prefer the ETA movement as it’s a much more reliable, accurate, and time-tested caliber that won’t give you any unpleasant surprises.

      • Chaz


        I believe the push towards their “in-house” movements is a justification for higher prices, leaving the boutique/AD staff to convince (non caring, non watch geek) customers why it’s so much better and more desirable…and why they’ll pay more.

  • PollyO

    That’s a pretty f**cking nice watch.

    • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      Well f**king said !

  • ProJ

    Waiting for an all ceramic model with rubber band, lumed hands, and date. Also, not a fan of Roman numerals.

    • R Khalifa

      If Roman numerals aren’t your thing then Cartier watch articles probably aren’t your thing either

      • ProJ

        I am kinda casual/sports watch guy. I like the Santos, but hate Roman numerals. I get your point, but hope someone from Cartier is reading our comments ?

    • Tea Hound

      Sounds like you need a session with Rubber-B!

      • ProJ

        Sure won’t mind. I heard it is the BEST rubber band in the WORLD. Unfortunately, FAKE media are hiding this fact.

    • Thomas

      Don’t forget the skeletonized chrono version

  • I’ve always like the Santos and Cartier in general. I would prefer the hands to be slightly thicker though.

  • Jon Heinz

    I dig; it’s about the only square watch I ever really liked. I do like the old version in black DLC though.

    • That ADLC is extremely cool in the flesh, but I hated how thick it was. If they gave this case that same treatment, I’d be queuing up for sure.


    It is nice but I feel like wearing one would age me. I know it sounds silly but I associate these watches with 55 year olds sur la Croisette. Not that there is anything wrong w older gents but I am in no rush to get there any faster than I already am. So while I find the watch fairly attractive and at a decent price wise because let’s face it anything Cartier will cost you I am not ready to venture in that zone yet.
    Also the push pins I wonder about these long term? I got a similar set up on my IWCs and over time I am not convinced they will stay as smooth, easy to open / close. Will grime get in them. possible corrosion …making it nearly impossible to readjust the bracelet as needed?

    • Larry Holmack

      As a member of the over 55 crowd… although I like the watch… I am not willing to give in and get, what my wife calls a “Grandpa’s watch!” Just not my style….

  • Tea Hound

    “Cartier Santos Watches For 2018 Will Be A Hit With Buyers Says Cartier Marketing Whilst Buyers Disagree, Sticking With Rolex And Omega!”

  • R Ramki

    cool, still waiting for the steel tank solo to be refreshed under 4k

  • Chaz

    At the risk of sounding like a ‘Dink Wank, I’d love to see a version of the “men’s” model sans center seconds and date but keeping the automatic movement.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    This is NOT A hit for me I’m afraid.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What a totally unresponsive lot. I’m off, see yer end of Feb.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      Nobody on this board is looking forward to the end of February.

  • Kuroji

    Are these bezels scratch magnets, or what?

  • Ross Diljohn

    I could say I preferred the previous version but my opinion is of no consequence to Cartier since I will not be buying a watch from them in the future.

  • Ranchracer

    I normally dislike square cases, Cartier watches, and two-tone pieces, but…dare I say it…I dig this watch. Go figure. It doesn’t look at all like an “old man’s” watch to me. If this is Cartier’s attempt at attracting a new demographic, it may very well succeed.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    Nails it for the Cartier buyer. Brilliant in context.

    • Good Gene 42K18

      I thought you hated the new format and weren’t coming back, Trevor?

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        Who’s Trevor?

        • Good Gene 42K18

          I’m not blocked?? Maybe you aren’t Trevor after all…

  • JL85

    I’m loving the two tone version.

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