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Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

New for SIHH 2018, Cartier unveils their updated Santos de Cartier Collection. Gone is the simple square bezel, and included is a tapered, shapely bezel that extends to the lugs to give an elongated (dare I say, less old-fashioned) look without compromising the square shape of the dial. However, the real star of the show is what Cartier is calling their “QuickSwitch” and “SmartLink” bracelet systems.

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

The Collection was inspired by a partnership between the famous Brazilian aeronautical engineer Alberto Santos-Dumont and the brand. Spawning from a complaint that it was difficult to check his pocket watch in flight, Louis Cartier set out to create what the brand claims was the “First purpose-driven wristwatch” in 1904 by adding a thin leather strap with a small buckle. Arguably, it was also the first pilot’s watch (and some would claim the first modern wristwatch). Pilot watches have come a long way since then, and while it would be hard to compare the Santos de Cartier collection with any modern iteration of what would be considered a “traditional” Pilot’s watch, the update is fitting for a modern landscape, and I personally feel it gives a much-needed renovation to the collection.

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

The Santos de Cartier Collection comes in a variety of different flavors – a full steel set, a two-tone steel and gold, a full gold, and a pink gold set. Each case measures in at 39.8mm with a 9mm thickness. While some may say that’s a little thick for a dress watch, I think the updated tapered corners will help this slide under a cuff nicely. The bezel keeps its familiar 8 screws, but fans of the brand will immediately notice the slight change in shape – instead of a solid square bezel, Cartier has tapered the corners to flow into the lugs, almost disguising the break in the bracelet and case and giving the watch some more sex-appeal, less sharp lines, and a nicely framed dial.

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

There are two dial variations to the Santos de Cartier. The first is the traditional, slightly refined white dial with Roman numeral indices and a date at 6 o’ clock. This variation of the watch utilizes Cartier’s 1847 calibre. The second is skeletonized and utilizes Cartier’s 9611-MC calibre that “floats” inside of an oversized Roman numeral frame. This is my favorite of the bunch as I feel it embodies a lot of Cartier’s out-of-the-box design DNA. Because of the screw-down crown design, each watch carries a water resistance rating of up to 100m.

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

However, the real winners in this updated collection are the strap and bracelet options, with the “QuickSwitch” and “SmartLink” technology behind them. Cartier puts a lot of importance on their strap and bracelet system because it was such an integral part of the development of their first wristwatch. Because of that, Cartier designed these straps around comfort, ergonomics, and flexibility. They wanted the watch to have the ability to tailor to any situation – quickly and comfortably. So, for that reason, when someone purchases a Santos de Cartier, they will be presented with both a bracelet matching the case material and a leather strap.

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

If you’re like me and swap straps often, then you know the cumbersome and oftentimes downright frustrating effort it is to change your strap. The “QuickSwitch” mechanism allows for the wearer to simply press a small rectangular button underneath the watch band to release it from the case – no spring bars, screwdrivers, or mounts are needed. This isn’t exactly new technology, but I have noticed and been surprised at the number of brands dragging their feet on implementing it. I was excited to see the Tag Heuer Connected with this feature, and I am hoping more brands will see and adopt it.

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

The “SmartLink Self-Fitting” technology allows for a wearer to adjust the size of the bracelet, once again, without tools. Each link will have its own button that when pressed, will release from the link above it allowing for quick and easy sizing you can do on-the-go. In theory, this sounds cool though I can already hear the gripes about the screws being “purely decorative.”

Updated Cartier Santos Watches Introduce New QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems Watch Releases

Overall, the update to the Santos de Cartier Collection brings some modern adjustments to an arguably dated watch design. I feel that the new technology and strap options encompass Cartier’s balance of jewelry, fashion, and watches – and the harmony that can be met between them. We will update you with pricing as soon as we confirm with the brand.

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  • Yan Fin

    Interesting. Quickly adjustable bracelet should be seen in perdon. Water resistance is definitely a welcome feature. I am still sticking with my little Santos automatic from the 1990s.

  • BrJean

    Very enjoyable watches. Steel and gold would be my pick. However this bracelet is truly a nightmare for a lovers of perfectly aligned screws.

  • SuperStrapper

    Santos remains a face only it’s mother could love.

    • Kuroji

      I’d go for the skeleton version. There’s a mole I’m trying to keep an eye on.

      • SuperStrapper

        Good choice. You can time it’s growth.

  • Spangles

    Wabi-sabi on the screws. I am really happy about the new trend in adjustable and changeable bracelets.
    Will want to see this in person. Could be great.

  • cluedog12

    The updated bracelet is a welcome upgrade in terms of the user experience. Switching between a strap and bracelet gives the watch different character, so kudos to Cartier and Richemont for introducing these liveability updates throughout their collections.

  • Pete L

    Classically cool with a bit of a facelift and implementation of new strap system a welcome bonus. Not much not to like although the OCD brigade will be out in a cold sweat over the screws! Great dress watch.

    • Kuroji

      It would be much less distracting with tri-wing or any of the torx variants. It’s the random angles made by the straight lines what does it.

  • Not much to dislike here – I’ve been eyeing a Santos for quite awhile now. Might have to take the plunge. 100m WR is a nice bonus – seems like a rubber strap with their system is a no-brainer.

  • Chaz

    I’ve been patiently waiting years for a Cartier Santos but was not enthralled by the oversized Santos 100 or the other smallish offerings with either quartz or cheezy mechanical movements.

    That they now offer this design icon in a great “just right” size with their “in-house” movement, I feel rewarded for putting off on any Cartier purchase over the years. AND with the easily detached/attached bracelet, it’s icing on the cake!

    Just gotta wait to see what they’re like in-the-metal!

    • Spangles

      Yeah, I always wanted a Cartier, just not quite any current Cartier made-until now. This seems like a really nice, classic, yet modern watch with a hopefully great bracelet/strap design.


    A classic for sure but could do without the cabochon. I know a Cartier element but not my thing . A AP crown would do just fine on it.

  • BJ314


    Although creating a proprietary quick release system, rather than using the existing one seems disrespectful of customers.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    ” Arguably dated ! “…………..I can’t believe what I’m hearing!


    • IG

      Hearing? So you have a butler to read ABTW for you, Sir Raymond?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        He goes by the name of Jeeves.

  • DanW94

    Much prefer the original thicker, square bezel over this one. This re-design moves away from the masculine feel of the previous look.

  • Good Gene 42K18

    I don’t know if this is a square or a rectangle but I know that it is the most innovation I have ever seen, FULLSTOP.

    • DanW94

      I think it’s a squangle.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        It’s a nightmare is what it is.

  • R Ramki

    It all depends on the strap angle at the lug, if it sticks out in a fixed angle it’s gonna be a real problem

  • Ranchracer

    Call me crazy but I like this one. I’d like it more without the bezel screws, but I admire the quick change strap system. The mechanism is really not all that complicated. Something comparable should be on EVERY watch over 500 bucks.

    • BJ314

      You can buy quick release straps for $20-200 at virtually any mm. The catch is that there is an limited assortment in metal.

      I really do believe every watch maker ought to sell some version of a quick release.

  • Kuroji

    I like it, but the random screw alignment on the bracelet would probably drive me crazy.

  • SuperStrapper

    Why were the article page jumps moved? In the previous format they were right above the comments section, in a place right after an article ends, and that carried over with the new format. Because it makes the most sense by far. But now they’ve been sent down below a tedious amount of scrolling through other article suggestions, some of them quite old. So if an article has a lot of activity it all has to be scrolled through and then the article suggestions. Put it back, unless making flipping through articles annoying was the goal.

  • JosephWelke

    Very nice. I don’t have a true dress watch, but this is now a contender.

  • Peter D

    Yeah, no its really no effor to change a standard strap/ bracelet.

  • Ulysses31

    This is an attempt at a more interesting modern form from Cartier, and it almost succeeds. Only the archaic dial keeps this from attaining total futuristic perfection.

  • benjameshodges

    Interesting move by Cartier. Thanks Travis.

  • spiceballs

    Cool, Cartier.

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