For 2022, Cartier has released a slew of new Santos-Dumont collection watches that most people agree are objectively beautiful. aBlogtoWatch first introduced these three new artistic Cartier Santos-Dumont watches here. While we don’t have new movements or a new case style in these products, what we do have is an interesting style statement by Cartier that offers an Art Deco-style aesthetic that corresponds to the era when products like the Santos timepiece became popular.
Cartier was responsible for helping to invent the wristwatch in the first place. This was, in part, thanks to the original Cartier Santos watch (although it wasn’t called that at the time). The original Santos was produced for a wealthy early aviation enthusiast who needed a timepiece he could wear on his wrist (versus pluck out of his pocket). This was around the turn of the 20th century, not long after the Wright brothers introduced successful powered aviation to the world in 1903. At the time, it was not particularly chic for a man to wear round-cased watches (that didn’t really become popular until the early 1930s after WWI was over), and hence, the square shape of the case makes sense. I also believe the square shape of the case began as a logical means to create a way for a strap to attach to it.
While these are classified as men’s watches, their sizes are a bit more petite, lending themselves to more formal attire. The size does correspond to how vintage Santos-Dumont watches would have been worn. The case size is 31.4mm-wide, 43.5mm lug to lug, and just 7.3mm-thick. Inside each case is a Piaget 430P-based (both Cartier and Piaget are part of the Richemont Group) mechanical movement known as the Cartier 430 MC. The very thin time-only movement is manually wound, operating at 3Hz with a power reserve of 38 hours.
The core novelty in these three watches is the use of a case with lacquer elements inset to engraved channels on the metal case, along with a beautiful dial design that has a series of concentric square shapes. Still, the traditional Santos-Dumont dial is complete with a “railroad track” minutes scale and Roman numeral hour markers. The dial contrast varies from face to face, with the most contrast and legibility on the platinum model as it has a light-colored dial. Cartier has fun here with the colors, and arguably the platinum version of the new Santos-Dumont with its burgundy red (“claret-colored,” as our friends in the UK like to call it) colors is the most visually stunning.
The only non-limited edition version is the new Santos-Dumont in steel. This model is given a two-tone black and silver-tone treatment with a black dial and a black lacquer for the case segments. Cartier did not have one of the 18k rose gold versions of the Santos-Dumont for shooting purposes, but you can see images of this variant from our previous news article (linked above) that announces this new watch collection.
Don’t miss little details such as the blue sapphire crystal or spinel crown cabochons on the steel and 18k rose gold models and the red ruby cabochon that is matched to the platinum-cased version. Of course, the matching alligator straps are comfortable, ideally color-matched, and fitted with matching metal ardillon-style pin buckles. I’m actually happy to see pin buckles used here. While they don’t always appear as high-end as a deployant clasp, they are typically much more practical and comfortable to wear, not to mention smaller in size.
As I mentioned above, the two precious metal-cased versions of these new lacquer-decorated Cartier Santos-Dumont watches will be produced as a limited edition. That translates into 250 pieces for the 18k rose gold model and 150 pieces for the 950 platinum model. The steel and black version of the Cartier Santos-Dumont will not be produced in large numbers but is not part of a limited edition, which is a very good thing. Price for the 2022 lacquer-decorated Cartier Santos-Dumont watches is €5,100 in steel, €12,000 in 18k rose gold, and €16,000 in platinum. Learn more at the Cartier website here.