at this year’s SIHH, cartier re-launched a classic timepiece exactly forty years after its first introduction – the cartier santos. with a redefined bezel and changeable straps before admiring the beauty in all its entirety, a little history lesson is required.
all images courtesy of cartier
in a bid to become more accessible, in 1978 cartier launched an affordable sports watch appealing to a younger crowd and various lifestyles. based on the legendary ‘santos dumont’ created in 1904, the model was made from steel, a material cartier had not worked with before on watches and the first time since 1924 that cartier had created a watch that was not made in a precious metal.
to create a sense of luxury, cartier gave the model gold accents, and uncommon combination placing the brand as a frontrunner in setting the trend for two-tone watches. this can be seen in the screws on the bezel and the screws on the bracelet of the timepiece, exposing an element of the watches infrastructure that had up until this point been concealed. the santos has since become an iconic timepiece, with many evolutions over time including shortly after an entirely steel model.
large 2018 cartier santos in yellow gold, pink gold, two-tone yellow gold and steel
in updating this timepiece for SIHH 2018, the design studio focuses on comfort, intelligent proportions and respect for the santos aesthetic. its square shape honors the original shape and parisian geometry of the era, namely the four angular corners of the eiffel tower. also unchanged are the eight screws on the bezel, a functional hardware acting as a miniature tribute to the proliferation of mechanical steel structures associated with a golden age of urban architecture.
medium 2018 cartier santos in yellow gold, pink gold, two-tone yellow gold and steel
meanwhile, the design of the bezel features sleeker lines to accentuate the stylistic dynamic of the watch. the watch is designed for a perfect fit on the wrist and has been precisely weighted and measured to optimise comfort and ergonomics. and with new technology the length of a metal bracelet can be adjusted at the touch of a button that unlatches the attachment bar, enabling a brushed metal link to be added or removed.
large 2018 cartier santos-skeleton in pink gold
cartier has also made a skeleton version of the large sized santos in steel and pink gold, both of which come with matching metal bracelets. with this they reveal a new innovation, the smartlink self-fitting technology (patent pending) which allows for toolless adjustment of the metal bracelet’s length to the nearest link. the latest santos collection of watches come in medium (35.1mm x 41.9mm) and large (39.8mm x 47.5mm, with an all steel, all gold (yellow or pink) or two-tone (yellow gold and steel) case. all different case types can be fitted on a matching metal bracelet, or on a calf or alligator skin strap.
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