The Santos-Dumont is a bit sportier, so sometimes I prefer that look over that of the elegant Tank. But just as often it’s the other way around.
The Tank and Santos-Dumont are the pillars of the Cartier timepiece collection. These two watches not only kickstarted Cartier’s watch empire but have also been retained within the collection for eternity, albeit with new variations introduced from time to time ranging from dress to sport.
As I described in The World‘s First Pilot’s Watch: Cartier Santos-Dumont 1904 To 2018, the Santos-Dumont was created in 1904 but only introduced to the public in 1911. Since then, this model has been produced in fairly small editions, usually in platinum with a leather strap and deployant buckle. But also in yellow and even white gold, though those are fairly rare.
From a materials standpoint alone, this watch could never become a bargain since precious metals have their price. It was therefore remarkable that Cartier decided to make an inspired sporty variation of the model simply called “the Santos” in 1978 in steel with a gold bezel and gold screws on the steel bracelet.
That Santos-Dumont marked the first time that Cartier released a watch not fully made of precious metal.
The 2019 Cartier Santos-Dumont
At SIHH 2019, we were surprised to see a stunning new historically inspired Santos-Dumont model. And to my eye it looks even better than the model from the now-defunct Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP) line.
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