The Santos de Cartier, a pioneering aviator's watch
In 1904, Louis Cartier created the first wristwatch of the House of Cartier, the Santos. This innovation bears the name of a certain Alberto Santos-Dumont. A pioneer of aviation, Santos had great difficulty reading the time on his gusseted watches when he was in the air. In 1901, he told his friend Louis Cartier about this problem. Three years later, the famous French jeweler designed a watch especially dedicated to aviation and named it after his sponsor. Two years later, the watch became a legend when Santos made the first public flight in a motorized aircraft wearing the Cartier creation on his wrist.
The original model already had the look that would make it an iconic piece: the case, rectangular in shape and with rounded corners, was for the time particularly resistant, massive and original. However, it was not until 1911 that the model was marketed and became one of the most renowned collections of the haute horlogerie.
Santos de Cartier: an iconic watch with many variations
The contemporary version of the Santos watch was presented to the public in 1978. Whether octagonal or rectangular in shape like the original, it would immediately establish itself as one of the most elegant watchmaking creations of the 20th century. The success was colossal: the first presentation at Le Bourget was attended by personalities from all over the world. The model seduced both men and women with its elegant steel case, gold bezel and visible screws on the bracelet and bezel, a first for the time.
The Santos collection has since been enriched with several emblematic models. These timepieces, while remaining true to the traditional rectangular lines, have adapted wonderfully to their time, such as the Santos 100 (created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first model) with an enlarged case.
Santos Demoiselle, Santos galbée, Santos-Dumont: today there is a wide variety of series and references. Find several used Santos de Cartier watches on the Cresus website.