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Cartier Santos

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Santos: Models and Prices. New, used, vintage.

Cartier Santos

The Cartier Santos impresses with a captivating history: It was the first wrist watch ever created for men as well as the first pilot’s watch to be manufactured by Cartier. Louis Cartier created the Santos aviation watch in 1904 in order to assist his friend – a pilot named Alberto Santos – in easily accessing the time while flying a plane.

From a pilot’s watch to a coveted classic

The first wristwatch from Cartier


The history of the Cartier Santos is just as special as the watch itself. The brilliant watchmaker Louis Cartier – grandson to the founder of the Cartier company – developed the iconic Santos in 1904. The creation of the watch was inspired by the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont whose name is represented in both the Cartier Santos and the Cartier Santos Dumont.

Initially, Santos approached Cartier with the idea of an aviation watch since he had trouble easily accessing his pocket watch whilst flying and wanted to be able to quickly and effortlessly read the time. Introduced in 1904, the timepiece was considered revolutionary since it was secured to the wrist by a leather bracelet and worn on a daily basis. With the help of the Cartier timepiece, Alberto Santos-Dumont successfully achieved a personal flight record in the year 1906 with a height of 220-meters over the duration of 21 seconds.

Although Cartier had previously created wristwatches, they were predominantly ornate pieces of bracelets that were adorned on the wrists of ladies. The Cartier Santos, on the other hand, represented a milestone in the innovative potential of Cartier. It was the first wristwatch created for men that could be worn and utilized in everyday life. Beginning in 1911, Cartier wristwatches were manufactured with Jaeger movements and sold in Cartier boutiques around the globe. Today, the wristwatch remains one of the most famous models in the history of fine watchmaking.

Santos de Cartier

A legendary design with a high recognition value

The Cartier Santos is an unmistakable timepiece. All variants of the model – up until the Santos Rondo – feature a square case with rounded corners. The exposed screws in all models but the ones adorned with diamonds are a classic characteristic of the luxurious watch.

The Santos de Cartier men’s watch is comprised of three collections: the Santos de Cartier Galbée, the Cartier Santos 100, and the Cartier Santos Dumont. Completing the series is the women’s Cartier Santos Demoiselle.

The watches belonging to the series are all fitted with the characteristic Cartier Roman numerals adorning the dials of the timepieces. The cases are composed of steel, yellow gold, or white gold. Furthermore, the wristwatches are powered by a quartz or a self-winding movement.

Among the entry-level timepieces of the collection is the Santos de Cartier Galbée that is comprised of steel (Ref. W20098D6) or a hybrid of steel and yellow gold (Ref. W20099C4). Further sought-out models include the Cartier Santos 100, which is available in a steel case with a black leather strap (Ref. W20106X8) or a combination of pink gold and steel with a brown leather strap (Ref. W20107X7). Those who want to convince with an extravagant Santos de Cartier can always opt for a model sparkling with diamonds.