The Cartier Santos-Dumont watches are made with the discerning gentleman in mind. Manufactured by Cartier, the French luxury brand that created the world’s first wristwatches for men, the Cartier Santos-Dumont comes in masculine styles inspired by the signature look of the Cartier Santos timepieces of the 1900s. The designs are also simple and practical, making it easy for the wearer to read time at a glance.
Cartier Santos-Dumont Watches: Epitome of Sophistication and Practicality
The Cartier Santos-Dumont watches can be characterized as minimalistic yet handsome timepieces. The watches owe their classic charm to the neat and sleek appearance of their dials and the dark hues of their straps.
Contemporary releases have square faces like the Cartier watches of the old times. The dials are in satin-brushed silver with just the Cartier brand at the 11 to 1 o’clock position, slim sword-style hands at the center, and Roman numerals around the edges. The refined design meets men’s stereotypical preference for accessories that are not overly decorated.
The straps, meanwhile, are made of durable alligator leather. Common color options for the bands are navy blue, black, and gray, which are hues strongly associated with men’s fashion.
Prices at a Glance: Most Popular Cartier Santos-Dumont Watches
The Cartier Santos-Dumont watches for men, except for the limited editions, would not break the bank. Buyers can purchase these timepieces starting at $3,000 USD, which makes them great entry-level luxury watches.
The Cartier Santos-Dumont watch prices escalate depending on the dial size and the materials used. They do not exceed five-digit figures, though, unlike some of its mainstream competitor models. Below are the most popular variations of the timepieces and how much they cost.
Prices for the Cartier Santos-Dumont Small Watches
The most affordable Cartier Santos-Dumont watches are versions with small dials measuring at 27.5mm. These timepieces are quoted between $3,000 USD and $5,000 USD.
While having a compact build means fewer materials used and a low price, small Santos-Dumont watches are as attractive as regular-size variants. Compare the Cartier Santos-Dumont Ref. WSSA0023 to its bigger counterpart like the Cartier Santos-Dumont Ref. WSSA0022, for instance. The smaller timepiece showcases the same look featuring a light-toned face, sleek square case, cabochon-shaped spinel crown tip, and dressy leather strap. The style also stays true to that of vintage Cartier Santos timepieces of the 1900s.
Prices for the Cartier Santos-Dumont Large Watches
Large Cartier Santos-Dumont watches, having 31.4mm dials, showcase the best proportion to a man’s wrist. They also cost a bit more than the smaller series, being valued from $4,000 USD to $20,000 USD. The starting price is still within the low luxury range, though.
Coming in the typical men’s wristwatch size, the timepieces add intricate features besides the classic elements adopted from retro Cartier models of the 1900s. The Santos-Dumont Ref. WJSA0016, for example, has 52 precisely-cut diamonds lined on its square bezel and a detailed UFO-like spinel crown instead of the plain frame and simple cabochon-shaped crown typically found in smaller models.
Prices for the Cartier Santos-Dumont Extra Large Watches
There are Cartier Santos-Dumont watches that go beyond mainstream dimensions. Coming in XL sizes, the timepieces are fitted with 33.9mm dials and they come at a higher price range. Buyers can purchase the Extra Large watches at $6,000 USD to $44,000 USD.
While the watches are not as compact as the two previously discussed size variants, their advantage is better time readability and movements. Most XL timepieces, like the Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Ref. WSSA0032, have the signature dial, index, and hand designs but those are bigger and easier to see even from afar. Some also incorporate the hand-wound caliber 9612 MC instead of the 430 MC to nearly double the power reserve to 72 hours.
Prices for the Cartier Santos-Dumont Skeleton Watches
The skeleton watches are special variants of Cartier Santos-Dumont XL watches. As the model names imply, the timepieces highlight openwork dials that allow the wearer to take a peek at the beauty of the mechanical movement inside. The watches go for $48,000 USD to $54,000 USD because of the exceptional contemporary design.
There are currently two popular versions from the series, the models with reference numbers W2020052 and W2020033. The Cartier Santos-Dumont Skeleton Watch Ref. W2020052 is an all-black durable titanium watch that houses Cartier’s manual winding caliber 9612 MC, and integrates rhodium-finished brass hands and a multifaceted spinel crown. The Cartier Santos-Dumont Skeleton Watch Ref. W2020033 looks the same but uses caliber 9611 MC that is as powerful as the 9612 MC, and features an 18K white gold dial and case, with blue sword-shaped steel hands.
Prices for the Cartier Santos-Dumont Limited-Edition Watches
There are two limited-edition Cartier Santos-Dumont timepieces released in 2021, the $8,000 USD Ref. CRWGSA0048 and $32,000 USD Ref. CRWGSA0050 watches. Both watches are XL timepieces that slightly veer away from the collection’s signature appearance.
The Santos-Dumont limited edition watches are seen by the industry as eccentric because of their dials. The timepieces’ faces, encased in platinum or steel-and-rose gold, feature a square central design that showcases a spiral guilloche pattern and the Cartier brand. Also, the indexes are Arabic numerals instead of the usual Roman numerals.
The only major difference between the two limited edition watches is that the Ref. CRWGSA0048 is a stand-alone release while the Ref. CRWGSA0050 comes in a box set with matching cufflinks.
History Behind the Cartier Santos-Dumont Collection
The Cartier Santos-Dumont watches would not be here today if not for the original Cartier Santos timepiece, the first wristwatch for men and pilots made in 1904. The invention was the result of Louis Cartier heeding the request of Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The latter wanted a watch that would let him see the time while safely flying an aircraft.
That wristwatch, eventually called the Santos, was very practical because it does not need to be held by hand, unlike pocket watches. It was unique as well, because of the Art Deco or square dial it had. The watch’s square face is a design revolution itself because pocket watches made round dials the norm. Cartier saw the style worth retaining, which is why even its modern creations still come in that shape.
The success of the first wristwatch led to the manufacturing of Santos timepieces that were to be sold to the public. By 1911, a distinct collection was released and labeled as Santos-Dumont. That new breed of watches was also practical like the 1904 Santos, being the first to incorporate convenient folding buckles, but was more premium and sleeker because the square cases came in platinum or yellow gold. The design was trendy for years; however, it faced fierce competition from round-dial military watches when World War II broke out.
In 1998, the classic Cartier Santos-Dumont watches made a comeback. The industry was excited once more thanks to the release of the Privée Cartier Paris Collection that featured limited-edition Santos-Dumont timepieces. The exclusive watches touted yellow gold cases that housed the most powerful movements, including the market’s thinnest manual caliber of that time, the F. Piguet 21.
By 2004, the Cartier Santos-Dumont watches started breaking out of the brand’s style conventions through integrating bigger and openwork dials. The titanium and white gold Cartier Santos-Dumont Skeleton XL timepieces released that year reflected the new trend.
In 2019, quartz Santos-Dumont leather timepieces in regular and small sizes debuted. The transition to quartz allowed Cartier to steer the watch line into a good entry-level watch collection.
Cartier continues to experiment on materials and style as reflected by subtle changes on its 2020 and 2021 watches. The recently launched Cartier Santos-Dumont limited-edition timepieces that have unconventional dials are proof of that.
5 Reasons to Buy a Cartier Santos-Dumont Watch
Cartier Santos-Dumont watches look very simple yet why are they in high demand? For anyone who is wondering about why the timepieces are appealing, here are five reasons.
1. Style Versatility
Being minimalistic style-wise, it is no wonder that Cartier Santos-Dumont watches can be paired with a slew of men’s clothing, regardless of the motif being casual or formal. That makes the timepieces attractive for more enthusiasts.
2. Design Heritage
Most Cartier Santos-Dumont watches stick to the vintage design many generations have loved since the 1900s. That means the timepieces can be proudly worn as statement accessories and even resold to collectors for a favorable price because of their deep historical roots.
3. Entry-level Pricing
Cartier Santos-Dumont watches, in general, are less expensive than classic timepieces from its mainstream competitors. That is one main reason why they are enticing even for customers who are new to the Cartier brand.
4. Size Variations
Size matters for buyers. Having multiple size variations for its popular Santos-Dumont watches, Cartier has an advantage against its rivals. That way, patrons can enjoy their favorite timepieces in the dimensions they prefer.
5. Good Brand Reputation
Cartier has more than 170 years of expertise in the fashion accessories industry. It is also one of the world’s most prominent luxury watch brands as it is often included in the top tier of market analysts’ power rankings.
Famous Patrons of the Cartier Santos-Dumont
The Cartier Santos-Dumont Collection has a big following, which includes Hollywood celebrities and music icons. Below are some of the most popular personalities who were seen wearing a Santos-Dumont watch from the catalog.
American actor and producer Tom Cruise wore a Cartier Santos-Dumont 100 Large watch in one of his Mission: Impossible movies. The timepiece’s sleek face and dark-toned strap complemented his tuxedo in the film. Reports say that the flat square dial is what the actor loved best about the timepiece.
Tyler The Creator
American rapper Tyler The Creator is another famous personality who owns a Cartier Santos-Dumont watch. Matching his quirky getup, he wore a gold Santos-Dumont watch with a pink leather strap during a People’s Choice Awards ceremony.
American actor Rami Malek, famous for the US TV series Mr. Robot, is also a fan of the collection. He is a proud wearer of a two-tone Cartier Santos-Dumont watch with a black leather strap, a coveted model unveiled at the 2018 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie.
Cartier Santos-Dumont: Timeless Creations
The Cartier Santos-Dumont watches have shown the world that century-old designs can still be loved by present generations. The creations are timeless because of their exceptional quality and the strong brand reputation that Cartier has built through the years.