Made in France, and for the past 26 years, trying to find acceptance in the Anglophone world. I am of course talking about myself, but to some degree, the same applies to Cartier. The French Maison is one of the most sought after in its home market, but the demand for its timepieces hasn’t quite translated overseas.
Hopefully, that will soon change, as the watch brand sets up shop on the Ground Floor of Harrods for the coming month to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the its first wristwatch, the Santos, with an exhibit dedicated to men.
At its core the Santos-Dumont is a pilot’s watch. Louis Cartier created the first of its kind back in 1904 as a gift to his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a renowned Brazilian aviator. Although it’s a favorite amongst a small group of Cartier aficionados, the timepiece has somewhat been eclipsed by the popularity of the Tank.
But it’s making a comeback! We owe the redirection of the Santos line to the brilliant genius of Cartier’s Carole Forestier-Kasapi. The Maison’s watchmaker introduced the Santos-Dumont Skeleton during SIHH in 2011, and three years later she was still wearing her creation proudly when we met up with her earlier this month at the the Salon Internacional Alta Relojeria.
My first thought when I strapped on the Skeleton was that it looked resolutely modern. Then again, you’d expect that from a watch missing its dial. Crafted from titanium and satin-brushed, it is now coated with ADLC black coating. The concept isn’t new, but it hadn’t really made its way outside of the sports watch category before.
Inside, it houses an impressive manufacture-made mechanical movement with manual winding caliber 9612 MC, which despite its small size – it measures only 3.97mm, boasts a whopping 72 hours of power reserve.
However, my favorite aspect of the watch, and I never thought I would say this, is its Roman numerals. I’ve admittedly never been of fan of them. On the flip side, nothing makes me tick more than a watch that marries form and function, and the numeral/bridge sketeleton dial is one of the most sublime examples of it.
The Santos-Dumont was always an elegant watch. It still is. But now it’s also a cool watch. The watch is priced at $50,000.00
Photo Credit: Marion May. For more information, please visit the official Cartier website.