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How Santos De Cartier Became Famous?

How Santos De Cartier Became Famous?

a Santos De Cartier watch on the wrist

The Santos De Cartier is one of the world’s most classic and celebrated watches. Introduced as an aviator timepiece for the wrist in the early 20th Century, the Santos De Cartier is now more than just a tool for telling time during a flight. Here is a hero in the luxury sports watch market and a status symbol for men and women alike.

What we have here is a very iconic timepiece from Cartier. However, this unique Cartier Santos watch is not all we want to discuss in this article. Also, we want to examine the history of the Santos De Cartier line. That way, you can see why this watch is this special to the watch world. 

We will begin with how the Santos watch by Cartier came into fruition and thereafter made wristwatches the universal standard.

Looking Back in Time

1. Alberto Santos-Dumont: The Man Who Inspired An Icon

To understand Cartier Santos, you need to know the Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer. This is the man who inspired the creation of this watch. Born in 1873 and died in 1932, this man’s name was Alberto Santos-Dumont. Here is a man who invented the first-ever heavier-than-air flying machine.

We know you might be thinking, “but didn’t the Wright brothers invent the airplane?” Of course, they technically did. Plus, they are who everyone thinks of when the invention of the airplane comes up. Still, many would agree that the Wright brothers’ first heavier-than-air craft didn’t satisfy the requirements to be the first “true” airplane. 

Alberto Santos-Dumont wearing his Cartier Santos wristwatch

The Wright brothers’ aircraft couldn’t get itself into the air. The engine could only move at a ground speed of 6mph, 22mph less than it needed to gain that lift. Due to this, their initial flights required a strong headwind. Subsequently, they began making use of a catapult to take off.

Our point is that the Wright brothers’ flight experiments starting in 1903 didn’t see a plane take off and fly entirely on its own. It was Alberto Santos-Dumont who created the first heavier-than-air craft that could fly completely under its own steam. It also had wheels compared to the Wright brothers’ original inventions.

In addition, Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first to take his experiments public. In 1906, he took the first-ever public flight for the whole world to see. On the other hand, the Wright brothers secretly held their experiments, waiting on patents and contracts for their flying machines. They didn’t take a public flight until 1908, 2 years after the Brazilian superstar-aviator rendered Paris dumbstruck.

2. Building The Santos De Cartier Watch

a Santos De Cartier watch close view

Alberto Santos-Dumont’s flight experiments (and competitions) were a medley of various events. These flight experiments began in Paris as early as 1897, and experienced multiple crashes. After a while, these experiments finally led to his major public 14-bis airplane event in 1906.

Moreover, Santos-Dumont kept track of his flights using a pocket watch. Doing so wasn’t ideal considering he needed to read the time promptly. He couldn’t afford to have to take his hands off of the controls. Certainly, every second amounted to something for Santos-Dumont when in flight. Due to this, pocket watches were nearly ineffective.

Santos-Dumont, being good friends with the famous Parisian watchmaker Louis Cartier, discussed the seriousness of needing a detailed timepiece. He needed one he could instantly read to monitor his advancement during experiments and competitions.

However, we must mention that pocket watches were the fashion of the time. Plus, wristwatches, while being an existing figure for almost a century prior, were only a feminine accessory. You will find no man ever wearing one. Still, when Louis Cartier presented the idea of a wristwatch to Santos-Dumont, he instantly saw the significance of its functionality. That made it the apparent option.

Later, In 1904, Louis Cartier gifted Santos-Dumont with a wristwatch for his flights. What he presented wasn’t at all like the feminine wristwatches of the period. Here, we had a rugged case with integrated lugs and a leather strap. This gift was a watch strong enough to survive the likely crashes Santos-Dumont would have in his pursuit of man-powered flight. 

Besides, it was large enough to read instantaneously. With this gift, Santos-Dumont was very proud, both for its aesthetics and functionality. This explorer wore it on every flight afterward.

3. The Santos De Cartier: Rewriting the Norms in the Watchmaking Industry

It all began on November 12, 1906. This was the day Alberto Santos-Dumont took flight in front of the world in his 14-bis plane. He flew 220 meters (722 ft) in 21.5 seconds with his “Cartier Santos Dumont” wristwatch strapped to his wrist. At the time, the watch was yet to get named as such.

During the next couple of years, Santos-Dumont kept breaking records as his flights increased in length and speed. And with every flight, there was his Cartier watch on his wrist. Needless to say, he was making himself a huge name in the media. He was all the talk. 

What struck everyone the most was that his personality was as big as his success in the world of flight. With all of his appearances, which were many, he had his Santos watch by Cartier strapped to his wrist. This almost immediately turned the idea of the wristwatch as a female fashion faux pas into a must-have accessory for men globally.

Now, everyone wanted a Cartier wristwatch like Santos-Dumont’s. Hence, Cartier put the wristwatch into production and became available to the public in 1911. As expected, it got named after the larger-than-life pilot himself, the ‘Santos De Cartier wristwatch. It was immediately a major success. 

All in all, it appeared like the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches occurred overnight. Everyone wanted a wristwatch and pocket watches began falling out of fashion. The world of wristwatches never looked back.

Therefore, truly, this Santos watch by Cartier is not the first wristwatch ever. Yet, just like Alberto Santos isn’t the first to ever take flight, technically, here is a wristwatch that set the industry of watchmaking in an entirely new direction.

4. The Evolution of the Santos De Cartier Throughout The 20th And 21st Century

The Santos De Cartier know what change is with quite a few iterations, upgrades, and even name changes over the last century. Nevertheless, the collection continues to hold to its original DNA.

a Santos De Cartier watch

When the watch first came out in 1911, it was the “Cartier Santos-Dumont.” Some years later, it got shortened to the Cartier Santos or Santos De Cartier. It kept this as its official name all the way up until 1987. Then, at this point, the collection had a more significant update that saw it reintroduced as the Santos Galbee.

The Galbee presented a more curvaceous look around the lugs aesthetic. Regardless, it still retains its initial square case and overall Santos swagger.

Note that the Galbee held production until 2004 when Cartier introduced the Cartier Santos 100 in honor of the watch’s 100th anniversary. The Cartier Santos 100 was the true modernization of the iconic, classic Cartier Santos-Dumont. With the latter getting introduced to the world through the wrist of Alberto Santos-Dumont 100 years before.

Presently, there are two Carter Santos models in production, the Santos De Cartier and the Santos-Dumont.

Why are Cartier Santos and Santos De Cartier Famous?

High-end watches like the Cartier Santos line allow you to show off your sense of style. Also, you can show off your appreciation for the finer things in life. Cartier has a long association with high-end jewelry and some of the finest gems available in the world. 

Here is a brand that continues to earn this reputation with its wide range of accessories that range from engagement rings to high-end watches. The Santos line has long been one of the most popular offerings by the company and for a good reason.

The Santos De Cartier watches are elegant and versatile watches that combine form and function into a precise, durable, and reliable timepiece. More so, it just so happens to look amazing as well. Note that no detail gets left to chance and every element of these watches features thoughtful design. In addition, you get the peace of mind of Swiss-born craftsmanship and engineering, along with high design. A Cartier watch presents cutting-edge internal mechanisms and features only the finest materials.

1. Adaptable and Aesthetically Pleasing 

Any Santos watch by Cartier offers both aesthetic pleasure and adaptability. One thing about timepieces is that they are one of the few accessories that blend form and function into the same piece. What this implies is that you get a useful accessory that enables you to stay punctual. Moreover, it will also pull your look together and give you sophistication you might not otherwise have. 

Here are watches that look great with pretty much any type of fashion for any event. There aren’t really many other accessories that can boast this. You can effortlessly pair one of these watches with a well-fitting business suit or a formal suit for a special occasion. 

On the other hand, you can also pair these watches with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt or even a sporty outfit for a day of hoops with the guys. How many other high-end accessories can do all this? This explains why style icons all appreciate high-end sports watches like this one. 

a beautiful Santos De Cartier watch

The Santos De Cartier wristwatch looks great with everything and you get an instant style and elegance to go along with it.

2. Presenting the Cartier Uniqueness

Cartier boasts a long history of putting together some of the finest jewelry available in the world. Their association with royalty also helped to make their name. When many people think of luxury, Cartier is a brand they think of. They got their start with fine gemstones and quickly moved into the world of high-end jewelry design and later watchmaking. Their options include a huge range of pieces, from high-end watches to engagement rings.

Also, with a Santos watch by Cartier, you get the peace of mind of Swiss-born engineering and craftsmanship. The country has a long reputation as being one of the finest watchmaking regions in the world. This tradition continues to this day. Therefore, like every Cartier watch, a Santos watch by Cartier comes handmade to the highest construction standards.

Not only are these cutting-edge timepieces feature fine hand craftsmanship. Also, they are elegant works of art you can wear on your wrist. And Cartier only sources the finest materials so only the finest gemstones and purest metal make the proverbial cut. Here is why the company is so highly regarded by so many. These pieces have a quality of design that is obvious to the naked eye.

Overall: What Makes a Santos Watch by Cartier so Famous?

Well, to begin with, a Santos watch by Cartier is a great-looking watch. You get a masculine piece, but with some nice curves. This watch is also very adaptable. You can wear it for formal occasions. However, it’s not a traditional dress watch like the Calatrava.

Similarly, it’s sporty but not as casual as a Seamaster for example. The interchangeable straps also add a lot to the blend of features. Not to mention the in-house movement and its reasonable cost.

the design of the Santos De Cartier watch

Meanwhile, what makes it so popular is its enduring design. A Santos watch by Cartier of today doesn’t look that different from the model Louis Cartier first conceived over a century ago. A blend of functionality, usefulness and yet innately striking. How much better could a luxury watch get?

Technical Details of the Santos De Cartier Wristwatch 

  • Case Dimension: 39.8mm width x 47.5mm height x 9.08mm thickness
  • Case Material: Stainless steel, polished and brushed with sapphire crystal on the dial side
  • Water Resistance: 100m water resistance.
  • Dial: Silvered opaline dial with sword-shaped blued steel hands
  • Dial Functionality: Time only with small seconds and date at 6 o’clock.
  • Movement: Caliber 1847 MC, in-house, automatic movement with 4Hz frequency.
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours power reserve coupled with its 23 jewels and hours, minutes, seconds, date functionality
  • Strap: Fast interchangeable system with a steel bracelet featuring SmartLinks for adjustment with an additional leather strap.


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