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If you’ve been looking for an authentic Cartier Santos Galbee bustdown diamond watch, you’ve just landed in the right place. The watch you see above is a genuine Cartier Santos and the diamonds are real, of the highest quality, and the setting is absolutely superb.

In this post, we are going to discuss both the details of the Cartier Santos watch and the pave diamond aftermarket setting. For those who are interested in purchasing this large fully flooded diamond Cartier Santos, please contact us for pricing. 

HISTORY OF THE CARTIER SANTOS

The Cartier Santos is the wristwatch that made wristwatches popular, thus turning the pocket watch into a timepiece of the past. 

Although the Cartier Santos was not the first watch for the wrist ever made, as Patek Philippe was the first to create a wristwatch (which was specifically for women), it certainly is the wristwatch that changed the face of the watch industry. This is because Cartier had the most influence on fashion. They made it cool to wear watches on the wrist for both men and women. 

But let’s take it back to the origins, where it all started…

The Cartier Santos was created in 1904 by Louis Cartier, the founder of Cartier. The watch was specially made for his good friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a famed Brazilian aviator who needed to keep time during his flights. 

Alberto Santos-Dumont was using a pocket watch prior to the Cartier Santos, which meant he would have to take his hands off the controls for timekeeping. Louis Cartier solved this issue for his friend by creating a watch for the wrist. Needless to say, this was a game changer for the pilot…

In 1906, Santos-Dumont became the first person to be filmed in an airplane. And guess what? He was wearing his Cartier wristwatch. 

This caused a lot of attraction. People seemed to love it. 

After a few years, Cartier decided to put the watch into production so they could sell it to the masses. This was around 2011.

The wristwatch was named in honor of his friend, hence the name, Cartier Santos. Moreover, it was labeled as a pilot’s watch, as it still is today. 

first wristwatch ever
Design Origins

The case was made to be robust. It was flat and had a square bezel, so it was comfortable on the wrist. Most importantly, the dial was highly legible, so that you could tell the time in a split second.

As Cartier and the Cartier Santos watch originates in Paris, there were some design elements to reflect the city. The screws that held the glass were reminiscent of the Eiffel tower’s legs, and the blackened Roman numbers recall the radial layout of Paris’ streets and boulevards. 

When the Santos watch was released, it came in a variety of platinum and yellow gold models, all with a case size of 25mm x 35mm. 

The watches had either a brown or black leather strap, with Cartier’s very own, inventive deployant folding buckle. 

Ultimately, the Cartier Santos was a major hit. Arguably the most important watch in history, as it made the wristwatch universal. After the Cartier Santos, the thought of wearing a watch on the wrist became acceptable for both men and women. The watch industry would never be the same…

Over the years, the Cartier Santos evolved, as all watch models do from the great brands like Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. However, it has always kept its original DNA. When you see a Cartier Santos, you know exactly what it is. 

Cartier Santos Name

It should be noted that the Cartier Santos had some name changes over time. It was originally ‘Cartier Santos-Dumont’. And then it was shortened to ‘Cartier Santos’ years later. It wasn’t until 1987 that the Cartier Santos got its name Santos Galbee, which remains to this day. 

With the introduction of the Cartier Santos Galbee name, we also got a new look for the watch. It lost its boxy appearance for a more curvaceous around the lugs look. It made for a more svelte, integrated appearance. Moreover, it felt better on the wrist. 

2005 – Update to the Cartier Santos Galbee Case Size

The most recent update to the size of the Cartier Galbee came in 2005. As the trend in the watch market shifted to larger watches, Cartier increased the size of the Santos Galbee to 35mm x 42mm (medium model) and 40mm x 47.5mm (large model). 

The watch in this feature is the large model.

During this update, we also got a date window (at the 6 o’clock) which the Cartier Santos never had before.

Note: The medium model does not feature a date window. 

Now that you have a little background on the Cartier Santos Galbee, let’s talk about the specifics of the case, bezel, dial, bracelet and movement, as well as this particular watch’s polarizing bustdown diamond setting. 

BUSTDOWN DIAMOND CARTIER SANTOS GALBEE

diamond cartier santos

For those who don’t know what a bustdown watch is, it is an aftermarket diamond setting. This means the watch has diamonds that were not set by the factory (in this case, Cartier). An independent gem-setter carefully takes the watch apart (i.e. ‘bust down’), meticulously drills tiny holes in the watch, and then sets diamonds into it. 

Bustdown watches come in all kinds of styles and levels of craftsmanship. This one you are looking at is of the highest quality, both in terms of the setting and diamond grade. 

Round Brilliant Diamond Bust Down Setting

It is a pave diamond setting, so the watch features countless round brilliant diamonds. Each part of the watch uses different sizes of diamonds, as to add contrast between the pieces. As you can see, the dials diamonds are very small. This is a must as it wouldn’t look right with larger round brilliants like that of the bezel and case. 

All in all, you will find a lot of bustdown watches out there, but you will be hard pressed to find one with such masterful workmanship. This bustdown Cartier Santos Galbee is one of the best we’ve ever seen. The diamonds are secure for life and they are set so closely together that you can’t see any metal except the screws and beveled edges. This is true perfection.

When it comes to iced out watches, it doesn’t get icier than this stainless steel diamond Cartier Santos Galbee. 

THE CASE

The case, like the rest of this watch, is crafted from stainless steel. Like all Cartier Santos watches of the past, it has a square shape. However, as this is the newest model, you will notice it is a lot curvier in its square structure. 

This particular Cartier Santos is the large version, so the case measures 40 x 47.5mm (39.8mm x 47.5mm to be exact). 

If you are used to round watches, this kind of measurement can be a little hard to comprehend. So, (and all though this is somewhat subjective), it wears more like a 42mm round watch. 

Now, back to its curvaceous structure…

The curves are most pronounced thanks to the new shape of the lugs and how they flow seamlessly into the crown guards. It really gives the watch a much more sophisticated appearance and it makes for a very comfortable wear. 

This point of comfort is further appreciated thanks to the thickness of the watch. It is 8.83mm thick, which is very slim and creates a better integration with the bracelet. 

Finally, we’d talk about the finishing of the steel, which is typically brushed, but this Cartier Santos watch is completely covered in diamonds…

The bustdown aftermarket setting of the case is characterized by what seems like an endless number of round brilliant diamonds. The diamonds fully encrust the top and sides of the case, so all the surface metal has been deleted.  What you are left with is unparalleled radiance. A simple flick of the wrist will give you the most powerful light show. It’s simply stunning. 

100 Meters of Water-Resistance 

If you are wondering if the diamonds compromise the waterproofness…well, they don’t. This watch has 100 meters of water resistance!

Oh, by the way, the geometric screw-down crown features a gorgeous blue spinel cabochon, adding just a tiny splash of color and uniqueness to the watch. This, however, is straight from the factory. All the high-end Santos models have it. 

iced out Cartier santos

THE BEZEL

The bezel of the Santos is square, as it has been since its birth. However, these newer models slope down into the lugs. It gives the bracelet, and thus watch, a much more integrated feel. 

This design update of the bezel was one of the biggest changes to the Cartier Santos in 2018, and it is one that people seem to love. It really just makes for a better looking watch. 

As for the diamond setting, the bezel features the largest round brilliants on this Cartier Santos, so it really pops and makes a clear separation from the case, which has slightly smaller round brilliant diamonds. 

THE DIAL

The dial is as classy as ever, just with a whole lot of diamonds. It is extremely simple in design, yet ridiculously extravagant in appearance thanks to the sheath of small round brilliant diamonds. 

The entire backdrop is encrusted with diamonds, so tightly set that you can’t see any of the original background. 

What is original, though, are the dark black Roman numerals, the blued steel hands, the “Cartier” and “Automatic” plates, and the date window at the 6 o’clock. 

In some bustdown watches, when the dial is completely full of diamonds, it can make legibility a little harder. But, with this Cartier Santos, the white diamonds add more contrast to the Roman numerals and hands so it is super easy to read. The hands and numerals pop off the diamond backdrop incredibly well. A pilot would be pleased with this feature, just so long as too much sun doesn’t come into the cockpit, causing the diamonds to temporarily blind them.

THE BRACELET

You have to love the Cartier Santos bracelet. Besides the sporty, non-nonsense design, it is so entirely original that just seeing the bracelet alone will let you know its a Cartier Santos. 

It is solid steel, with individual rectangular links and screws that match the bezel. Albeit, the screws on the bracelet are larger. 

One of the interesting, “carefree” touches by Cartier is how the screws are not uniform in their positioning. They have a random orientation. Quirky yet fully appreciated.

In terms of the bracelet size, it is thin, but not delicate by any means. It has the perfect substance to it. The bracelet tapers down to the hidden clasp at the back, yet it never gets too narrow. 

Then you have diamonds, a ton of them to be unspecific. Each link is flooded with round brilliants set in perfect rows. The only metal of the bracelet and clasp that can be seen are the screws and the beveled, high polished edges, which we must say juxtapose beautifully between the diamonds. 

Large Cartier Santos Galbee with diamonds

The New QuickSwitch & SmartLink System

The latest Cartier Santos watches, like the featured bustdown diamond Cartier Santos Galbee, bring us some new technology – Cartier’s patent pending QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems.

The QuickSwitch mechanism allows the wearing to simply press a small rectangular button underneath the bracelet to release the case. This means you can remove the bracelet without any spring bars, screwdrivers and so on. For those who love to switch between a strap and a bracelet, this was a pivotal move by Cartier.

As for the SmartLink system, it allows the wear to adjust the bracelet without the use of tools. Each link has it own “button” to press to release the link above it, so you can quickly resize the bracelet on the go. 

Take note, the aftermarket diamonds do not effect the QuickSwitch & SmartLink Systems in any way.

CALIBRE 1847 MC MOVEMENT

Powering this bustdown Cartier Santos Galbee is a calibre 1847 MC. This is an in-house movement that contains 23 jewels and beats at 4hz. The calibre uses nickel phosphorous for extra magnetic-resistance.

As for the power reserve, it has 42 hours. 

All in all, it is an automatic workhorse of a movement. It’s reliable, precise and something you will never have to worry about. 

WHERE TO BUY A REAL BUSTDOWN CARTIER SANTOS GALBEE LARGE

If you are interested in buying this genuine Cartier Santos Galbee bustdown diamond watch, you can purchase this at Diamonds By Raymond Lee in Boca Raton or online. Please contact us for pricing and sales details. Any questions you have can be answered by one of the members of our team, all of whom are Cartier watch specialists. 

Want to try it on?

Come down to our state-of-the-art showroom in Boca Raton, we are located at….

Just a warning, once you try this on, you might not be able to say no. On the wrist, this watch is spectacular. 

See more Cartier Santos watches at Diamonds By Raymond Lee

All Cartier Watches at Raymond Lee Jewelers

Florida Jewelry | Luxury Watches | Raymond Lee Jewelers

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