Cartier Santos-Dumont XL
Cartier introduces the hand-wind Santos-Dumont Extra-large watches, whose price point is unbeatable.
Originally introduced exclusively as a quartz watch, the renewed Cartier Santos-Dumont has abandoned the style of the outgoing version (some complicated product variations excluded, currently). The old one featured a smooth and no-bezel polished case, the new one follows the likes of the current Santos de Cartier and comes equipped with the unmistakable screwed-in rectangular bezel crafted either in steel or pink gold. What the new collection confirms is the adoption of a slim case profile, instead. The Santos offering is now almost complete: the Cartier Santos de Cartier comes as a time only, chronograph or skeleton variant, whereas the new Santos-Dumont's generation has unexpectedly broadened, in recent days.
The new Cartier Santos-Dumont XL now mimics the historic Santos de Cartier's collection: the rectangular bezel, fastened on top of the Santos-Dumont XL, is quintessentially classic. In contrast, the Santos de Cartier comes with a ring that protrudes towards the bracelet at twelve and six o'clock, respectively. I guess this choice is geared towards attracting a new and younger audience, those in search of a modern take on a Cartier great classic. This new ultra-flat addition, which is 7,5mm thick, adds to the Santos-Dumont quartz and is a call for a more classic and mature audience, made up of connoisseurs and lovers of the original Santos-Dumont, yet looking for a far more generously sized timepiece (it measures 46,6mm by 33,9mm). And a mechanical one.
Cartier opted for the hand-wound Cartier 430MC movement: beating at 3Hz and ensuring a 38-hour maximum power reserve, it is Cartier's variant of a movement designed by Piaget, the master of all things ultra-thin. The previous version of the Santos-Dumont also adopted such caliber, and other Cartier watches do, like the Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat, presented at SIHH 2017, for example. It is not a master of power reserve, but it's a perfect choice for this timepiece and collection equally. Aesthetically, the case has a remarkable detail: the satin-finished case is flat (and the dial is large), to highlight the width of the dial (and its legibility). The polished bezel, crafted in steel or pink gold (hence no yellow gold, any longer), is not flat but has an intriguing conical shape that makes it bolder and contrasts with a case-base whose lugs taper towards the inside to make the watch better wrap around the wrist.
The case-back bears the Alberto Santos-Dumont initials (S-D) while, unlike the quartz version, the leather strap on pin buckle is integrated into the case. We suppose the tang buckle comes in the signature C-shape design that is common to a Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat. What I think it is the most surprising feature of these new Cartier Santos-Dumont XL is the retail price: the steel version will retail for € 4,700, the steel and pink gold version for € 6,500, and the full pink gold at € 12,500. These are incredibly competitive prices if we consider this is one of the most iconic collections, representing the first-ever aviator watch, and, finally, such an exquisite mechanical movement. It truly is an unbeatable value proposition in the premium luxury, for each of the three options, that we hope to test anytime soon. It'll mean the lockdown due to coronavirus is definitively over.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Cartier)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®