Cartier Santos Dumont Platinum - Limited to 150 pieces
Giving a red-hot coat of Cartier colour to the best-selling, angular-centric timepiece out there. Daring, striking and bordering on the enigmatic: this is Cartier on fire. With this 2022 Cartier Santos-Dumont in platinum - and regally rich burgundy lacquer - the radical and genius spirit of 1920s/1930s Cartier design quite clearly decided to make its presence felt.
Cartier's power in the art of watchmaking has always lain in its ability to ramp up the aesthetic feat of a timepiece, presenting not just the unexpected but the previously inconceivable. A brand that can surprise, stun but ultimately make any observer fall head over heels in love with its creations. It has always had a sense for the sublime and with this timepiece: its first-ever, modern-day lacquered case, paired with a first-of-its-kind, brand-new dial design - a spark of the sublime most definitely fell upon the Cartier design atelier in the early 2020s.
This is the Large size of the Santos-Dumont, the measurements of the case being 43.5mm x 31.4mm, with the watch sitting at 7.3mm in height. This lacquered variation of the model was created in three colour ways: steel with black lacquer (regular production), rose gold with beige lacquer (limited to 250 pieces) and the most exclusive metal/colourway presented here: platinum with burgundy lacquer - limited to just 150 pieces. Coloured dials are certainly no novelty to watchmaking and so true to its inherent style, Cartier took a rather more unconventional route to work colour into this unique creation.
To construct the coloured lacquer case, perfect channels are engraved into and around the bezel, as well as in the upward facing part of the case, extending over the lugs. These channels are then filled with the smooth coloured lacquer, heated in order to set and subsequently, the case is polished to create uniform and level perfection. A clear, protective varnish is then applied to protect the intricate work, whilst simultaneously providing a sweeping and lucid finish to the case. The result is thin, delicate lines of platinum that exquisitely frame the burgundy lacquer, whilst the burgundy lacquer faultlessly frames the traditionally visible eight screws of the Santos-Dumont bezel.
Exquisite framing is a strong feature of the piece and continues into the dial with this new, never-before-seen Cartier design. Following the engraving technique used on the case and bezel, a similar technique is used on the dial. Incredibly fine grooves have been milled into the white dial to create the silvered, concentric-cube pattern that reaches from the dial centre to every corner and edge, before being neatly encased by the burgundy railway minute-track. This unique choice of colour for the minute-track, 'Cartier' signature at 12 and the 'Swiss made' at 6, highlight a further novelty gifted to this piece. By no means a complete break with tradition, all expected elements are found on the dial but their traditional black has been smartly traded for a rich burgundy, echoing the lacquer of the case. Applied, deep grey/silver Roman numerals and deep grey/silver sword hands complete the dial, recalling the noble platinum that carries the whole piece.
Further indication that this Santos-Dumont really is a cut above the rest is seen through Mr Santos-Dumont's burgundy lacquered signature that is ever so elegantly set in the centre of the satin-brushed caseback. A deeply engraved, beautifully prominent 'Cartier' sits above his signature and confirmation that this piece is a limited edition, together with its limited-edition piece number, are also engraved into the back of the watch.
A radiant red ruby on beaded crown is the perfect finishing touch to this absolute mastery of texture and colour from Cartier.
It is the Calibre 430 MC, otherwise known as the Piaget Calibre 430P, which powers this wonderful watch. This movement is Cartier's go-to for its manually-wound men's watches and gives the watch a power reserve of 38 hours with a frequency of 21,600 vph. The ultra-thin movement measures 20.5mm in diameter and sits at just 2.15mm in height.
How it wears
Imagine how it would have felt to be Alberto Santos-Dumont stepping out in Paris with that very first gold Santos strapped to the wrist. Panama hat, high collar shirt, billowing suit - combined with that very special touch of Cartier. An image and idea that give just an inkling as to how wearing this extraordinary timepiece feels.
To the modern-day gentleman the Santos is certainly no stranger, yet this particular model is so new, so fresh in its look and feel that it really must go some way to capturing that other-worldly, fantastic sensation Mr Santos-Dumont must have experienced with his highly distinguished, original timepiece on the wrist. With a fashion-forward aesthetic this strong, a simple pairing with navy or soft grey formal attire would give this timepiece absolutely all it needs to turn heads. Alternatively, pair with black for a raucously strong style statement. This timepiece has a versatility to stun quite unlike any other.
The set & condition
An original - in absolutely every sense of the word - and feverishly striking piece of Cartier that is brand new and comes with its full set.
With the Santos-Dumont we rewind back to the point in time when a request from one friend to another would change the course of watchmaking history forever.
Alberto Santos-Dumont, from whom the very first men's wristwatch takes its name, was a pioneer and innovator in the field of aviation. A desire to fly, to levitate to new heights, would lead the imaginative inventor to make the very first European flight in a fixed-wing aircraft. In the October of 1906, just outside Paris, a series of square box-like structures constructed from bamboo, pine and draped in silk - organised into a form akin to a bird - were propelled by an engine 15 feet high into the air and piloted by Santos-Dumont himself. The bird of prey, as the structure would come to be known, would manage to glide for 60 metres in front of a group of awe-struck spectators.
This was the Brazilian pioneer's crowning moment. Born to a French engineer father, Alberto’s interest in all things mechanical would come as little surprise. Yet the young Alberto was not just interested in - but rather enthralled by - mechanics and the possibilities presented by machines. He learnt to drive a tractor, locomotive, learnt to service these machines and absorbed all their inner workings. This intrinsic curiosity and subsequent understanding of what already existed allowed him to elevate to the next level and consider what could exist: the ability for humans to travel through the air.
At age 18 his family left Brazil for Paris and it would be here, surrounded by the latest developments in the sciences, mechanics and astronomy, where Santos-Dumont would excel. Time, and being able to read it accurately, was of course essential for his practice and whilst pocket watches were suitable for flying his first balloons - which could sometimes be seen gently drifting through the clouds on the Parisian skyline - they were certainly not suitable for flying a bird of prey.
Santos-Dumont would turn to his new-found friend, Louis Cartier, to see if he could find a solution to his dilemma: how to be able to read the time with two hands fixed on the controls of his new aircraft. Cue the world’s first men’s wristwatch - and first ever pilot's watch - the Cartier Santos-Dumont.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium
No stock kept on site
|43.5mm x 31.4mm
|Original Cartier strap