Cartier Santos Dumont 1913 - Ref. 2697F - Collection Privée Cartier Paris



With the Cartier Santos Dumont collection we rewind back to the point in time when a request from one friend to another would change the course of watch-making history forever.

Alberto Santos Dumont, from whom the very first Cartier watch collection 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 flight in Europe in a fixed-wing aircraft, as recognised by the Aéro-Club de France. The event took place in 1906 on the 23rd October, just outside of 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 Santos Dumont’s moment. His journey to this culmination began in childhood, on his family’s farm in Brazil. Born to a French engineer father, who created a vast fortune through the production of coffee, 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, absorbed 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 his first balloons, which could sometimes be seen drifting gently through the clouds on the Parisian skyline, they were certainly not suitable to fly a bird of prey.

Santos Dumont would turn to his new found friend, Louis Cartier, to see if he may 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, the Cartier Santos Dumont. 

The watch

Following the first piece designed in 1904 for the watch’s namesake, the model would become an everlasting icon of Cartier watch production.

Santos Dumont, with his brilliance, had created quite a name for himself among the upper echelons of high society and this new, smooth gleam of gold that graced his wrist ignited a new desire amongst its admirers. In 1911, Cartier would put the model into limited serial production, incorporating precision movements from the greatest of watchmakers, Le Coultre.

The Cartier Santos Dumont 1913 was launched on the occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the Santos Dumont (1904 -2004) and as part of the highly sought after Collection Privée Cartier Paris. It is a re-edition of the original model of the Santos Dumont from 1913, remaining entirely faithful and authentic in its re-creation.

A perfect, 18k yellow gold square with slight, softly inclined lugs and smoothed angles, the watch sits flawlessly on the wrist. Resisting the tendency of current times to go bigger and better, the re-edition retains the elegant and neat dimensions of the original 1913 model, measuring an immaculate 24 mm x 34.5mm. The brushed gold case contrasts beautifully with the gloss of the gold bezel, giving rise to the bevelled edges of the crystal glass, a subtle touch not common in Cartier models. Fine, blue Breguet style hands provide indication against a backdrop of gracefully elongated roman numerals, whilst simultaneously harmonising with the sapphire of the delicately beaded crown.

Lest we should forget who and where we are dealing with, Cartier underscored by Paris sit proudly just below the 12, perfectly centered. 

Beautiful, elegant, timeless simplicity and an extremely rare. In line with the original Santos Dumont models from 1913, the re-edition was made in exceptionally limited quantity, just 100 pieces, as can be seen from the engraving on the caseback.

The set and condition

The watch is in excellent condition with only hairline scratches from normal use. As with the original model from 1913, the re-edition was made with a special folding buckle which is unadjustable, meaning that the strap was custom made on the wrist of the client. The custom made strap is a Mr Watchley Saffiano Terracotta strap

The movement

With the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (1998-2008), Cartier would decide to revisit the all-round exquisiteness of its watch-making origins. After a period of flirtation with the mass, commercial market, a return to attending attentively to every aspect of watch-making occurred. This entailed a reversion to manually wound movements as seen in the Santos Dumont 1913, which is powered by the 9780MC mechanical caliber.

If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. Viewings by appointment only

We are based in Ghent, Belgium
No stock kept on site

Reference 2697F
Movement Manual
Caliber Cartier 9780MC
Dial White
Size (Case) 24 mm x 34,5 mm
Material (Case) Yellow gold
Bracelet Mr Watchley Saffiano Terracotta 
Glass Sapphire
Condition very good
Year 2004
Papers  -
Box  - 
Warranty 2 years


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