Cartier Santos Dumont 1922



The inception of Cartier's wrist-based timekeeping was born out of a request from Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont for a device that could be worn on the wrist, allowing him to fly and measure time hands-free; the watch Louis Cartier made was subsequently named after him. The first Santos was produced in 1904, and while Cartier's most iconic model, the Tank, came some 13 years later in 1917, without the Santos, the company would look very different today. In fact, so would the entire wristwatch landscape, with the Santos becoming the very first men's and 'pilots' wristwatch, far earlier than the larger contrast-friendly executions we know the category for today.

The Santos was released to the public in 1911 and is undeniably one of the most important watches ever produced. With attention swiftly shifting to the Tank and the adoption of round-cased wristwatches becoming a convention for the industry, few examples of the Santos were produced before the 1970s.

The Santos came into the modern era with effect during the latter half of the 20th century. The model adopted a metal bracelet, and emphasis was placed on the aggressive lines of its bezel and lugs to bring attention to its sports luxe spirit. It swiftly became a must-have for the wealthy and successful in the 1980s and 1990s, cementing the Santos name in pop culture and the watchmaking landscape to this day.

The Watch

For the connoisseur, Cartier's desirability revolves around early models. While the production of any Cartier watch pre-1960s is worthy of fanfare, it's difficult to overstate the significance of early 20th-century surviving watches—let alone if they're the Santos. That's one of many reasons this opportunity is so meaningful for those fortunate enough to be enamoured by La Maison's elegant singularity, with this Cartier Santos Dumont dating from 1922 and stacked with intriguing nuance.

The case of the Santos is one of only a handful of truly iconic pieces of case design, with the square form being almost unexpectedly paired with an external bezel with eight exposed screws. Brushed with a lovely polished chamfer and matching polished bezel, this noteworthy piece's 18k yellow gold rendering carries an appearance seen elsewhere on Cartier pocket watches from the era. Considering this example is over 100 years old, the condition of its case is nothing short of mindblowing. As with most Cartier creations both then and now, there's a beaded crown at three, complete with cabochon. The hallmarks, which we will detail later, remain deep and legible and help legitimise the history of this great-lasting relic.

The omnipresence of Cartier's dial design language is a crucial driving force behind La Maison's 100-year-plus prevalence. While those fundamentals are present with this Santos, the extraordinary elements in this example make the watch remarkable. This boldly signed Cartier Paris dial has three particular variations of note, starting with its rosette dial decoration. Believed to have been inspired by a similar motif seen on Cartier clocks, this motif has remained rare and highly desirable, especially on watches as early as the 1920s. Cartier still uses The rosette decoration today, but it's typically reserved for watches within the CPCP collection. The second important dial distinction can be found at six o'clock via a rare signature of the letters: 'Bte. S. G. D. G.'. This acronym is for the "Breveté Sans Garantie du Gouvernement", a type of French patent active between 1844 and 1968 which was required by law to renounce the state from any responsibility for the effective functioning of the patented device. Finally, the presence of blued Breguet, or pomme, hands round out the trio of rarities found within the dial, while thin black Roman numerals and a centralised minute track complete the quintessence of Cartier.

This is a significantly rare Cartier, and it's incredible that it still exists, let alone in working condition and ready to be worn for another 100 years.

The Movement

This 1922 Santos is powered by a Cartier Paris signed manual movement. It is complete with 18 jewels, adjusted to eight positions, and has a lovely bridge layout and level of finishing throughout.

Confirmation Of Provenance

Below is a breakdown of the hallmarks and numbers found throughout the Santos that have been cross-referenced and provide legitimacy to its age and provenance.

      The watch's serial number, 126XX, suggests it was produced in 1922 and can be found on the caseback and the movement. This confirms the movement is original to the case.

      The number 70XX is present on the externals of the caseback, the inside, and the inner of the case.

      'Bte S G D G' signed dials were used during the 1920s, further confirming its age.

      The side of the case, deployant clasp, and external side of the caseback bear the eagle head hallmark, a French hallmark for 18k yellow gold.

      'EJ' hallmarks are also present for Edmond Jaeger.

How It Wears

At 25mm by 35mm, this early Santos is slightly larger than Tank proportions but remains classic and unassuming. Nevertheless, the bold nature of its wide lugs and polished bezel, contrasted by the visual delicacy of the rosette dial, Breguet hands, and thin Roman numerals, is remarkably striking. In more ways than most vintage Cartier, this very special Santos is a statement to be made by any true Cartier collector.


This 1922 Santos is presented in fantastic condition, with the hallmarks remaining crisp, legible and very deep. Considering the watch is over 100 years old is truly staggering. The watch is fitted to a custom brown Alcantara strap and comes with the original 18k yellow gold Cartier deployant clasp.

* Every watch is delivered in a Mr WATCHLEY Membrane Protection Box for a safe transportation in addition to its original set *

Reference Cartier Santos Dumont 1922
Movement Manual
Caliber Cartier Paris
Dial Original Cartier Paris Rossette dial
Size (Case) 35 mm x 25 mm 
Material (Case) Yellow gold
Bracelet Custom made 
Buckle Original Cartier yellow gold folding buckle
Hallmarks & numbers Deep & easy to read
Year 1922
Papers  - 
Box  - 
Warranty 2 years


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