Along with the Santos-Dumont XL introduced earlier, Cartier in presenting four Santos-Dumont limited editions, inspired by Alberto Santos-Dumont himself.

In the last decade, Cartier’s work in the watch industry has broadened from commercial watches to high watchmaking and even concept timepieces such as the “ID” series. These were futuristic visions of Cartier’s ability to compete among the most innovative of watch brands. In the last few years, however, Cartier has once again brought back focus to its ability to create incredibly elegant wristwatches, and in 2020, the Santos-Dumont returns to the fore.

We’d earlier introduced the new Santos-Dumont XL collection, newly powered with a mechanical movement, the 430MC manual movement. Along with those new models, additional limited editions have been developed as part of the full range of Santos-Dumont models.

Alberto Santos-Dumont in his La Demoiselle plane.
Alberto Santos-Dumont in his La Demoiselle plane.
Alberto’s Legacy

Paying tribute to the legacy of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s effusive charm and immaculate style, the brand is introducing four special limited-edition models, each inspired by his aviation creations, without which the Cartier wristwatch may not have come about till much later. Each of these watches are powered by the 430MC calibre, a mechanical hand-wound movement, and the first three will be exclusively available on the Cartier website from end April onwards.

The Le Bresil limited edition bears the engraving in the photo on the caseback, representing the aviation balloon that Santos-Dumont flew.
The Le Bresil limited edition bears the engraving in the photo on the caseback, representing the aviation balloon that Santos-Dumont flew.

The “Le Brésil” is the first model, inspired by and named for Santos-Dumont’s first aviation balloon. Santos-Dumont called the “Le Brésil” balloon “the smallest” and “the most beautiful” of his inventions. Housed in platinum with a silvered sunray-finished dial with polished Roman numeral hour markers and a rubied cabochon crown, this model is limited to 100 pieces globally, priced at CHF 17,800. On the caseback, the profile of “Le Brésil” is engraved.

Limited to 300 pieces, this was Santos-Dumont’s motorised airship, represented on the back of the watch.
Limited to 300 pieces, this was Santos-Dumont’s motorised airship, represented on the back of the watch.

Next, housed in yellow gold and with a matching champagne dial in sunray finishing is “La Baladeuse” (in English, the portable lamp), which was a motorised airship that Santos-Dumont flew in Parisian skies in 1903. It was the ninth version of his airships, a single-seater air travel solution that was meant for use in urban spaces. For the “La Baladeuse”, a matching olive green alligator leather strap and a sapphire cabochon crown are paired with the watch, which is limited to 300 pieces and bears a drawing of the skyship on the closed caseback. This watch is priced at CHF 13,600.

The winged aircraft is best known for winning several flight awards for Santos-Dumont, represented on the back of this special limited edition, with 500 pieces available globally.
The winged aircraft is best known for winning several flight awards for Santos-Dumont, represented on the back of this special limited edition, with 500 pieces available globally.
Drawing of the skyship on the closed caseback

The third model is “Le 14 bis”, a steel edition with a yellow gold bezel and dark grey dial that’s restricted to 500 pieces globally. The “Santos-Dumont 14 bis” winged aircraft for which this watch was named, was inspired by the flight of birds, with a minimalist construction and cables that connected the fins of the craft with the rudder and fuselage. It was the aircraft in which his first public European flight took place, and with which he won the Archdeacon Cup as well as the Aero Club of France prize for flight distance. The watch bears an engraving of the aircraft on the back and a crown capped with a blue spinel, as well as a matching grey alligator leather strap. It’s priced at CHF 6,850.

Santos-Dumont watch
Santos-Dumont watch

A final model in the limited edition, and what might be considered Santos-Dumont’s crowning glory, is the “La Demoiselle”, inspired by the monoplane with which he capped his career as an aviator, prior to the start of the First World War. The watch is inspired by Santos-Dumont’s Panama hat, which was a style icon of his. The light brown dial with “pomme” hands bears a texture of Panama hat weave, and is matched with a made-to-measure Panama weave strap.

La Demoiselle

As a highlight and homage to Santos-Dumont’s significance to Cartier, the little “Cartier” signature that typically appears at the seven o’clock marker has “Santos” on it instead. The watch is restricted to 30 pieces, and comes with a full box and set of accessories, including a pair of white-gold cufflinks with red tiger-eye inlay, brown alligator leather travel pouch as well as an additional brown alligator leather strap. It’s priced at CHF 41,600.

There are plenty more that Cartier will be presenting this year to collectors, including new models in the Santos de Cartier range. Stay tuned.

Santos-Dumont Limited Editions

Technical Specifications

Movement

Manual-winding calibre 430MC; hours and minutes; 38-hour power reserve

Case

43.5mm x 31.4mm (W); stainless steel with 18K yellow-gold bezel and spinel cabochon crown, limited to 500 pieces (“Le 14 bis”); 18K yellow gold with sapphire cabochon crown, limited to 300 pieces (“La Baladeuse”); platinum with ruby cabochon crown, limited to 100 pieces (Le Brésil)

Strap

Alligator leather

Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle”

Technical Specifications

Movement

Manual-winding calibre 430MC; hours and minutes; 38-hour power reserve

Case

46.6mm x 33.9mm (W); platinum; limited to 30 pieces

Strap

Panama weave made-to-measure fabric; brown alligator leather; comes in a watch box with an alligator leather travel pouch and white-gold cufflinks with red tiger-eye inlay