There is always a story behind a great design and the Cartier Santos 100 Watch is no different. Louis created this timepiece in 1904 to satisfy a request from his friend Alberto Santos Dumont. The famous aviator wanted a timepiece he could wear while flying a plane and the brand creation was born.
Certainly an iconic piece, the creation came one year after the Wright Brothers famous flight and had almost as many surprises as Kitty Hawk. Flying in 1904 was very manual and dangerous, so a timepiece that could easily be read was amazing, pilots needed both hands on the wheel and so pocket watches were not an option when flying. The design of this piece had the dial’s rounded angles, exposed screws and square shape, and started a legacy that continues today. The design is very masculine and has great presence on the wrist, and being that rectangular cases are not as popular as the round ones, it was quite a leap for the brand. The brand then and now is one of the few that crafts rectangular timepieces, and while the Santos family is the only true square design, they all work well on the wrist.
The Cartier 100 watch shape challenges the myth that square pieces normally don’t fit the curvature of the wrist and the angularity of the design simply doesn’t sit well. The collection however worked well and the timepiece took a permanent place with the brand. The large size of this piece is somewhat deceptive as the case is only 38mm wide without the crown, and 41.3mm wide with the crown, a stunning 51.1m tall and only 10.34mm thick. So this spectacular timepiece looks amazing on wrists of all sizes, and creates a ‘look at me’ ambiance that has a personality all its own.
The Cartier Santos 100 Watch has been crafted in all steel with a black strap or the 18k yellow gold bezel with a luxurious brown alligator strap. The bezel is just one of the distinctive aspects of the design, and when you put the timepiece on your wrist you feel the curve that you never imagined was there by just looking at it. The construction shape is created by the thick lugs, an arch that has a perfect fit for the wrist and while the case is square the other parts of the design are rounded from the case to the bezel. Dimension is added with sharp angles but the true genius of the craftsmanship is the ability to make a square case rounded and keep such an attractive piece. The case aesthetics begin with the geometric seven-sided crown, providing the angles and the large blue spinel crystal cabochon.
Cartier has had skilled horological master crafters working for decades to bring refined elegance to their timepieces, bringing details together that others might not have a vision for. The dial style is the light silver, set off with the black Roman numeral hour markers and sword-style lumed hands. Simple and legible the design brings tradition as well as excellence together, and maybe it is not the technical masterpiece others are, it is reliable with a Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement. So while the timepiece might seem like a low flying design, it takes to the sky once you put it on your wrist, and will be like an old friend, true and precise for a lifetime.