Men with Vision
Alberto Santos-Dumont was a man of vision, someone who worked to change the world, and connect dreams with technology. The introduction of the Cartier Engraved Santos-Dumont Limited Edition watches is an extension of friendship and a brilliant creation of mechanical movement with exquisite workmanship. Visionaries Louis Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont revolutionized watchmaking with these beauties as they worked to match Alberto’s most significant aircraft. These four timepieces each are a representation of milestones in the career of the aviation genius. While each timepiece share the same movement they are very unique in design and price.
The first watch in the Cartier Engraved Santos-Dumont Limited Edition collection was created and named after the first flying machine the inventor mastered, a hot-air balloon that was noted for the small size and light weight it possessed. The first flight was in 1898 and captured perfectly in this beautiful ruby adorned crown, platinum case and paired with a silvered dial and radially-brushed finish. Previously featuring only printed dials this watch has applied shiny Roman numerals, combined with black minute track and black sword-shaped hands. Limited to 100 pieces, the character of this timepiece is sophisticated and is engraved with the design of this first machine.
As special as the first flight, the next creation was a tribute to the ninth airship, La Baladeuse, and no less impressive. In 1903 as automobiles were still quite the novelty, Dumont created this motorized balloon and wanted to convey the ease of transportation as he used it for personal transport. Featuring a yellow gold case, champagne dial, sapphire winding crown, blued sword-shaped hands and a patinated green alligator strap this watch is striking with the contrast on the black numerals. Limited to 300 pieces, this Cartier Engraved Santos-Dumont has the profile of the motorized airship that was created to demonstrate the usefulness of air travel.
“Le 14 Bis”
As Dumont continued to expand his vision the Le 14 Bis was his first heavier-than-air aircraft, made of cubes formed by wood frame covered in stretched canvas. Taking flight in 1906, he became the first aviator to complete a manned powered flight of 220 m. The Cartier Engraved Santos-Dumont Limited Edition Watch that commemorates this flight is made of steel, but is featured as a yellow-gold bezel and dark anthracite grey dial. The numerals are printed in white, with hands that are gilded, and a blue spinel winding crown, providing a amazing contrast against the dark dial. Limited to 500 pieces, the back engraved with n14 bis.
The fourth and final timepiece in the series of the Cartier Engraved Santos-Dumont Limited Edition Watches is also the largest and most expensive, as well as the most uncommon. Making only 30 of this version, the large platinum case provides tribute to the aviator’s most successful aircraft and one that was the first ever to be serially produced. To distinguish this timepiece the brand designed it larger, used a high end material and then crafted a special dial and strap, as well as the exquisite engraved aircraft emblem on the back. The texture and color of the timepiece embraced the trademark Panama hat that Santos-Dumont was known for. This watch features the central portion of the matte, cream dial in a guilloche pattern and the strap has that Panama-weave fabric. In order to bring some of the original timepiece into this design it was crafted with a pair of blackened Breguet hands, and replacing the signature “VII” on the dial is marked “Santos”. To further distinguish this final timepiece, the watch is delivered in a spectacular box made from lacquered wood, and also has an alligator watch pouch, and pair of 18k white gold with red tiger-eye inlay cufflinks. It is quite stunning.
Remembering strides of excellence has been carefully captured in these timepieces, and something any horological lover would crave. Love of aviation, love of watches, or a combination of both, find your perfect fit.