Three stainless steel. gold and stainless steel with gold Cartier Santos-Dumont watches

Cartier’s Limited Edition Santos-Dumont Watches Pay Homage to an Icon

The year was 1904 and Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont complained to Louis-François Cartier about the impracticality of using pocket watches mid-flight. Wasn’t there a better way to tell time while soaring through the air? Cartier soon created one of the world’s earliest wristwatches, which featured exposed screws and a square bezel. An instant icon by the time it arrived in stores, the Santos-Dumont remained a brand calling card for decades to come. At this year’s Watches & Wonders, Cartier introduced limited-edition versions of the signature model, which hasn’t lost its eye-catching edge.

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Retaining the geometric design of its distinguished predecessors, the new Santos-Dumont watches are naturally a sight to behold. The rarest amongst them is “Le Brésil,” which is named for Santos-Dumont’s very first flying machine. Limited to 100 pieces, it packs a silvered dial with 12 polished metallic Roman numerals and sword-shaped hands into a platinum case. Also featured is a ruby on the winding crown and signature engraving on the caseback.

Next up is “La Baladeuse,” named for the single-seater aircraft that Santos-Dumont flew over Paris in 1903. It comes limited to 300 pieces and features a yellow gold case, champagne dial, sapphire winding crown, blued sword-shaped hands, and patinated green alligator-skin strap. Flip the watch over to discover an engraved profile of the motorised airship.

Last but not least is the “n°14 bis,” which is limited to 500 units. It combines a steel case with a yellow gold bezel, anthracite grey dial, blue spinel winding crown, and gilded steel sword-shaped hands. Both the model and its caseback engraving pay homage to the trophy-winning aircraft of the same name, which was commonly described as a ‘kite of compartments.

Each limited edition Santos-Dumont is powered by manufacture 430 MC mechanical movement with manual winding. Equipped with 18 jewels, it delivers a power reserve of 38 hours and measures in at 2.15mm thick. The brand also released a Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle” watch for the ladies, which features the same signature movement. The past is alive and well and available in limited supply.

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Jacob Osborn
Staff Writer

Jacob Osborn

Jacob Osborn is an accomplished author and journalist with over 10 years of experience in the media industry. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin--Madison and co-authored a Young Adult novel through Simon & Schuster. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Jacob specialises in entertainment, technology and alcohol reporting. You might find him crate-digging at the nearest record store or sampling whisky at the nearest bar. He daydreams of travelling around the world, but for now, the world will have to come to him by way of lifestyle products, gear, gadgetry, and entertainment. Let's call it a happy compromise while he saves up for the next big trip.