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Cartier santos de cartier wssa0064 feature

Cartier Santos Review: Hands-On With Fashion’s Favourite Watch

It’s remained one of the most sought-after wristwatches for over a century, but the Cartier Santos line-up has again captured the attention of watch lovers everywhere with thoughtful celebrity endorsements alongside a handful of sought-after references. The Black Lacquer Santos-Dumont (ref. WSSA0046) remains a personal favourite to this day, but it was the platinum and Carnelian lacquer Santos-Dumont Rewind (ref. WGSA0102) released at Watches & Wonders 2024, which quickly became one of our favourites.

With the steady rise in popularity, I thought it was about time we put one back on the wrist for a few days to bring you this review. Thanks to our friends at Cartier, it wasn’t long before a gorgeous Santos de Cartier with satin-finish gradated brown sunray-brushed dial arrived (ref. WSSA0064). Regardons!

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Cartier santos de cartier
Cartier Santos de Cartier ref. WSSA0064 | Image: Cartier

Cartier Santos de Cartier

Price: AU$12,600
Reference no.: WSSA0064

Case width: 39.8 mm
Case thickness: 9.38 mm
Case material: Steel
Water resistance: up to 10 bar (approx. 100 metres)
Movement: Manufacture calibre 1847 automatic winding

With its unique exposed screws and rounded angles, the design of the Santos de Cartier is to watches what the Porsche 911 is to cars, timeless. Some like to compare it to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date-Just in terms of desirability, but few watches can balance utilitarian design language and heritage in the same way as Cartier has done here. The satin-finish brown sunray dial changes in the light, and while the steel case on the Santos de Cartier is wider than the true-to-the-original Santos-Dumont, it’s arguably more comfortable.

Classy enough to wear as a dress watch with this size and thickness, it feels just as comfortable paired with a leather jacket or tracksuit on the weekend. I made sure to wear it with a variety of outfits, and I can understand why it’s become one of fashion’s favourite pieces. Like so many great Cartiers, style and beauty are at the heart of the design. It’s not only a status symbol, but an accessory that lets someone know this sophisticated aura is not limited to your wristwatch. The type of person to wear a Santos likely has a collection of tailored suits, shoes, and probably a few vintage cars at home too. At the very least, the person who chooses this new shade of brown does.

If I had to choose, I would lean towards the more youthful white, blue or green Santos de Cartier models. They’re priced at AUD$12,600 in the large size, which fits my 7.25-inch wrist perfectly. You can also choose the medium size for AUD$11,500 if you prefer a smaller watch. However, I’d probably lean bigger because the Santos de Cartier does wear small, even in large sizes, thanks to its 9.38 mm case thickness.

Cartier santos de cartier wssa0064 on wrist 6
Cartier Santos de Cartier WSSA0064 | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

All the details are there, too, with luminous rhodium-finish polished steel sword-shaped hands, a date window at 6 o’clock, a seven-sided crown with a synthetic faceted blue spinel, and a SmartLink adjustment system, which easily allowed me to add the brown alligator leather strap with interchangeable folding steel buckle. On either the stainless steel bracelet or leather strap, the Santos is exceptionally comfortable.

Of course, no watch review is fair without its critiques, and there are a few things you’re missing out on with this watch that we’d like to see added considering the price. For one, there’s no micro adjust or half links in the bracelet, and while the links are small, some people might find that they’re in between two sizes. There’s also no display caseback and a minimal amount of anti-reflective coating on the crystal. Finally, it’s well-documented that the bezel is prone to small scratches. However, I think they add character!

Born in 1904, it’s incredible that the Cartier Santos has remained a significant part of the cultural zeitgeist for this long. Since it was updated in 2018 with the in-house calibre 1847 MC, the line-up has continually gathered steam amongst watch collectors, and now, it’s inviting more people into the conversation with growing popularity. After spending a few days with the latest Santos de Cartier release, it’s exciting to see where the next century of Cartier Santos will lead.

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