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4 Apr

The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Cartier Santos

If you’ve found your way to this blog, chances are you’re searching for a robust and elegant timepiece that nurtures a rich heritage—in short, the Cartier Santos. The Cartier Santos is a timeless masterpiece worthy of being treasured. It has existed for over 100 years and still remains one of the most popular collections within the Cartier brand.

But before we dive into the details, let’s dig into the history of this ultimate luxury accessory.

Brief History Of The Cartier Santos

Louis Cartier produced the Santos wristwatch in 1904 after Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont approached the former for a watch that would enable him to refer to the time while flying. Next thing, we know that Louis Cartier produced the ‘Santos’ – a square-shaped watch with lugs that are gently curved. It fits on a leather band for optimum comfort and looks incredibly stylish on the wrist. 

Cartier officially launched the Santos collection in 1911, and over the years, it has changed in style while remaining true to the original design. Today, it has become one of the most sought-after timepieces of all time, with a serious collector’s reputation, and available in a wide variety of styles.

Why You Should Buy Cartier Santos?

Cartier wanted to challenge the norms and create a timepiece that served a need. The Santos is not just any old watch, but a piece of watchmaking history that Louis Cartier designed as the world’s first men’s wristwatch and first pilot’s watch.

5 Key Reasons To Buy The Cartier Santos

  • Versatility

The Santos is extremely versatile and has a lot of exceptional attributes associated with it. You can choose from yellow gold, rose gold, or stainless steel. As for the watch bracelet, the Santos gives you plenty of options there, too. Pick from a leather strap or a gold or stainless steel bracelet. And, if you want the best of all worlds, consider buying a Cartier Santos with interchangeable straps. Whether you want a modest style or something flashy, the Cartier Santos suits every consumer’s taste.

  • Comfort

Wearing a square-shaped watch doesn’t have to feel unnatural. The Cartier Santos watches have a unique square case with a precise design, providing excellent wrist comfort. While it looks square, the watch has a proper alignment and feels round when worn on the wrist, making it even more comfortable. The Santos fits to a wide range of wrist sizes.

  • Stylish Design

One of the most vital features of a Cartier Santos is its squarish case, which is a hallmark of Cartier. All Cartier Santos watches are available in two different case sizes – medium and large. The design of both sizes stays true to the original, which has exposed screws on the bezel and bracelet, and the tapered bezel spreads to the lugs.  

  • Robust

It goes without saying that Cartier created the Santos watches with premium metals and materials, ensuring you don’t have to spend money on a watch every few days. The watches are extra sturdy and fully resilient. If you’re looking for some extra durability, consider exploring the Cartier Santos watches featuring black ADLC (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon), which is ultra-hard. This material makes the watch resistant to impact and scratches while maintaining its sleek and stylish appearance.

  • Good Investment

Cartier Santos watches are not only the perfect timekeeping piece but also a worthy investment. The elites wear them, and their rich history makes them hold value and even appreciate over time. The model’s collectability, heritage, and craftsmanship help them command a decent value when you sell them.

What are the various versions of the Cartier Santos?

1. Santos ‘100’

Released in honour of Santos’ 100th anniversary, the Cartier Santos 100 was the first Santos model to feature a crown guard. This masculine watch has a large 41mm x 51mm case and bigger Roman numeral hour markers on the dial. The markers were enlarged to preserve the original dial’s Art Deco aesthetic.

The modern nature of this timepiece is evident in the materials used in its making. The Santos 100 is available in titanium and carbon, stainless steel, and gold. Watches with ADLC coating are also available. This Santos is available in 33mm, 38mm, and 42mm case sizes.

2. Santos ‘Dumont’

The Cartier Santos Dumont is a classic representation of the pilot’s watch created by Louis Cartier for his friend Alberto Santos Dumont. The Santos Dumont entails features similar to the 1904 model, including the hallmark square case, square bezel with rounded corners, and decorated blue cabochon crown. The minute track that originally sat at the dial centre was now moved to the outer edge. Additionally, the automatic movement is replaced with a simpler quartz movement, making it one of the most desirable quartz watches on the market.

The Cartier Santos Dumont watches are available in yellow gold, rose gold and stainless steel. You can find them in two-tone versions and variants with diamond accents. All the pieces in this series come on high-quality alligator leather straps.

3. Santos ‘Galbée’

In 1987, Cartier introduced an advanced quartz movement to bring the brand under the spotlight and survive the quartz crisis. Galbée means ‘curved’ in French, and the Santos Galbée stays true to its name as the watch embraces more curves than the previous versions. The model changed from the iconic square shape to something smoother that sits closer to the wrist and is more comfortable to wear. The Cartier Santos Galbée phased out of production in 2005.

4. Santos ‘Ronde’

The Cartier Santos Ronde is the only line that completely diverted from the original design of the Santos watch. It sets itself apart from its peers with its round case, octagonal bezel and round dial. Produced in the 1980s, the Santos Ronde was produced for both men’s and women’s, and it is available in stainless steel, gold, and two-tone versions. The Ronde watches are available in both automatic and quartz movements. You can choose from a leather strap or bracelet version, making it appealing to vintage and modern watch enthusiasts.

5. Santos ‘Skeleton’

Looking for an ultra-luxe version of the Cartier Santos? This is it. The Skeleton watches represent a bold and avant-garde interpretation of the iconic Santos with an intricate design, offering a captivating glimpse into the watch’s inner workings. The Santos Skeleton features a stripped-back skeleton dial revealing the manually wound 9611 MC movement. You can admire the intricate interplay of the bridges, gears and wheels, transforming the watch into a miniature work of art.

However, despite the modern design, the Cartier Santos Skeleton remains true to the tradition of the Santos collection with elements such as the square case, Roman hour markers and exposed screws.

6. Santos ‘De Cartier’

Cartier designed and renamed the original Santos into Santos de Cartier in 1978. The Santos de Cartier models feature a crown guard, a metal link bracelet, and a specially designed bezel. The watches are made of stainless steel with an integrated bracelet, giving them a sportier outlook. When Cartier brought back the Santos de Cartier in 2018, it introduced the ‘SmartLink’ and ‘QuickSwitch’ bracelet systems, allowing the wearer to easily swap out the metal bracelet as and when they please.

There is a wide assortment of Santos de Cartier models available in gold, stainless steel, and two-tone versions with three hands. The medium Santos de Cartier measures 35.1mm, whereas the larger versions measure 39.8mm. The XL version adds a further 4mm to the case width.


The Cartier Santos isn’t just a watch; it’s a symbol of elegance, innovation, and timeless style. While the design has evolved, its core features and charm have remained constant throughout. Whether you’re drawn to its historical significance, exquisite craftsmanship, or modern interpretations, acquiring a Cartier Santos is an investment in luxury that transcends mere timekeeping.

As you embark on your journey to buy Cartier Santos watches, research diligently, purchase from reputable sources, and prioritise authenticity and quality. With careful consideration and attention to detail, you’ll find the perfect Santos timepiece to complement your personal style that stands the test of time.

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