The loyal fans of the brand or at least the watch enthusiasts that follow the industry closely would have guessed, the model that I chose for today’s review is not a new one. To be specific, it was introduced back in 2011. But what makes this model so important to me (beside being a beautiful watch) is that it marks a point where Cartier begins to see the results of its revolutionary change in the world of luxury watchmaking.
The Santos Collection is an iconic product line for not only Cartier but the entire history of luxury watchmaking. The time-defying design of the collection that is also known as the first known men's wristwatch in history is so successful that it complies with tradition oriented applications as well as popular trends of modern times. As you might have guessed, Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium belongs to this second group.
The model’s case is designed in classic Santos form. However, its not easy to say that the dimensions are also designed classically as the case measures 47.00 mm x 39.00 mm, as indicated by the XL in the name. Theoretically those dimensions point a big watch. However, it’s not like that in practice. Considering the unique short lugs and integrated strap design, the model wears more like a 42mm diameter watch.
Thanks to its hand-wound caliber, the case is also advantageous in terms of thickness. The case material, black ADLC coated light-weight titanium, improves the wrist comfort drastically. The case is equipped with scratch resistant sapphire crystals on both sides and is water resistant to 30 meters.
The dial of the model is designed in skeleton style, an all-time favorite for the luxury watchmaking brands. The movement, which is darkened in line with the overall concept of the model, is enjoyed through the double sapphire crystals. The Cartier classic stylized Roman numeral indices are present in this model’s dial as well but since we are not talking about a conventional dial, the movement’s bridges are designed as hour markers.
Traditional brands applying industrial designs tricks to their cult models can often lead to strained results. Personally, I think it is a much better way to leave such experiments to independent aftermarket customizers like Bamford or Blacken. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of my article, the Santos Collection has a design that responds perfectly to modern touches. In my opinion, this skeleton dial is one of the best industrial designs ever.
Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium is powered by the manufacture Caliber 9612 MC designed by one of the master watchmakers of the industry, Ms. Carole Forestier-Kasapi. Hand-wound movement is composed of 138 pieces (20 jewels). Beating at a frequency of 4Hz (28.800vph) the movement offers a 72 hour power reserve when fully wound. The black ADLC coating applied to the movement’s components in accordance with the color concept of the model offers a clean and contemporary image.
Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium is offered on a high quality black alligator strap as expected from Cartier. The strap is secured by the classic Cartier folding clasp that is not very user-friendly for adjusting but considered as a cult design with its long lasting presence.
I do not see any need to hide my admiration for the Cartier brand. And my admiration for the brand, who offered simply time-defying designs, continuous with the investments they made for their watchmaking division especially in the past decade. Despite its horological value that always came after its fashion icon character, Cartier has always been a very successful watch brand for me. The brand that incorporates the technological part of the luxury watchmaking business now, is among the most important players of the league today. And the model we have here takes its places in our archive is one of the best examples representing Cartier’s rebirth.