Click here to watch the video about Santos' history.

      In this article, I will explain the history of Santos from a male perspective.

      For decades, Cartier has been a well-known jewelry brand, especially among luxury collectors such as royalty and the wealthy.

      Although the company has been making watches since its inception, it is not well known among the public. The reason for this is that the Tank, Santos, Tortue, Tonneau etc. were always made from luxury materials such as gold and platinum, making them out of reach to everyone.

      In this history, it can be said that Cartier watches first became widely known to the general public in the late 1970s.

      By reading this article to the end, you will understand the history of the Santos' evolution and be able to distinguish between the many Santos derivative models, so please stay with us until the end.

      1904 Birth of Santos-Dumont

      Example of Santos-Dumont from 1916 (Image:

      At that time, Louis Cartier, the third generation owner, received a request from a man named Alberto Santos-Dumont who he had become friends with at a social gathering.

      Francois Louis Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont

      The request was, "I want a watch that allows me to check the time while the plane is in motion without taking my hands off the control stick."

      At the time, pocket watches were the norm and there were no watches worn on the wrist.

      Before that, there were things that resembled wristwatches, but they were made for women and were simply pocket watches with straps attached; they were very ad hoc and would easily come off.

      So Cartier responded to this request with a watch called the Santos-Dumont in 1904.

      The Santos-Dumont watch that Alberto Santos-Dumont is said to have worn during his flight.

      If you want to know more about the birth story, please watch this video:

      The need for a new Cartier watch in the late 1970s

      In the 1970s, the time had come when there was not only the wealthy but also a new middle class, and the key to business success was to attract and retain not only a small portion of the wealthy but the majority of the middle class as customers.

      At that time, the watch world was in the early stages of a boom in large, thick watches, such as Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak and Patek Philippe's Nautilus.

      What these watches had in common was that they were large in size and made of stainless steel, despite being luxury brands, and they catered to the tastes and lifestyles of the newly emerging young generation.

      These watches were later renamed It came to be known as the "luxury sports watch."

      However, at the time, Cartier did not have a model that could fill this gap, so they needed to create a new model.

      In 1978, Alain-Dominique Perrin, who had been appointed marketing manager at Cartier at the time, came up with the idea of ​​creating an affordable sports watch based on the legendary Santos-Dumont.

      Alain-Dominique Perrin, CEO of Cartier from 1975 to 1998, had the idea to introduce an affordable Santos in steel with gold accents in 1978. (Image:

      Alain-Dominique Perrin, CEO of Cartier from 1975 to 1998, had the idea to introduce an affordable Santos in steel with gold accents in 1978. (Image:

      Cartier Santos reborn through a fusion of materials

      Perrin's idea was to build on the success of the Royal Oak and Nautilus and create a wristwatch out of stainless steel, a material that Cartier had never used in a watch before.

      However, to give this new watch a sense of luxury, Perrin decided to present the Santos in stainless steel with gold accents.

      At the time, the combination of stainless steel and gold was not common, so it was a challenging attempt and a bold combination.

      Cartier was one of the companies that led the way in this new trend, taking inspiration from others while also using its own strengths.

      A little-known fact is that the Santos started out as a two-tone watch.

      Looking at the design, the bezel frame and the bracelet screws are made of gold, and although they are two different colored metals, they blend together well, giving the watch a sporty yet luxurious feel.

      It's hard to find a watch from another company that suits two-tone design as well as the Santos.

      The two-tone Santos, introduced by Cartier in 1978 under the direction of Alain-Dominique Perrin. (© George Cramer)
      The two-tone Santos, introduced by Cartier in 1978 under the direction of Alain-Dominique Perrin. (© George Cramer)

      Against this background, the new Santos was unveiled on October 20, 1978.

      As a result, this combination of stainless steel and gold was highly sought after by many customers and was a huge success.

      Shortly thereafter, an all-stainless steel model was released, which was also a huge hit, significantly increasing the popularity of the Santos.

      1987 Birth of Santos Galve

      What is generally believed is that Santos Garcia was newly established in 1987.

      That is true, but in fact it is an extension of Santos, which was born in 1978.

      In fact, Santos was founded in 1978, but changed its name and was relaunched as Santos Galve in 1987.

      While the design is largely the same, it has been improved from previous Santos models, with the case in particular being more curved and smoother than the original Santos, making it fit the wrist better.

      The case is smoothly curved, hence the name "Galve", which means "curve" in French.

      On the left is the Cartier Santos Galbee, and on the right is the two-tone Santos from 1978. (© George Cramer)
      On the left is the Cartier Santos Galbee, and on the right is the two-tone Santos from 1978. (© George Cramer)

      This newly revamped Santos Galvee is available in both quartz and automatic cal. There were two models equipped with the 077 (ETA 2671) .

      This was largely influenced by the historical context of the watch industry at the time.

      The development of the quartz movement by the Japanese company Seiko in the early 1970s made the traditional method of assembling individual parts to power a watch, either manual or automatic, obsolete.

      However, in the late 1980s, mechanical movements began to regain popularity again, due to the preference of men for hand-wound and automatic watches, as well as for craftsmen who liked mechanics.

      As a result, Swiss watch companies, including Cartier, believed that relying solely on quartz would diminish the value of their brands, and so they gradually began to revive automatic and hand-winding watches.

      The Santos Galbe, which is equipped with an automatic caliber, comes in an LM size to meet men's tastes.

      Nowadays, the default size is around 40mm, but at the time, even LM sizes were mainly around 30mm, and the Santos Galbe was made with a case diameter of 29mm.

      Even for us today, this sense of size that doesn't exist in modern times can be said to be the charm of vintage items👍

      In addition, this Galbe was also produced in limited quantities with dials in special colors.

      Santos Galbee Special Edition with Automatic Movement

      The dial on the left is wine red and the dial on the right is gray.

      The crown of the wine red dial is set with a ruby, giving it a special feel.

      Unfortunately, production numbers are extremely low and they rarely make it to market.

      Santos "Santos 100" and "Santos Galve XL" from the early 2000s

      Santos Galbe, an Asia-only model released in 2002 with a limited run of 2,000 pieces

      In 2002, an Asia-limited edition was produced, with 2,000 men's models with a gray dial and 2,000 women's models with an ice blue dial and double C logo.

      The gray dial is a color that men love, and it has a chic and calm feel, yet is sporty and casual, giving it a beauty that other brands cannot achieve.

      The next watch to be released was the Santos 100 in 2004.

      In the early 2000s, the boom in large watches led to demand for even larger watches, and rugged watches that were over 40mm thick, such as Panerai's Luminor and Hublot watches, became popular.

      So, to meet this boom, Cartier created the Santos 100, which was made to commemorate exactly 100 years since the first Santos-Dumont.

      Santos 100 size range released in 2004

      The Santos 100 was available in two sizes, 33mm for the MM size and 38mm for the LM size.

      The MM size is unisex, and although there were some designs more geared towards ladies, there were also watches available for men in stainless steel and 18K rose and yellow gold.

      What Cartier wanted to emphasize with this model is the LM size, which is the ultimate choice for large, thick watches.

      Although the case size does not reach the 40mm+ size of other companies, the thickness of the case makes it look exquisitely large, within the limits of the sophisticated design that is characteristic of Cartier.

      The movement is Cartier Cal. 49 (ETA 2892-A2) automatic winding.

      Cartier Santos 100 Case Thickness

      The video below explains this in detail, so I will only touch on it briefly here, but the Santos 100 also comes in an XL size with a chronograph function, which has a case diameter of 41.5mm.

      Cartier watch "Santos 100" chronograph model list

      Returning to the main topic, the Santos 100 is a huge watch, but it can be described as a wristwatch that pursues the inherent visibility of a watch.

      The reason is that a watch this large could be equipped with functions such as a date display, but this is not the case, and even though there is space to include a small second hand, it is not included.

      Instead, the indexes and hands are huge and a center second hand is used.

      From this, we can see that Cartier intentionally made the Santos 100 a simple watch that prioritized legibility.

      The Santos 100 remains a hugely popular model even 20 years after its creation.

      As a man, I think that's because men aspire to simplicity and robustness, and the Santos 100 is a model that is both dressy and masculine.

      Next up was the Santos Galve XL, released in 2005.

      Santos Galve XL size 32mm released in 2005

      Compared to the Santos 100, it may seem small, but the Santos Galve LM is 29mm, so it is 3mm larger.

      This was a time when the standard size of watches was generally becoming larger, and the Santos Galbe was created as a result of a strong demand for larger watches.

      The XL is an automatic watch, equipped with the ETA Cal. 049.

      The LM has a date window at the 3 o'clock position, while the XL has it between 4 and 5 o'clock.

      Santos-Dumont resurrected at CPCP

      Santos-Dumont reprinted by CPCP

      The models introduced above are basically luxury sports watches made of stainless steel.

      However, Cartier also produces a different line, the CPCP collection, which is one rank higher.

      What is CPCP?

      It is an abbreviation for " Collection Privee Cartier Paris ," where Privee means "private" in English and refers to the collection that revives Cartier's most historic models.

      Various models were reproduced, including the Santos-Dumont, which was created in 1904.

      The case diameter is 27mm and is made only from high-quality materials such as platinum and yellow gold. The movement is hand-wound and equipped with the Cal. 21, produced by Frederic Piguet for Cartier.

      For more information about the CPCP collection, please watch this video:

      The Santos series, excluding the CPCP, was produced until 2017, at which point the Santos series will come to an end and be succeeded by the next model.

      Santos 2018 Collection

      Then, in 2018, exactly 40 years after the launch of the Santos in 1978, Cartier unveiled the new, current Santos de Cartier at SIHH.

      Cartier Santos de Cartier Latest Model List

      The 2018 collection includes:

      MM size (35.1mm x 41.9mm)

      LM size (39.8mm x 47.5mm)

      Two types were available: all stainless steel, 18K yellow or pink gold, and two-tone stainless steel and 18K yellow gold.

      There are no significant differences in the design of the two sizes, but the LM size has a date window at the 6 o'clock position, while the MM size does not.

      So let's see what's different from the previous model Galve.

      Differences in design between Santos Galbe and Santos de Cartier

      At first glance, there aren't many changes, but the shape of the bezel is different.

      As is the case with the new Francaise, Cartier is currently trying to create a smooth connection from the case to the strap, creating a design that is unified with the strap.

      The new Santos is also a pioneer in this field, with the bezel connected to the strap and a more stylish design compared to the previous model.

      The size has also increased from 32mm for XL in the previous model to 35mm for MM, so the base size has been further expanded.

      It may be similar to an evolution of the Santos 100.

      Later, a special edition of the new Santos will also be released.

      2018 Santos de Cartier special edition models

      2018 Santos de Cartier Skeleton Special Edition

      There are similar models that were in the lineup with the Santos 100, so I will not go into detail here, but the fact that these exist as current models is considered rare in Cartier's history.

      In particular, I think skeleton models will disappear from the official website quickly, so if you're considering purchasing one, I recommend you do so as soon as possible.

      In 2019, the year after the Santos main line was launched, Santos released another new chronograph.

      Cartier Santos de Cartier Chronograph Latest Model List

      The XL size is 43.3mm x 51.3mm and is 12mm thick.

      The Santos 100 chronograph was 41mm, so this is an additional 2mm larger.

      The major difference between the Santos 100-era chronographs is that the new model is equipped with an in-house Cal. 1904-CH MC automatic movement, the chronograph buttons are located on the left side of the case, and the reset button is integrated inside the crown.

      To start operation, press the button on the left once.

      Press a second time to stop.

      Press the crown to reset.

      It has become.

      This is thought to be an application of the monopoussoir technique, which is explained in another video.

      One of Cartier's basic principles is to eliminate unnecessary elements and create a smart design, so the design has been designed to avoid such buttons as much as possible.

      It is a rather unusual design for a chronograph and gives the case a symmetrical look.

      For more information on monopoussoir, please watch this video:

      2019: Santos-Dumont added to the lineup

      Alongside the Santos Chronograph, Cartier also launched the Santos-Dumont at SIHH 2019.

      There are two sizes available: the SM size has a case diameter of 27.5mm (38.5mm from lug to lug), the LM size has a case diameter of 31.4mm (43.5mm from lug to lug), and the XL size has a case diameter of 34mm (46.6mm from lug to lug).

      Dumont offers models in stainless steel, two-tone, and pink gold, all of which are fitted with leather straps.

      The overall design is a near-perfect reproduction of the original Santos, featuring elongated Roman numerals and a prominent crown without a guard.

      The Santos-Dumont is equipped with a quartz movement up to the LM size, while the XL size is equipped with the hand-wound Cal. 430 movement.

      Since we're talking about quartz here, let me explain. Cartier not only produces hand-wound and automatic models, but also has advanced quartz technology.

      Cartier claims the battery life is six years and it is equipped with a "high autonomy" quartz movement.

      Generally, we would imagine that a battery needs to be replaced every two to three years, but current Cartier watches don't need to have their batteries changed for six years.

      Santos-Dumont Limited Edition Watches 2020

      2020 Cartier Santos-Dumont Limited Edition Watch
      2020 Cartier Santos-Dumont limited edition watch case back

      In 2020, we launched three special edition models that pay tribute to the charm and impeccable style of the Santos-Dumont.

      As you can see on the case back, it features an engraving of the plane that Santos-Dumont is said to have flown on.

      These 2020 models were produced in limited quantities of 500, 300, and 100 pieces respectively, and all were equipped with the mechanical hand-wound movement, Cal. 430MC.

      Particularly rare is the model with a red ruby, of which only 100 were made, and which has a platinum case.


      Cartier reintroduced the Santos in 2018 and expanded the lineup in 2019, showing signs of trying to position the model as a second Tank.

      When you think of Cartier, you think of the Tank, so it may not yet have that universal appeal, but I think the Santos has gained more depth and is now strong enough to compete with other companies' standard models.

      While the Santos 100 has a modern design and an ETA movement inside the case, the Santos, released in 2018, is equipped with an in-house movement.

      It once again demonstrates Cartier's determination as a legitimate watchmaking house in the 21st century.

      The fact that a watch first released to the world in 1904 still looks beautiful nearly 100 years later is testament to Cartier's ability to create timeless designs.

      Cartier's philosophy has been passed down to the present day, and seeing how it is being assimilated and evolved gives me great hope for the future of Cartier's Santos.