This History-Making Cartier Timepiece Lets You Channel the Spirit of the Skies



A century-old classic Cartier timepiece is revitalized with a new form while retaining its history-making elegance

Here’s your fact of the day:

During the 1800’s, established gender roles at the time saw men as the wage earners of the family, serving the military and engaging in outdoor pursuits. This made the pocket watch their best friend–its robust form that braved the elements made it reliable in telling the time. Women, on the other hand, were primarily in charge of household duties and childcare, making the wristwatch more practical and efficient for their relatively safe indoor duties.

However, at the turn of the century in 1904, famous Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont was in search of a watch that would allow him to keep both hands on the controls while timing flights. He reached out to good friend Louis Cartier for an alternative, and thus the Santos-Dumont wristwatch was born. On November 12, 1906, Santos-Dumont became the first person to be filmed in an airplane in flight when he flew 220 meters in 21.5 seconds–wearing what may well be the first pilot’s wristwatch in history.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL watch
The Cartier Santos-Dumont XL watch in 18K pink gold, crown set with a Sapphire cabochon, and grey alligator leather strap

Now, over 100 years later, the Santos-Dumont watch reveals a completely reworked design and proportions in the Santos-Dumont XL. Its history, purity of its lines, and the beauty of its mechanical movement with manual winding make it a watch for connoisseurs.

With a contoured case, taut lines, and unadorned elegance, the iconic design of the Santos-Dumont watch is enhanced in an extra-large size. However, its focus on style and essential elements is retained–the striking blued sword-shaped hands and winding crown, the sunray satin-finished dial, steel ardillon buckle, and alligator leather strap.

In true vintage fashion, Cartier watchmakers chose the 430 MC mechanical movement with manual winding, appreciated for its finesse among connoisseurs and the nobility of the gesture it requires–tried, tested, reliable. Putting a stamp of historical permanence on the timepiece, Alberto Santos-Dumont’s signature S=D is engraved on the case back, with the distinctive “=” that he used to join his two last names.

The Cartier Santos-Dumont XL is a timepiece bearing undisputed prestige, reimagined for a new era of style and vintage flair. Shop the Santos-Dumont XL collection online. For updates on the latest events and collections from Cartier, visit their website.

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