WOTW: Cartier Santos de Cartier XL Chronograph Watch

WOTW: Cartier Santos de Cartier XL Chronograph Watch

Have you ever wondered what prompted Cartier to make the popular Santos watch? In 1904, a request was made by a Brazilian aviator, Alberto Santos Dumont, who highlighted the need for a wristwatch that could communicate precision time from a legible dial whilst taking to the skies. The Santos de Cartier not only answered this need, but the watch, with its beautifully curved angles and perfectly rounded horns, sealed a lasting friendship between the two pioneers. Many of the Santos’ characteristics still dominate a modern watch from the iconic collection today.

Now, the Santos de Cartier watch with its distinct screws bolted to the surface of the bezel, has become a desired look for many a watch collector. These timepieces are the perfect example of 21st century watchmaking technology, since they are powered by an in-house engine, secured inside a robust housing made from respectable materials. The extra large Santos De Cartier chronograph gold model combines a luxury finish with state of the art timekeeping technology. Its rugged bezel with softly curved corners grabs attention with its 18ct yellow gold tones. The watch remains faithful to the classic Cartier Santos look – the seven sided crown with faceted blue synthetic spinel adorned to its tip and recognisable sword-shaped hands being just a couple of examples in particular. The silver dial is the perfect canvas for presenting the time via a set of crisp black traditional numeral hour indexes and luminescent finishes on the hands. It seems Cartier have thought of everything in a practical sense when creating this timepiece. Even the chronograph dials are beautifully proportioned in comparison to the rest of the dial and the accompanying date aperture nestled inside the 6 o’clock sub-dial.

Cartier's SmartLink adjustment system enables a quick changeover from a stainless steel bracelet with 18ct yellow gold screws, to a sportier black rubber strap without the need for any strap adjustment tools. Little did Louis Cartier realise when he commissioned the Santos de Cartier watch it would become one of the most iconic looks within the luxury wristwatch industry, but there are many reasons to appreciate how it got there.

Whilst Cartier have endeavoured to remain respectful to the Santos' sleek contours and symmetrical dial, the redesigned timepiece features chronograph push pieces in a slightly different location compared to the usual. Instead of the push-pieces located on the right side of the case, a discreet rectangular pusher is instead positioned on the left of the case. Conveying an immediate sense of luxury, the Santos de Cartier chronograph watch features integrated lugs which allow the bracelet to flow from the case and into the wrist with effortlessness. The chronograph dials are snailed and slightly recessed – donating another hidden level to Cartier’s watchmaking expertise, and a sense of depth and dimension to the dial.

Behind a closed caseback, the Cartier Calibre 1904 CH MC has been modified for this new model. No matter how hard or soft you operate the push-piece, the hammer mechanism – a technical innovation implemented by Cartier's movement supervisor, Carole Forestier – will ensure the chronograph is reset with just the right amount of pressure.

To sum up, the Cartier Santos de Cartier Chronograph watch blends luxurious yellow gold finishes with a practical and comfortable design that is sure to accompany the wrist whilst attending important business meetings, work events, celebratory occasions or a relaxed social outing. A quick change from the bracelet to the rubber strap however, will dress the wrist with a sporty yet elegant tool for completing gym sessions or a morning jog.

Find out more about the Cartier Santos XL Chronograph.

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