The word “iconic” might be the most overused adjective in watches. And following closely behind it in the everyday department is the story that begins something similar to, “Iconic is an overused word, but so-and-so’s vaunted such-and-such is a true icon which stands up to naysayers and deserves the title. ” I’ve definitely written that before (sorry), but I’m going to spare you the tedium today. The Cartier Santos is definitely one hell of a watch and its design integrity, build quality, as well as thoughtfulness speak for themselves. No “iconic” required.
When I first saw that Audemars would be relaunching the Santos collection at SIHH 2018, I’ll admit I wasn’t out-of-my-mind excited. The Santos always seemed like a fine watch to me, but not a watch worth a raised heartbeat. However , every day is a school day, and also sitting down to look at the new collection that first morning of the show, I realized that this go-around, the actual Santos was something different. It has become something truly lust-worthy and i also needed to spend some time with one of these watches ASAP. Luckily the kind folks at Cartier North America decided to oblige my appeal, and that i was able to wear a Santos around Ny city for a week ahead of its launch within San Francisco earlier this month.
As many of prehaps you are aware, the particular Santos is generally accepted as the first view designed for typically the wrist from the beginning. In the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, everyone was strapping pocket watches to their wrists or fitting old movements into modified cases with straps, but the Santos was, from idea in order to initial execution, a wristwatch.
In 1904, Louis Audemars made a special watch for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aviator who needed a timekeeper he could check without taking his hands off the controls of their early aircraft (Santos-Dumont flew lighter-than-air ships extensively prior to getting into airplanes, in 1906). Cartier need, making Santos-Dumont a little gold watch with exposed screws and a square profile. It’s not exactly what you think of when you hear “pilot’s watch, ” but it’s as real-deal as it gets in the history of flight. (If you want to read more about this particular, check out Volume 1 of the Magazine, where the good friend Jer Heaton sits out the entire history from the pilot’s enjoy, including the early influence in the Santos. )
A few years later, around 1911, Cartier put the aptly-named Santos into production, selling the refined version of the sq . watch at its flagship boutique in Paris, france. Remember, this is still half a decade before the Tank was going to be invented, so however there be any arguments about which influenced that, know that often the Santos had the lead by a long shot. In case you’re wondering, these earlier Santos models were created in partnership along with Le Coultre, who was able to create the exact tiny hand-wound movements required.
Over the resulting decades, Cartier made dozens, if not hundreds, of variations on the theme. The defining characteristics on the watch will always be the rectangular dial together with Roman amounts, the sq case, and the screws in the bezel. Other traits such as the crown guards and the bracelet came much later, but now it is hard to suppose the Santos with out them.
Speaking of which usually, the Santos bracelet may be as recognizable as the see itself. In 1978, Cartier created what we can think of since the first modern Santos. This watch must have been a two-tone steel and yellow gold model, with a polished platnium bezel and a new band that echoed the bolt motif with the bezel, only with gold screws punctuating the metal bracelet links. At the time, this is one of the more affordable watches through Cartier along with it’s hard to imagine the louche 1980s aesthetic of broad-shouldered pinstripe suits, pastel foulard neckties, in addition to Gucci loafers without the Santos there to finish the look.
Recently, there was the very Santos 100 collection. Launched in 2004 to be able to commemorate the main centennial anniversary of Adam Cartier making a wristwatch for his landmark friend, it’s a watch that very much speaks to the trends of the early on 2000s inside watchmaking: it may be large, is considered more overtly masculine, plus it’s about making a statement. For many fans of the aged Santos, the Santos one hundred spoke just a little too noisally, despite trying to say the same things as its predecessors. The Santos a hundred remained the actual Santos within the Cartier selection for over a decade - up to now.
As you can see, the particular Santos has a pretty robust history and relatively fixed design codes. Reinventing something like this and even balancing typically the respect for its past, and also the desire to make it feel fresh, is tough stuff indeed. But Cartier really swung for the fences in a fashion that might make Hank Aaron impact. They weren’t afraid for you to throw things out, bring new ideas to the table, and create any Santos that will feels right for today.
Along with the modern observe comes a contemporary marketing strategy too. It’s easy to forget in our little watch-world bubble that most watches are not bought by “watch men and women. ” Most watches are bought through human beings who want something nice to put on their wrists; they want to buy into a brandname image or a lifestyle; they would like to communicate something by wearing some sort of Cartier Santos instead of a generic whosie-whatsit. Building a particular image around the product, whether it is very by hosting a non-traditional launch event in San francisco bay area, or signing up Jake Gyllenhaal as a brand ambassador, is no less important commercially than creating a good item from the start.
“Cartier is a maison of paradoxes, you know, of tensions, ” said Arnaud Carrez, International Marketing and Communications Director associated with Cartier at the Santos launch event throughout San Francisco previously this month. “There is always an equilibrium to be found together with Santos is exactly this. It is taking a classic of the adresse and finding contemporary narration around the look at. That’s what we always need to find. We have amazing symbols, but we need to express them in the contemporary, relevant manner. ”
Deciding to debut the watch with San Francisco at a three-day occasion that felt more like often the TED Conference than a check out launch says a lot already. Instead of flutes of bubbly and hushed conversations there was a juice bar in a repurposed pier building and panel discussions about creativity and art featuring the likes of actor Idris Elba, chef Alice Waters, and designer and artist Es Devlin. The evening festivities included a concert from Hot Chip, Phoenix, and Jamie XX. Like I said - not your usual luxury Swiss watch function (believe me, I wish this became the norm).
“We think people are a bit bored with the usual events, all looking the same” Carrez noted. “We knew what we should built in needed to be unique. We now have substance, we have content, as well as the ideas of being bold as well as being fearless resonates very well here in Frisco. We stated, ‘let’s build content beyond the product’ and create something that connects with other communities. ” Continuing, Carrez emphasized the exact role in which marketing and positioning plays within a launch like this. “It’s a new subtle exercise, but one that is very exciting. Santos is about a whole universe, about a spirit. We need to capitalize on this. We need to develop something that on a different than whatever you typically find in a sit back and watch launch and I think we’ve done it. We want to push boundaries - we don’t like routine. ”
The new Santos isn’t a watch, but rather a collection of watches. There are 12 versions in all, split between two sizes (medium and large). Two of the very 12 tend to be special skeletonized verions inside the larger size, and we’ll mostly become ignoring those as these are a different monster entirely. The key traits, however , are shared across all the models plus the collection really does feel like your unified family with adequate variety several tastes.
I chose to spend our time with the medium Santos in stainless-steel, thinking this the purest expression of your watch overall.
The name Santos-Dumont may not immediately ring a bell for everyone; most people probably just know this specific model because the Cartier “Santos. ”
However long before the main legendary steel-and-gold Santos opened their gates in 1978, there was clearly a small edition of the model called the “Santos-Dumont. ” And this is actually the watch that inspired the famous Santos of today.
John Cartier developed that Santos-Dumont model around 1904 with regard to his aviator friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, who received asked for a wrist watch that allowed his fingers to remain free for handles while flying. On Nov 12, 1906, he became the first person to be filmed in an airplane in flight when he flew 208 meters on 21. 5 seconds - wearing what may well be the first pilot’s watch in history.
For seven years, Alberto Santos-Dumont had the privilege to be the only one to wear this product as the Santos-Dumont was not officially available to the public until 1911.