At SIHH 2018 Cartier is positioning the Santos collection as one of their key highlights for 2018. That means the Parisian brand just released a refreshed version of one of the most famous square-cased watches of all time – born at a time when the wristwatch was an infant in the early 20th Century. The 2018 Santos collection features a lot of exciting new things for one of Cartier's most important watch collections – as well as a new reason to have interest in a genuine classic.
Cartier was pretty excited to share the various models in the new Santos collection with us. The Santos comes in a few styles, as well as two case sizes. There is the 35.1mm wide, 41.9mm lug-to-lug, and 8.83mm thick "Medium" Santos which Cartier mostly intends for women, and then the 39.8mm wide, 47.5mm lug-to-lug, and 9.08mm thick "Large" Santos which is what most men will prefer. Aside from the case size difference, another difference between the Medium and Large Santos cases is the existence of a date window on the dial. It is absent from the smaller model, and exists at the 6 o'clock position on the dial of the larger model.
The Santos wouldn't be the Santos without screws in the bezel and bracelet. This is an element Cartier didn't mess with, which is a good thing. Born during a time when metal building construction was becoming popular, it was a point of modern industrial pride to have exposed screws on many early 20th century items – including some watches such as the Cartier Santos.
The Santos bracelet has been totally re-engineered as well as reintroduced. Cartier actually hasn't offered a bracelet on the larger Santos case for a while now, making them available only on women's models for as long as five years now. Like the thinner case, the new bracelet is also thinner feeling, but retains the look of the classic with its single-piece horizontal links and screws. You will miss the buckle design and slightly more detailed finishing of the old bracelet, but the new systems in the 2018 Santos bracelet are undeniably cool.
What are those new systems? Cartier calls them QuickSwitch and SmartLink. No, these features aren't unique, but it is good to see them being deployed in a luxury watch. While Cartier didn't say it, I think it is safe to say that the new Santos bracelets are deeply inspired by the similar steel metal bracelet for the Apple Watch. QuickSwitch is a bracelet release system that allow you to easily push a button under the bracelet to release it from the lugs. Again, other watches feature this but it is done really well for the Santos and the fit to the case is very secure. QuickSwitch makes sense because Cartier envisions Santos owners changing strap colors as well as from straps to the bracelet on a regular basis. More so, when you purchase the Santos on a bracelet, Cartier includes a leather strap.
While skilled watch buyers can easily size their own bracelets, most consumers lack the skill, tools, or patience to size bracelets themselves. These consumers would have mostly relied on the staff in the store they purchased the watch from to size the bracelet for them in the past. Increasingly, Cartier is selling watches directly from its e-commerce store to the public. That means many people will not even have an opportunity to have someone size the bracelet for them. While your opinion of this situation can range, it is true that if you want a consumer who buys your watch to have maximum satisfaction in their purchase, you should give them a way to size (or resize) the bracelet all by themselves.
For 2018 the most exclusive versions of the Cartier Santos will be the skeletonized versions – which contain different, manually wound Cartier movements. This is the first time Cartier has offered that skeletonized movement in a steel case and we will focus on the Santos Skeleton watches in a different article. For these watches Cartier is offering them in all steel, two-tone steel and 18k yellow gold, all 18k yellow gold, and all 18k pink gold. All versions come with both a strap an a bracelet – aside from the pink gold model, which has a version that comes with two straps versus a strap and gold bracelet.
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Source & image source: ablogtowatch