Cartier Santos watches”
Our Most Popular Models
Cartier Santos 100
Cartier Santos Dumont
Cartier Santos Demoiselle
Cartier Santos Diamond
Cartier Santos Skeleton
Cartier Santos Galbée
Cartier Santos: A Pioneer in the Air
The Cartier Santos, the world's first true pilot's watch, has over 100 years of history to look back on. With a square case, Roman numerals, and precious materials like 18-karat gold, this luxury watch is unmistakable.
A Square Icon
The Santos collection is by far the oldest line of watches still produced by French luxury jewelry and watch manufacturer Cartier. Louis Cartier designed the first Santos in 1904 at the request of Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont. The result was like nothing else offered at the time. Its square case helped set it apart from the era's conventional round pocket watches. It also featured integrated lugs, which enabled it to sit comfortably on the wrist using a strap or bracelet. And so the Santos would go down in history as the first real men's wristwatch.
Modern Santos cases still retain the original's square shape. The dial design with its sloping Roman numerals and railroad minute track also remains largely unchanged to this day. Finally, there's the bezel, which has been held in place by eight decorative screws for well over a century.
Of the current models, the Santos-Dumont bears the strongest resemblance to the 1904 original. The Santos de Cartier, on the other hand, has its roots in the Santos Sport from the late 1970s and the Santos 100 from 2004. These watches look much sportier than the original Santos thanks to their crown guards and softer lines.
While the Santos' design has changed very little over the years, that's not the case for its materials and movements. In addition to different types of gold, you will find Santos watches in stainless steel, titanium, and ceramic, as well as in various two-tone editions. Cartier offers models in men's and women's sizes. The Santos is traditionally a two or three-hand watch; however, today there are plenty of Santos timepieces with a chronograph function, moon phase display, or tourbillon. You can also choose from versions with quartz or mechanical calibers, including an increasing number of in-house movements.
5 Reasons to Buy a Cartier Santos
- The world's first pilot's wristwatch
- Part of Cartier's catalog since 1904
- Iconic square case
- Men's and women's models
- Available with skeletonized dials and in-house calibers
Price Overview: Cartier Santos
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, movement|
|Santos de Cartier Skeleton, WHSA0010||52,500 USD||Rose gold; manual, skeletonized|
|Santos-Dumont, WH100651||43,500 USD||White gold, diamonds; manual|
|Santos-Dumont XL, WGSA0050||33,000 USD||Platinum, manual|
|Santos de Cartier, WGSA0030||30,000 USD||Yellow gold, automatic|
|Santos de Cartier, WJSA0012||23,000 USD||Rose gold, diamonds; automatic|
|Santos de Cartier Chronograph, WGSA0017||21,000 USD||Rose gold, automatic|
|Santos 100 XL Chronograph, W20090X8||14,000 USD||Stainless steel, diamonds; automatic|
|Santos de Cartier, WSSA0039||8,500 USD||Stainless steel, DLC coating; automatic|
|Santos de Cartier, WSSA0029||7,000 USD||Stainless steel, automatic|
|Santos-Dumont, W2SA0012||5,600 USD||Two-tone, quartz|
|Santos Galbée, 187901||3,500 USD||Two-tone, quartz|
How much does the Cartier Santos cost?
Premium models like the Santos 100 XL Tourbillon with a white gold case, diamonds, and flying tourbillon can cost upward of 200,000 USD, but there are models on the secondary market for around the 2,000 USD mark. Most of these watches come from the Santos Galbée series, which debuted in 1987 and was in production for around 20 years. There are also plenty of two-tone watches with quartz movements.
Current models like the stainless steel Santos-Dumont and Santos de Cartier demand between 3,700 and 7,000 USD, depending on their size. Their gold counterparts sell for anywhere from 9,000 to 20,000 USD. The upper end of that price bracket is home to the Santos-Dumont "La Baladeuse," of which only 300 copies exist. If you're interested in a skeletonized model, be sure to have between 27,000 and 55,000 USD on hand.
Santos de Cartier: A Modern Classic
Cartier released a new version of the Santos de Cartier in 2018. Its relaxed take on the usually angular bezel took the watch industry by surprise. The edges curve and transition seamlessly into the bracelet. These changes are especially prominent on two-tone models like the ref. W2SA0009, which changes hands for just over 11,000 USD new. The same watch in solid rose gold and in mint condition requires an investment of around 35,000 USD, while the stainless steel variant costs significantly less at 7,800 USD.
Santos de Cartier Chronograph
The Santos collection also contains a few chronographs. These "XL" watches measure 43.3 mm across and get their power from the in-house caliber 1904 CH MC. This movement has a minute and hour counter at 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively, as well as a date display and small seconds at 6. A push-piece at 9 o'clock operates the chronograph function. A simple press of the crown resets the chronograph to its starting position.
Like the three-hand models, the Santos de Cartier Chronograph is available in gold, stainless steel, or as a two-tone watch. One particularly interesting-looking example is the ref. WSSA0017. This stainless steel timepiece features a black DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating on its bezel and bracelet, lending the model a decidedly sporty appearance. You can call this watch your own for about 9,500 USD new and 7,300 USD pre-owned. If you'd prefer a two-tone model with a gold bezel or the 18-karat rose gold edition, you should expect to pay between 14,000 and 21,000 USD for a copy in excellent condition.
Skeletonized Santos Models
Some of the collection's other top models belong to the Santos de Cartier Skeleton series. As the name implies, these watches boast intricate skeletonization. Cartier crafts these timepieces without dials and instead shapes the manual 9612 MC movement's bridges so that they form the Roman numerals 3, 6, 9, and 12. The overall design is extremely modern. This is especially true of the ref. WHSA0009, a stainless steel model with a matte black DLC-coated case. This watch can be yours for 27,000 USD in mint condition or 20,500 USD pre-owned. There are also gold and two-tone versions available, which run between 27,000 and 55,000 USD.
Santos-Dumont: Back to the Roots
Those looking for a faithful re-creation of the first Santos from 1904 should turn to the Santos-Dumont series. These modern timepieces share the original's square case, prominent bezel with eight exposed screws, and beaded crown with a blue cabochon. The dials are also classic, though the railroad minute track has shifted from the center of the dial to the outer edge.
Precise quartz calibers power the women's and unisex models. In 2020, Cartier launched the Santos-Dumont XL with the in-house manual caliber 430 MC. This watch is available in stainless steel, gold, or with a two-tone design and costs between 6,000 and 15,000 USD, depending on the material.
New Santos-Dumont Models in 2021 & 2022
In 2021, at the annual trade show Watches & Wonders, Cartier unveiled two limited editions of the Santos-Dumont. On both models, the signature Roman numerals were swapped out for Arabic numerals. You'll find the manual caliber 430 MC ticking away inside these new releases.
The ref. W2SA0025 is a two-tone reference combining a stainless steel case with a rose gold dial and bezel. The case back features an engraving of Albert Santos-Dumont's "N°19" aircraft. This special edition is limited to just 500 copies, and can be found on Chrono24 for around 12,000 USD. Cartier's official list price is 8,350 USD.
The case of the ref. WGSA0050 is crafted from 950 platinum and features a blue dial. Cartier only produced 100 copies of this timepiece, which is listed on Chrono24 for around 33,000 USD.
Three more editions of the Santos-Dumont were launched in 2022. You can choose between color and material combinations like platinum with a burgundy lacquer, gold with a beige lacquer, and stainless steel coated in a black lacquer. The precious metal versions are strictly limited: Only 150 examples of the platinum watch exist, while the gold version was limited to a run of just 250 copies. The stainless steel model is in normal series production. The cases measure 53.5 × 31.4 mm and house the manual caliber 430 MC.
At the time of writing in March 2023, there were no listings for these models on Chrono24. Cartier, however, demands 6,000 USD for the stainless steel edition and 14,100 USD for the gold version. The platinum timepiece has the heftiest price tag at 18,800 USD.
Larger Dimensions: The Santos 100
Cartier introduced the Santos 100 series in 2004 in honor of the Santos' 100th anniversary. The Parisian company ceased production of this model in 2018. Unlike the small and delicate original from 1904, the Santos 100 keeps up with modern trends. Its case is much larger and has a more masculine look. Measuring 42 × 51 mm, it's well suited for larger wrists, and the crown guard only boosts its stately stature. However, it still maintains some details from the original Santos, including a square stainless steel case with rounded edges, a bezel with exposed screws, and Roman numeral hour markers. Most models get their power from a modified ETA 2892 movement.
The Santos 100 is available in stainless steel, two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold, and black-coated titanium. The Santos 100 Carbon ref. WSSA0006, the black model, comes with a calfskin leather strap and has the sportiest look; its red second hand creates a stark contrast with the otherwise black watch. This particular watch demands 5,000 USD in mint condition. Be sure to set aside around 7,500 USD for a well-maintained stainless steel XL edition (ref. 2656). You'll find two-tone and 18-karat gold models on sale for between 7,700 and 11,000 USD.
This series is also home to a line of chronographs. One such timepiece is the Santos 100 Chronograph ref. W2020004. Its case is made of black-coated titanium and contrasts beautifully with the rose gold bezel, hands, and pushers. The automatic caliber 8630 MC ticks away inside the case. The movement is a modified ETA 7753. Prices for this elegant timekeeper sit around 9,600 USD.
Santos Demoiselle: Designed for Women
The Cartier Santos-Dumont and Santos 100 collections also offer plenty of women's watches. Cartier markets the Santos Demoiselle as a series of women's watches. These timepieces have smaller cases measuring 24 × 18.7 mm or 28.25 × 21.65 mm and are perfect for slimmer wrists.
New stainless steel models start around 3,400 USD, while pre-owned pieces sell for as little as 1,900 USD. More decorative versions with diamonds or gold cases can cost about 16,000 USD.
The History of the Cartier Santos
Aviation was still completely new in the early 20th century. Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont was especially influential in France due to his experiments with motorized flight. In 1904, Santos-Dumont went to his friend, Louis Cartier, and asked him to create a watch he could use in flight without taking his hands off the controls. Cartier immediately went to work and soon presented the aviation pioneer with the Santos – the world's first real men's wristwatch.
In 1906, Santos-Dumont completed the first public flight with a motorized plane. During the flight, which set many world records, Santos-Dumont wore a unique square wristwatch. Demand for the watch quickly increased, leading Cartier to begin series production of the Santos in 1911.