Cartier Santos ‘Godron’

As the story goes, in 1904, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont complained to friend Louis Cartier about the unreliability and impracticality of using a pocket watch while flying. Cartier designed a flat wristwatch with a square bezel and gave it to Cartier, and the watch eventually caught on with other customers. Thus, the first mass-produced men’s wristwatch was born. Santos-Dumont became the first person to be filmed in an airplane flight in November 1906 when he took flight for 21.5 seconds, with a Cartier watch on his wrist.

The Santos’ case was seemingly inspired by a square pocket watch Cartier had produced, but the highly legible dial design telegraphs a shift to Art Deco style that would define the 1920s and 1930s, and continues to define Cartier’s design aesthetic to this day. In 1978, Cartier redesigned and renamed it the Santos de Cartier, giving the watch an integrated bracelet instead of the traditional leather strap. Cartier made the case and bracelet out of stainless steel, a true change in course for the maison that had only worked with precious metals before this time. In 1987, the Santos was completely revised, renamed, and relaunched as the Santos Galbée – the case lost its boxy looks and became more curved around the lugs, fitting better on the wrist than the original Santos.

Fun fact: The case was conceived to be robust and the screws that secured the glass were intended to recall the legs of the Eiffel tower. Similarly, the blackened Roman numerals suggest the radial layout of Paris’ streets and wide boulevards. As always, this Santos was fully serviced by our watchmaker and will be sold with our 24 month warranty.

reference: 2960
case number: 06XXX
year of production: ca. early 1980’s
case diameter: 29mm x 41mm
movement: Cartier signed, automatic movement.
box and papers: no