Editor’s note: The Santos de Cartier is the perfect dress watch for modern times. Adaptable, versatile and restrained — but with a clear personality. It’s also based on a watch that’s more than 100 years old. Which really is a testament to good design. Long live the Santos!
Few watches can rival Cartier’s Santos in terms of on-the-wrist recognition and sheer weight of history. The design debuted in 1904 and has remained fundamentally unchanged in form since. But while the new Santos might look familiar, quite a lot has changed. Small changes have been made to the design and ergonomics of the case, resulting in a watch that looks and wears better on the wrist. Bigger changes have been made to the inside, with an in-house movement upgrade and, most excitingly of all, a new QuickSwitch strap change system that allows you to swap your strap quickly and painlessly. This is something I’d be really excited to see rolled out more widely across the Cartier collection. On a related note, there’s a similar functionality for the bracelet, allowing you to add and remove links without tools. These changes on their own are all fairly incremental, but package them up together, on a design as strong as this, and the Santos suddenly becomes a very compelling proposition.