To some defree, the French watch brand Cartier is thought to be more as a fine jewelry producer than as a watchmaker. However, the brand has a long history as a creator of fine timepieces coupled with a unique style which makes it hard to ignore…
The original Cartier Santos was designed and created by Louis Cartier himself in 1904 for his friend and pioneer, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The Santos has been a major piece in the Cartier collection for a long time and in 2004 Cartier released their Santos 100 line which included larger Santos models.
The replica Santos line has many variations, however, they are all styled like the original. This includes a square case that is slightly curved on both sides which makes it fit effortlessly on the wrist. The dial has the signature Cartier Roman numerals, including the incorrect IIII at four o’clock – this allows the markers on the right to better symmetrically match the ones on the left.
The replica Santos 100 reference W2020009 (size large) case is in rose-gold and amorphous diamond-like carbon and offers the vintage design with rose-gold inserted markers on a black dial. The rose-gold sword-shaped hours and minutes hands join a hair-thin, rose-gold seconds hand for an elegant look. The hours and minutes hands include a small layer of SuperLumiNova coating which makes the watch readable in dark once light charged.
The simple yet stylish square dial design is matched with a protected heptagonal crown in rose-gold with a faceted black sapphire gem cabochon. Turning the crown clockwise winds the watch and when pulled allows the hours and minutes hands to change with a hacking seconds feature, thereby allowing the time to be precisely set. These are all basic features of the base Swiss ETA movement.
One of my favorite parts of this watch is the strap. The Cartier “toile de voile” strap is made of a thick black nylon with a leather doubling interior. While the complete watch stands at just under 140 grams, Cartier’s choice of a nylon strap results in a very comfortable and easy to wear timepiece.
The strap can easily be adjusted by pulling the extra nylon strap and folding it on the inside of the formed bracelet. After adjusting it a couple of times, I wore it once for a long trip, and I hardly remember it was on my wrist the whole day.