Well known for their timeless designs, Cartier announces their 2020 lineup for the Santos-Dumont XL watch collection. This adds three new pieces to the Cartier inventory, all with a Piaget-derived hand-wound movement, economical prices, and also a steel variant.
The Cartier Santos name, with its century long pedigree, is more often remembered for its late-2000s-early-2010s version, the Santos XL series. These older models were characteristically known for their bulky and chunky appearance. The newer Santos-Dumont XL line, however, breaks the stigma attached to the Santos name by steering more towards being smaller in dimensions and refined in proportions.
How did Cartier refine the design?
With a case size of 46.6mm X 33.9mm and a thickness of 7.5 mm, the Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Hand-Wind watch line for 2020 comes in 3 variants: 18k pink gold, two-tone with 18k pink gold and steel, and an all-steel variant. The beating heart of the watch is a Cartier 430MC caliber movement, with an impressively thin profile, measuring a mere 2.15mm thick.
The use of this thinner movement significantly contributes to the slimmer, less-bulky profile of the watch. A thinner caliber comes with its own drawbacks though. The 430MC has a smaller 38-hour power reserve and needs to be matched by a slower 21,600bph operating frequency. The drawbacks of the thinner movement, however, are more than made up for by the absolute beauty of the watches.
Beauty without Brains?
We usually expect hand-wound watch designs, to celebrate, or rather show off the fact that they are hand-wound watches. This usually means a distinctive multi push crown, or subdials, or even a sapphire crystal window at the caseback to show off the movement. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the Santos-Dumont XL line. Their beauty seems to be derived only from external appearances, leaving to imagination the beauty of what may lie inside.
Although the final pricing on the watch line is yet to be confirm we have rough estimates to go on for now. The steel variant would retail around $5100, the two-tone for $7100, and the 18k solid pink gold for $13,700. All-in-all, this new collection is definitely a step in the right direction with respect to a less-bulky design. It would definitely go down well though, if Cartier chose to incorporate showing off the watch’s movements a little more the next time.