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The first wristwatch from Cartier

April 28 2019

The history of the Cartier Santos is just as special as the watch itself. The brilliant watchmaker Louis Cartier – grandson to the founder of the Cartier company – developed the iconic Santos in 1904. The creation of the watch was inspired by the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont whose name is represented in both the Cartier Santos and the Cartier Santos Dumont.

Initially, Santos approached Cartier with the idea of an aviation watch since he had trouble easily accessing his pocket watch whilst flying and wanted to be able to quickly and effortlessly read the time. Introduced in 1904, the timepiece was considered revolutionary since it was secured to the wrist by a leather bracelet and worn on a daily basis. With the help of the Cartier timepiece, Alberto Santos-Dumont successfully achieved a personal flight record in the year 1906 with a height of 220-meters over the duration of 21 seconds.

Although Cartier had previously created wristwatches, they were predominantly ornate pieces of bracelets that were adorned on the wrists of ladies. The Cartier Santos, on the other hand, represented a milestone in the innovative potential of Cartier. It was the first wristwatch created for men that could be worn and utilized in everyday life. Beginning in 1911, Cartier wristwatches were manufactured with Jaeger movements and sold in Cartier boutiques around the globe. Today, the wristwatch remains one of the most famous models in the history of fine watchmaking.