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Cartier Takes Flight with Skeletonized Santos-Dumont Watches

A visionary aviator inspires Cartier’s sophisticated watch.

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The engineering marvel of taking flight and the man who made it possible were the inspirational vision behind Cartier’s latest Santos-Dumont watch.

The sleek yet classical square design outfitted in yellow gold and navy lacquer is a tribute to Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aviator and acclaimed inventor of the early twentieth century who gained fame for designing over 22 flying machines and risking his life during experimental flights.

cartier-santos-dumont-3A feat of technical achievement, the new Santos-Dumont watch highlights a specially developed 9629 MC automatic skeleton calibre, which took the Cartier Manufacture nearly two years to develop.

Each structural detail of the movement honours the aviator’s legacy. Among these is a miniaturized oscillating weight made in the shape of a replica of the Demoiselle—a groundbreaking plane design created by Santos-Dumont in 1907. The weight appears to soar over a globe in a move that seems to defy gravity, akin to the planes themselves.

The style stays true to the original 1904 Santos-Dumont watch model while incorporating innovative touches: visible screws, a beaded crown, and a blue cabochon. Every detail, including the bezel and case, is lacquered, with the skeleton bridges hand-applied.

Like Santos-Dumont’s achievements, Cartier’s modern take on the watchmaking tradition highlights the evolution of creativity and technical prowess, and the value of challenging what is possible.

This story is from Magnifissance Issue 119

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