By Jovan Krstevski

Cartier reveals an updated Santos de Cartier Collection for SIHH 2018. A new tapered, shapely bezel extending to the lugs replaces the square bezel. The result is an elongated style without disturbing the square dial. Besides the “game changer” is what Cartier calls “QuickSwitch” and “SmartLink” bracelet systems for said watches.

The Collection is a partnership between Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aeronautical engineer. In the know, Louis Cartier holds the record for being the first to build the world’s first ever pilot’s watch by adding a thin leather strap with a small buckle to the “First purpose-driven wristwatch” in 1904.km

The updated collection features a variety of models: a full steel set, a two-tone steel and gold, a full gold, and a pink gold set. The case also measures at 39.8mm. The new tapered corners break the square bezel but these also help the case slide under a cuff nicely. The 8 screws are on it too. The tapered edge is also intended to give the watches more sex-appeal, less sharp lines, and a nicely framed dial.

There are 2 dial models to the Santos de Cartier: the traditional and skeletonized. The traditional features slightly refined white dial with Roman numeral indices and a date at 6 o’clock. These models are powered by in-house 1847 calibre. The skeletonized model, on the other hand, are powered by Cartier’s 9611-MC calibre that “floats” inside an oversized Roman numeral frame. This is also very classic as it features the brand’s design DNA. It has a screw-down crown with water resistance rating of 100m.

The strap and bracelet options are the real deal with this updated collection since the “QuickSwitch” and “SmartLink” techs are indeed superior than what we commonly experience today. Cartier designed the straps in the principle of ergonomics and flexibility. They can fit to any situation quickly and nicely. For this reason, a buyer gets to choose between a bracelet matching the case material and a leather strap upon purchase.

Moreover, the “QuickSwitch” mechanism is not entirely new but barely applied correctly. Cartier uses a small rectangular button that requires a single press wherein it releases the watch band from the case with ease – that’s the definition of ergonomics.

The “SmartLink Self-Fitting” also allows the wearer to adjust the size of the bracelet without any tools. Each link can be released with ease by the same button pressing technique. Now, what are the screws for?

Finally, the refresh of the Santos de Cartier Collection pretty much are just contemporary adjustments to a dated watch design, needed actually since the collection feels quite old. The new strap options are nice and balances the brand’s fine watchmaking on the grounds of fashion and functionality. Our only gripe are the useless screws on the bracelet but they’re classic so it feels good having them. The leather straps also add sportiness particularly on the skeletonized models in steel. Prices will be revealed upon availability. cartier.com