Cartier Santos Octagon
In the early 20th Century, Louis Cartier introduced a bold geometric style at the company founded by his grandfather half a century earlier.
Cartier Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s jewellery workshop in 1847.
In the early 20th Century, Louis Cartier introduced a bold geometric style at the company founded by his grandfather half a century earlier. The Santos Octagon is the perfect example. The classic Cartier Santos was designed in 1904 by Louis Cartier for his friend, the Brazilian aviation pioneer, Alberto Santos-Dumont. The pocket watches that preceded it and many wrist watches that followed it were round with fluid details. The Santos, in contrast, had a strong and utilitarian aesthetic, with a square case and visible screws on the bezel. These design elements would be reintroduced almost 70 years later by Gerald Genta in the Royal Oak. In the 1990s, Cartier reimagined the Santos by replacing its square case with an octagonal one and a matching octagonal bezel, possibly as a nod to the Royal Oak. Most Santos Octagons were executed in two-tone, but this one is made from 18k yellow-gold. The eight-sided case has a width of 29 mm (excluding the crown) but due to the extending lugs and integrated bracelet, the watch wears larger, making it suitable for both women and men. The distinctive ‘screwed’ Santos bracelet with rectangular links wears like a beautiful piece of jewelry. We particularly love the deep engraved interlocking “C” Cartier logo on the clasp of the bracelet. The matching 18k yellow-gold octagonal bezel is factory-set with diamonds. The diamond detailing is continued on the crown, which features a diamond cabochon, and on the endlinks of the bracelet, which feature two stunning princess cut diamonds on each side. The dial is cut from ferrite, a ceramic material with a beautiful streaky black and grey texture. The dial lacks any unnecessary adornment, save for a simple “CARTIER” signature and small “paris” indication, giving the stone plenty of space to shine. The dial is complemented by gold sword-shaped hands.
Cartier Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s jewellery workshop in 1847. Over the years, his sons and grandsons inherited the family business and expanded the brand by opening shops in New York and London. King Edward VII of the United Kingdom granted Cartier a prestigious royal warrant in 1904, calling the brand “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers.” Such was the renown of Cartier, that royal warrants soon rolled in from all over the world (among which, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Siam, Spain, Portugal, and Russia). While Cartier is known primarily for its jewellery, it also has a storied history in watchmaking. Cartier’s first foray in watchmaking came in 1888, offering exclusively ladies models. In 1904, Louis Cartier gave his friend and Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont a watch to wear during his flights. Until then, wrist watches were worn exclusively by women and men opted for the traditional pocket watch. The ‘Santos-Dumont’ was not only the first wristwatch geared towards men but also the first pilot’s watch. Cartier Santos In 1904 Louis Cartier came up with a ground-breaking solution for his pilot friend Alberto Santos Dumont. Santos-Dumont complained that it was inconvenient to consult his pocket watch while flying. Louis Cartier came up with the innovative idea of attaching a watch to a bracelet. The new watch would not only become the first pilot’s watch, but the first men’s wristwatch! Until then, Cartier had focused on jewelry and women’s watches. Santos-Dumont’s celebrity status helped popularize Cartier’s innovative design among the male masses.