It could come as a little bit of a shock, however I usually evaluate Rolex and Cartier as a consequence of a powerful commonality. Sure, they’re very completely different manufacturers with very completely different merchandise. However a component I imagine they do share is a really key level. Watch fanatics usually level out that Rolex practises incremental updates. The Oyster Perpetual framework is so timeless and revered there isn’t a want to repair what is just not damaged. Cartier, at its core, shares this apply. The model has all the time had an innate eye for good-looking, timeless, traditional, but forward-thinking design. And subsequently a lot of their catalogue, held towards references from a century in the past, shares a lot of the identical design albeit incorporating small shifts in millimetres, trendy calibres, and trendy supplies and manufacturing. However, like Rolex, there are moments the place Cartier has enjoyable and pushes their very own boundaries. Typically Cartier is regarded as a model that makes merely good trying watches, their watchmaking prowess neglected and underappreciated. With earlier highlights just like the Masse Mystérieuse and now this Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor, the Maison makes it abundantly clear they’re totally able to making watches which might be each extremely enticing and extremely technical.
In the case of Cartier instances, one factor I actually respect concerning the model is their perspective on sizing. The diameters of their watches all through their catalogue have a really big selection, however inside traces just like the Santos Dumont they stand in defiance of contemporary views with what they label small, medium, and huge. They keep true to a traditional sense, inside the Santos Dumont lineup 27.5mm (D) x 38mm (L2L) labelled small, 31.4mm (D) x 43.5mm (L2L) labelled as giant, and 33.9mm (D) x 46.6mm (L2L) labelled as extra-large. From immediately’s viewpoint, most males would think about 34mm or much less quite tiny in diameter and smaller-wristed males like myself discover ourselves grateful when different producers measurement down their lug-to-lug measurements under 47mm.
The Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor finds itself within the “giant” measurement with a 31.4mm diameter, 8mm thickness, and 43.5mm lug-to-lug measurement. The smaller stature, at the least by immediately’s requirements, affords a heightened magnificence and presence – it doesn’t require a giant kind to have a huge impact. With their designs being so recognisable, I’ve all the time felt that when their watches such because the Santos de Cartier, Tank, and even the Santos Dumont attain their “extra-large” measurement one thing feels misplaced. It’s not presupposed to look domineering on the wrist. When it comes to the way it wears, I really feel it wears like a Datejust 36 by way of wrist-presence. Its end is basically comprised of satin brushing on its high and case sides, with mirror-polished Bs (bezel and bevelling) so as to add accents of heightened sophistication. Now, the location of the bezel screws is just not merely an aesthetic selection. It’s a practical placement as properly. With the skeleton dial, legibility can doubtlessly be compromised. And, if you’re like me, I’m very anal about hand alignment and guaranteeing once I set the time, the hours and minutes fingers completely line up with indexes. As I discussed in my introduction of this assortment: “The bezel screws are located in a fashion that they do, in reality, additionally point out the place you would wish to align your hour hand for 1′, 2′, 4′, 5′, 7′, 8′, 10′, and 11′. Very intelligent.”
Whereas there isn’t a outer minutes observe on the watch, the place the skeletonised bridges prolong out to the dial, in addition they assist point out factors that function hour indexes – with lacquer-filled squares at 12′, 3′, 6′, and 9′. So, with a reference clock, should you wait until any given fifth minute of an hour, you’ll be able to completely set your watch in sync. Talking of lacquer, the traces are fairly high-quality, however all through the straight-lined bridges you’ll discover sunken channels which might be full of a darkish navy blue-grey lacquer. Throughout all bridges, nevertheless, you will note wealthy satiation to their topside and high-quality chamfers executed at their edges. Tilting and turning the watch to varied angles, the ending actually comes alive because the wealthy brushing and bevelling every have interaction with gentle. The dial/motion is definitely hanging all through, essentially the most eye-catching factor is, maybe, the big micro-rotor on the 7’/8′ place of Dumont’s Demoiselle. Take note, the genesis of this watch is sporty being one of many first, if not the first, pilot’s wristwatches – designed for its namesake, the famed pilot Albert Santos Dumont.
When discussing the case earlier, one factor I withheld till this explicit part is the delicate camber of the case. The Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor, like all Santos Dumont watches, does a terrific job of hugging and wrapping across the wrist. However, I can not attribute this excellent really feel in match solely to the case. Additionally it is massively partly as a result of strap. The stainless steel mannequin we’re largely specializing in, like the opposite two inside the assortment, comes with two straps. For the metal mannequin, you obtain each gray and blue alligator leather-based straps that pair properly with the tones of the case and dial. They’re additionally every quick-change straps, with underside tabs that may be pulled merely together with your thumb to take away and swap with ease at your leisure. And right here is the place the tangent comes again full circle. The short change portion of the strap on the underside is framed with a padded materials that influences the flexibility of the strap to flex down. Whereas the concept that the strap can not flex straight down usually provides me nervousness, right here the restrict of the angle at which the strap can flex down is ideal by my commonplace and helps the match of the strap to the case – providing a way of built-in design. Successfully, the strap continues the delicate camber of the case, solely bending downwards when you prolong previous the case. This finally creates the wrist-hugging impact I personally discover very nice.
As a real skeleton watch, the parts have nowhere to cover – the whole lot from the gear works to the stability wheel are on totally show. So, whereas a two-hander, the watch all the time feels alive with transferring parts in view. The Cartier computerized skeleton 9629 MC calibre took two years to develop, a transparent problem being the necessity to maintain the calibre skinny sufficient to take care of the watch’s slimline look and replicating Dumont’s Demoiselle in the correct method that it will possibly greatest perform as an environment friendly micro-rotor to wind the watch. Its 44 hours of energy reserve is definitely not breaking any data, however, contemplating it’s an computerized, its run time can all the time be extended if worn or at the least positioned on a winder.
The restricted version
Whereas I want the chrome steel mannequin, and even the rose-gold mannequin, had obtained the lacquered case therapy, sadly for patrons it’s strictly restricted to the 150-piece restricted version in yellow gold. As an proprietor of the 2022 Watches & Wonders Santos Dumont novelty with beige lacquer over its rose gold case, I’m definitely biased in my fondness for the lacquered instances. It’s simply one thing you don’t actually see different manufacturers do, and the way by which Cartier does it simply reveals their mastery in aesthetics and design. One thing I didn’t know, nevertheless, till I visited the manufacture after the 2023 version of Watches & Wonders is the actual fact the lacquering, each on the case and within the actions (for all three fashions), is definitely carried out by their artisans/watchmakers inside their esteemed Métiers d’ Artwork facility. Subsequently, they must be strategic and cautious about what they place inside the queue of this small group of extremely proficient artisans who’re preserving strategies and traditions susceptible to changing into extinct alive. Understandably, the lacquering additionally provides value to the ultimate retail worth. So, maybe it’s best Cartier left the metal mannequin un-lacquered.
Skeleton watches can really feel overly technical in look at instances and, because of this, solely converse to the gearhead base of collectors. The Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor, nevertheless, excels by not sacrificing any of the Cartier-class whereas delving into this extra technical look. It nonetheless could be very a lot a Cartier watch in appear and feel – nearly just like the designers of immediately collaborated with the unique designers of the Santos Dumont. It’s a fantastic tribute to Albert Santos Dumont and the historical past of the gathering, together with being a testomony of the know-how of Cartier immediately. To be each custodians of the previous, whereas additionally being contemporary and modern, is a really troublesome factor. So energy to Cartier for being the gold-standard of this tough balancing act.
Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor pricing and availability:
The Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor assortment is now out there for inquiries. Value: €27,900 (chrome steel), Upon Request (treasured steel)
|Mannequin||Santos-Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor|
|Case Dimensions||31.4mm (D) x 8mm (T) x 43.5mm (L2L)|
|Case Materials||Stainless-steel, rose gold, or navy-lacquered yellow gold|
|Dial||Skeleton, with case-tone matching and lacquered bridges|
|Crystal||Sapphire crystal and caseback|
|Bracelet/Strap||Alligator-skin leather-based strap with case matching ardillon buckle
Stainless-steel: Gray and blue leather-based straps
Rose gold: Burgundy and brown leather-based straps
Yellow gold: Blue and darkish blue leather-based straps
|Motion||Cartier computerized skeleton 9629 MC|
|Energy Reserve||44 hours|
|Availability||Accessible now for inquires, navy-lacquered yellow gold mannequin restricted to 150 pcs.|
|Value||€27,900 (chrome steel), Upon Request (treasured steel)|