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Introducing the Cartier Santos Chronograph

From two to one
by Chester Lau on May 18, 2019
Reviews

Santos de Cartier Chronograph

The Cartier Santos sees a major design upgrade with its newly cased line. Notably, the profile of the case, bezel and thickness have become more streamlined. The new case also features a quick release strap design, reminiscent of smart watches — think Fitbit, Apple Watch. But what really makes this design great again and still a novelty despite its otherwise ‘fashionable’ status lies in the movement of the new Santos de Cartier Chronograph.

The Case and Dial

The new Cartier de Santos Chronograph comes in only one size. Also known as the “Extra Large” size, which measures in at 43.3mm x 51.3mm x 12mm, the Santos Chronograph very much a sporty luxury chronograph. The relatively large profile gives the watch a good presence on the wrist, but avoids the bulky look by using curved lugs and the ergonomically shaped curved square.

The case is available in three metal variations, stainless steel with a black ADLC steel bezel, two-tone stainless steel with an 18k yellow gold bezel, and in full 18k rose gold. Each of the three watches are presented with different straps and bracelets, with options including a black ADLC steel bracelet, a two-tone steel and gold bracelet, various alligator leather straps, and rubber straps.

To wind the watch, a 7-sided crown set with a faceted black synthetic spinel is used. It is flanked by a slim crown guards, that taper towards the wrist running alongside polished chamfered edges. The case is a mix of brushed and polished surfaces, that matches the satin-brushed silvered dial. Black steel sword-shaped hands with luminescent material are assembled beneath the curved sapphire crystal. 

The Movement

While there have been major improvements in the case design, the caliber 1904-CH MC steals the show. Cartier could have opted to do a simple chronograph case layout with 2 pushers on the crown side. Instead, they had put together something entirely unexpected; a new movement with a ‘monopusher’ at 9 o’clock. The pusher at 9 is used to start and stop the chronograph, and the reset button via the crown. The automatic column wheel chronograph beats at 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 48 hours.

Concluding thoughts

The watch is well thought out and cleverly executed. It contains modern user-friendly features like the QuickSwitch strap/bracelet mechanism, while maintaining the iconic square screw down design. The new movement with an innovative activation method is the last piece of the puzzle that makes the Santos Chronograph even more relevant today in any watch collection.

The watch in stainless steel is priced at S$ 12,400 including taxes.

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