Santos-Dumont Rewind Turns Back The Clock On Cartier’s Classic Collection

The Santos-Dumont Rewind embodies the very essence of Cartier’s pioneering spirit; a testament to a brand standing at the forefront of innovation. 

Santos-Dumont Rewind Turns Back The Clock On Cartier’s Classic Collection

Image: Cartier

The following article was produced in partnership with Cartier.

Throughout the 20th century, Cartier has dared to break convention with novelty releases in the storied world of haute horlogerie. 

From the first Cartier Tank in 1917, with its revolutionary rectangle case, Roman numeral dial and sapphire cabochon crown, to the iconic Cartier Crash, a contorted classic, instantly recognisable by its signature melting crown and fluid numerals released in the late 60s, the French Maison has released a number of iconic pieces that have stood the test of time.

But it all started a few years earlier, when Louis Cartier, the visionary grandson of Cartier founder Louis-François Cartier and custodian of the illustrious Parisian jewellers, designed a bespoke release for his friend, the Brazilian pilot, Alberto Santos-Dumont.

RELATED: Cartier Continues To Defy Time With The Enduring Appeal Of The Santos Collection

The birth of the Santos de Cartier

In Paris, at the turn of the 20th century, Santos-Dumont would find himself at the forefront of the early aviation industry, experimenting with balloons, dirigibles and fixed-wing aircraft around the city’s most prestigious landmarks. It was here that Cartier and Santos-Dumont would meet and a friendship would form through a shared respect and fascination with each other’s emerging professions. 

As an aviator, the Brazilian pilot needed both hands free to operate the machinery At the time, pocket watches were still men’s instrument of choice. They were practical and effective, but the only tool available; their inherent value would later become their burdens as pilots like Santos-Dumont needed hands to check and set their watches: a difficult (and potentially dangerous) motion whilst sitting in the cockpit in the infancy of air travel. 

And so, in 1904, Cartier set to work, creating a watch that met the demands of those at the cutting edge of industry. The Cartier Santos-Dumont, named after the pioneering aviator, quickly became a contemporary classic and one of the first-ever pilot watches. It featured a larger square dial for increased legibility and was designed to fit snugly on the wrist, providing stability during flights. 

The Cartier Santos-Dumont was a modern marvel of its time; a cultural icon was born. And now, some 120 years later, Cartier is daring to turn back the clock on one of their classic collections. 

Image: Romer Macapuno / DMARGE

Cartier releases novelties at Watches & Wonders

This year’s Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Switzerland was the perfect time for the world’s biggest and best brands to unveil their novelties from the previous year, exciting the market with proprietary movements, unique shapes and dimensions… and Cartier wasted no time with, arguably, the most exciting releases at the event.

Naturally, we were all looking at the Santos de Cartier 2024 collection: a contemporary classic that shares a rich and unique lineage, continuing Cartier’s tradition of blending elegance with cutting-edge innovation. But further along, the French Maison was teasing the event’s most discerning watch enthusiasts with a novelty that flipped the script on modern watchmaking. 

Image: Romer Macapuno / DMARGE

The Cartier Santos-Dumont Rewind is a limited edition platinum release from luxury watchmakers at the peak of their powers. Not only does the striking carnelian instantly grab your attention from the Maison’s impeccable line-up, a throwback to luxury timepieces of another era, but look further, and you’ll see that the watch’s signature Roman numerals are counting backwards against the dial.

Cartier has added some contemporary features such as a larger dial for enhanced legibility, the modern release is crafted with meticulous attention to detail that reflects the brand’s commitment to excellence. 

The Santos-Dumont also incorporates classic design features from its predecessors – a square dial, exposed screws and a ruby cabochon in the crown – as a playful nod to the Santos-Dumont’s esteemed past. Whilst this modern release emerges as an ingenious way to reverse tradition, it’s under the hood, that the French Maison really begins to flex its muscles. 

Cartier’s innovative approach to timekeeping is reflected in the Santos-Dumont Rewind’s movement, an updated version of the brand’s in-house 430 Maison Creation calibre, which has been inverted to allow the hands to run anticlockwise on the dial.

With this year’s release of Cartier’s celebrated Santos collection, the Santos-Dumont Rewind is the perfect marriage of the luxury brand’s esteemed past and exciting future. As Cartier continues to push the boundaries of form and functionality, the Santos-Dumont Rewind embodies the very essence of Cartier’s pioneering spirit; a testament to a brand standing at the forefront of innovation.