Cartier’s latest skeleton masterpiece created for the highest flyers
By Mike Huynh
Skeleton timepieces represent a statement of engineering excellence for the world’s finest luxury watchmakers. For the house of Cartier, watchmaking often incorporates rich elements of art and breathtaking jewellery design.
The new Cartier Santos-Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor is an example of such a statement, an open-worked timepiece proudly showcasing its internal mechanics which made its debut at this year’s Watches & Wonders convention in Geneva.
Designed for the highest flyers
Skeletonisation of a timepiece first begins with an iconic model blueprint and the Santos-Dumont serves as the chosen silhouette 119 years on. The Cartier Santos-Dumont takes its name from the pioneering Brazilian aviator known as Alberto Santos-Dumont. In 1904, the pilot asked his friend, Louis Cartier, to make him a watch that he could wear while flying around Paris. Cartier obliged and presented his friend with the very first Cartier Santos-Dumont in 1904. Cartier would eventually commercialise the design in 1911 at a time when timekeeping was making its transition from pocket watches to wristwatches. This would ensure that the Cartier Santos-Dumont would be permanently etched in the history books of watchmaking.
Heritage design meets cutting-edge watchmaking
True to its original intent, the modern Cartier Santos-Dumont is designed to be a slimmer variant of the equally-iconic Santos sibling. The Santos-Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor elevates the model to bold new heights with a dazzling array of appointments.
To begin with is the watch’s most noticeable centrepiece, a striking tribute to the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle ultralight aircraft which was built and flown by the famous aviator himself in 1907. The watch features a miniature replica of this plane faithfully reproduced in 18K gold and used as the oscillating weight at the seven o’clock mark.
Cartier will offer the timepiece in three variants consisting of yellow gold, rose gold, and steel. The yellow gold version (Ref. CRWHSA0031) is the flagship variant and will be the only one produced in a limited run of 150 pieces worldwide. This version comes equipped with Cartier’s entirely new 9629 MC automatic movement boasting hours and minutes functions alongside the aforementioned plane rotor. The movement affords the timepiece an impressive 44-hour power reserve to ensure precision timekeeping is maintained even when off the wrist.
Its beauty is further presented in the 31mm yellow gold case paired with sublime navy blue lacquering on the inlays. This intricate blue lacquering also extends into the movement bridges to truly emphasise the watch’s skeleton effect. Cartier’s classic blued-steel sword-shaped hands complete the watch’s unique look. Most importantly, it shows off all these elements while still maintaining an ultra-svelte 8mm thickness profile alongside a water resistance rating of 30 metres. The timepiece is finished off with a matching blue alligator leather strap.
Visit Cartier to register your interest.