In 1978, Cartier created what we can think of as the first modern Santos. This watch was a two-tone steel and 18k yellow gold model, with a polished yellow gold bezel and a new bracelet that echoed the screw motif of the bezel, only with yellow gold screws punctuating the steel bracelet links. Since its beginning as the first ever men's wrist watch in 1904, the Cartier Santos Carrée was the first ever Santos to have a bracelet and be executed in steel. This has led to many collectors searching for this neo-vintage classic, as it blends the design languages of vintage and modern.
Overall, the watch is in great vintage condition considering its age. The two-tone steel and yellow gold case measures 29 mm, making it the ideal size for an everyday watch. The only wear visible on the case are minimal hairline scratches and dings on the case near 8 o'clock and 2 o'clock. The case was polished by Cartier at service in 2015 and remains sharp and original to its true design. The classic white dial is in great condition and is clean, with minimal wear present. Blue sword hands mark the hour and minutes; both are in excellent condition. A date window is located at 3 o'clock and can be quickset via the crown. The watch comes on its original brushed stainless steel and 18k yellow gold bracelet with full links. The Cartier logo stamp on the clasp is crisp, and the clasp itself closes without any issues. The sapphire crown winds well and sits subtly at 3 o'clock. Accompanying the watch are its original papers and box from 1983. Seasoned collectors will know just how hard it is to find a Carrée in this condition with its original box, papers, and service papers from 2015 — a rare find nonetheless.
Cartier Santos Carrée History:
The Cartier Santos dates back to 1904, when Louis Cartier created a watch for his good friend, a Brazilian aviator by the name of Alberto Santos-Dumont. The Santos was only ever executed in precious metal and on a leather strap until 1978, when the market had already shifted to steel sports watches such as the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and other sports Rolex. Cartier had a real problem growing within their watch department, as precious metal watches were much more expensive than what was already on the market. Their marketing manager, Dominique Perrin, came up with the idea of using the Santos to launch a new affordable sports watch appealing to many audiences. It was the first time Cartier used steel in any watch and was considered sacrilegious considering they are a jeweller. The watch was also one of the few on the market using two-tone, a mix of steel and gold. Over time, the design language has stayed the same with the Santos, with the Carrée being its birthplace.