The Santos name is practically synonymous with the brand name itself. In 1904, the famed aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, complained to his friend Louis Cartier about the difficulty of checking his pocketwatch while flying his aircraft. Cartier went to work, and his solution was almost certainly the first wristwatch created specifically for an aviator. The innovation allowed Santos-Dumont to keep both hands on the controls while setting airborne speed records, which were determined by measuring the time taken to travel specified distances. Santos-Dumont was so taken with his Cartier wristwatch that he wore it religiously when flying.
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A commercial version of the Art Deco-style watch launched in 1911, and today Cartier offers three collections bearing the Santos name. Our featured watch is the Cartier Santos de Cartier Santos 100, and it is one of the most recognizable timepieces in the world. Cartier offers it in two sizes – medium at about 44 x 35 mm, and large at about 51 x 41 mm (shown below). Both watches are powered by automatic-winding mechanical movements not manufactured by Cartier. The medium model in steel on an alligator strap retails for $6,500, and the large version is priced at $7,300.