Cartier Santos Dumont 90th Anniversary Limited Edition, Platinum

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This 90th anniversary, limited edition Cartier Santos-Dumont was released in 1994, and was limited to only 90 pieces. The piece is distinguished by the combination of a platinum case and a warm-toned salmon dial, an unusual but intriguing colour combination from Cartier.

Before the Collection Privée Cartier Paris

Watchmaking at Cartier dates back to the friendship between Louis Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont, when Louis helped the Brazilian aviator design a watch which he could wear during his early flight experiments. Since then, the French jeweller has demonstrated a mixed commitment to horology. Throughout the 1920s, their Parisian workshop reworked the classic Tank design into a whole range of innovative shapes, such as the Cintrée, Baignoire and the Tank à Guichets. Some 40 years later, when the brand was under the custodianship of three brothers located in Paris, London and New York, some of the most creative designs began to emerge from these autonomous workshops. With models ranging from the Crash, to the Asymétrique, the New Bond Street branch carried forwards Cartier’s previous approach of experimentation and inventiveness.

Many describe this earlier period as the “Golden Age” of Cartier watches, when the jeweller’s production was truly limited and artisanal. To put things into perspective, between 1919 and 1960, the Paris branch only made 1,803 Tanks – less than 44 a year. Then, things gradually began to change. After the death of Pierre Cartier in 1964, the remaining members of the family, who headed-up the different branches in London, New York and Paris, sold the businesses.