Available in the Shop: A Cartier Selection with Watchfinder & Co

Available in the Shop: A Cartier Selection with Watchfinder & Co

There are many watch brands that are hot at the moment, but one particular house has enjoyed a steep trajectory over the past few years becoming one of the most talked about in both modern and vintage collecting circles. That brand is Cartier and today we are sharing a new selection of watches from our partnership with Watchfinder that takes in three of the brand’s most iconic lines; the Santos Galbee, Pasha and Tank Solo.

The Santos Galbee

Ok, let’s get this out of the way so there’s no confusion. A Cartier Santos, or Santos de Cartier, is a watch on a bracelet featuring screws on both its bezel and its bracelet. While it was clearly derived from the Cartier Santos-Dumont — the very first known luxury men’s wristwatch designed for Alberto Santos-Dumont by his friend Louis — it was actually conceptualised by a legend in the watch industry named Alain-Dominique Perrin, Cartier’s CEO from 1975 to 1998. Understanding that he was at the helm of Cartier during a turbulent era beset by both the Quartz Crisis as well as the OPEC Oil Embargo and the global economic recession of 1973 to 1975, he knew he had to think out of the box.

Alain-Dominique Perrin, Cartier’s CEO from 1975 to 1998, came up with the idea of launching an affordable Santos in steel with gold accents in 1978. (Image: theconnectedtable.com)
Alain-Dominique Perrin, Cartier’s CEO from 1975 to 1998, came up with the idea of launching an affordable Santos in steel with gold accents in 1978. (Image: theconnectedtable.com)

Riding on the massive hit represented by the Le Must de Cartier watches — the brand’s lower-priced diffusion line— launched the year before in 1977, he introduced a revolutionary new wristwatch named the Santos in 1978 with the objective to connect the design language of Cartier to a whole new generation. Perrin wanted to do something truly audacious in the context of Cartier’s history and that was to make a watch in steel. However, he always wanted the watch to allude to the grandeur of Cartier, and he understood that the modest yet strategically applied use of gold elements could both elevate the perceived value of the watch and also create a bold and easily identifiable visual signature. As such, he fixed a gold bezel to the watch contrasted by steel screws; and then, in a brilliant design stroke, used the inverse pairing of gold screws on the steel bracelet, and ushered in the era of the two-tone dress watch.

The 1978 two-tone Santos launched by Cartier under the stewardship of Alain-Dominique Perrin(© George Cramer)
The 1978 two-tone Santos launched by Cartier under the stewardship of Alain-Dominique Perrin(© George Cramer)
Actor Michael Douglas wore the Santos Galbee in the 1987 film Wall Street.
Actor Michael Douglas wore the Santos Galbee in the 1987 film Wall Street.

The result was one of the most iconic watches in history and a runaway success for Cartier. In 1987, with Perrin still at its helm, Cartier introduced the Santos Galbee (a word that literally means curved or shapely), which slightly enlarged the dimensions of the case and softened the edges of the watch to give a highly appealing sensual shape. This is the watch in yellow gold that Michael Douglas wore in Wall Street and which became synonymous with wealth and style during the economic boom of that decade. Considering the fact that the movie was only released that year, this means that the film had access to a prototype far before the launch. I had the pleasure of working for Alexander Kitman Ho, the film’s producer, and I recall him saying, “Everything in the film was meticulously selected by Oliver Stone. The cigars were Davidoff, but they had to be Cuban Davidoff. The suits were made by the incredible Alan Flusser. The watch had to be a Cartier.”

This example of the Santos Galbee from 2004 is in an excellent condition and is covered under Watchfinder’s two-year warranty.
This example of the Santos Galbee from 2004 is in an excellent condition and is covered under Watchfinder’s two-year warranty.
The present example comes on a 31mm case and cuts a striking silhouette with its white guilloche dial, Roman numerals and blued steel hands.
The present example comes on a 31mm case and cuts a striking silhouette with its white guilloche dial, Roman numerals and blued steel hands.

The Cartier Pasha

The Pasha gets its name from the Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui — aka “Lord of the Atlas” — who, in the context of the ’30s, was one of the richest men in the world. In 1932, he commissioned a waterproof watch from Louis Cartier to wear while in his swimming pool, which Cartier delivered to him in 1933. Now that’s where the mystery begins, because the whereabouts of this original watch are unknown, and even the configuration of the watch is unclear.

The Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui
The Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui

Now let’s go back to the ’80s when Alain-Dominique Perrin was at the full height of his creativity. It was clear that there was a market for waterproof luxury watches, with timepieces such as the Ebel 1911 Classic Wave rising in popularity and the solid-gold Rolex Submariner taking a dominant stance.

Cartier took the mythology of the Pasha and asked Gérald Genta to make manifest a vision of this timepiece. And in 1985, the Pasha de Cartier was born. It was a massive 38mm watch with a thick case, stylised centre lugs with cross member-like end pieces and a very cool screw-down cap that covered the crown and provided water resistance. This system was actually derived from water-resistant military watches from the ’30s and, as such, was a wonderful stroke of creativity.

The original Pasha de Cartier from 1985
The original Pasha de Cartier from 1985
Cartier Pasha Chronograph from the 1980s (Image: Antiquorum)
Cartier Pasha Chronograph from the 1980s (Image: Antiquorum)

The Pasha was, of course, a massive hit and was soon made in a truly heady variety of models: the Pasha Perpetual Calendar (using a Génta movement); the Pasha Seatimer with a rotating bezel; the Pasha “Golf”; and my personal favorite, the Pasha Grid, which features a grid-like protection over the crystal which was also gleaned from military watches of the era. This, on the delicate brick “Figaro” bracelet in yellow gold, was a work of ravishing, opulent decadence.

An example from 2011, this Pasha with its salmon dial, grid overlay and stylised Arabic numerals is truly timeless in its style.
An example from 2011, this Pasha with its salmon dial, grid overlay and stylised Arabic numerals is truly timeless in its style.
An example from 2011, this Pasha with its salmon dial, grid overlay and stylised Arabic numerals is truly timeless in its style.

The Tank Solo

The Tank needs very little introduction. At 104 years’ old this year, I imagine that any watch enthusiast would be unable to name a more timeless and adaptable wristwatch than the Cartier Tank. It’s important to remember that in 1917 wristwatches were an emerging accessory for gentlemen and a rectangular wristwatch was, arguably, revolutionary. Pocket watches had been large, masculine affairs that a gentleman kept in the pocket of his waistcoat on a chain. The adaptation of the pocket watch for wristwear created huge wrist-mounted timepieces and so the early 20th century watchmaking modus operandi was to make watches smaller and more convenient on the wrist. Whilst a lot of watches were round, Cartier opted for a rectangle and the rest is ‘wristory’!

This 31mm Tank Solo model from 2017comes with its original set of box and papers.
This 31mm Tank Solo model from 2017comes with its original set of box and papers.
This 31mm Tank Solo model from 2017comes with its original set of box and papers.
This Tank Solo comes on a 31mm steel case and has the strong geometry required of the line.
This Tank Solo comes on a 31mm steel case and has the strong geometry required of the line.

The Tank has been through a huge number of variations. Think of it like a jazz standard; a theme that everybody knows and loves but executed or performed in different ways, thus appealing to a different range of audiences. These riffs on a classic include, not exhaustively, Tanks Normale, Cintree, Chinoise, Obus, Basculante, Asymetrique and Americaine. We have a saying in the UK, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Hold a Tank from the 1920s next to a Tank that you bought yesterday and you will see that essentially they are the same. Sure, the movement may be more technical now and the manufacturing of the dial might be a little more precise, but to the untrained eye they will look the same. Like a ’59 Gibson Les Paul next to a modern version, not a lot has changed over the decades.

In 2004 Cartier unveiled the Tank Solo, as an accessible way into Tank Ownership. Very similar to the Tank Louis Cartier, the brancards have flat faces and the whole case is a little chunkier. It’s a super versatile watch that looks awesome on the bracelet and equally fantastic on a leather strap. The choice is yours!

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Ross Povey

Ross Povey, the founder of TudorCollector.com is regarded as the world’s leading expert on vintage Tudor watches. Although an expert on Rolex and Tudor watches primarily, Ross’s work covers the entire field of horology and he is currently Editor-in-Chief of Revolution magazine in the UK. He writes for and has contributed to some of the most influential horological publications, including; The Telegraph, The Rake, Bulang & Sons, Watchonista, Hodinkee, QP and is the co-author of the book Daytona Perpetual, a celebration of the automatic Rolex Daytona released through Pucci Papaleo Editore. Ross is also an international speaker and regularly hosts watch events in the UK and Europe.

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