Santos Dumont; ‘Paint It Black’ !

Last January Cartier released the Santos Dumont Skeleton in Pink gold, which is a really sweet watch, but in 2011 the more edgy Santos Dumont Skeleton, was also presented, in a totally black case, with a black alligator strap. As someone that really likes black watches, this model kept me awake for quite some time. Most black watches on the market are sports-, or sports related watches and that’s what sets this model apart and makes the watch so attractive.



The black coating gives the watch a very contemporary look, it makes it more sporty than the pink gold version, but with a case that thin, it definitely lends itself to be worn with a suit too. It’s elegant enough to fit under a cuffed shirt and has a very masculine appearance. Cartier presented the watch with a black alligator strap, but I would love to try this model with a brown, large scale alligator strap.



This Santos Dumont Skeleton Carbon has a titanium case with a highly contemporary black coating. Also the skeletonized bridges, in the shape of Roman numerals, are ADLC coated. Since the dimensions are 38.7 x 47.4mm, the watch is slightly larger than the ‘time only’ Santos Dumont from he main stream collection.
As with almost every Cartier watch that is created in the Fine Watch Making collection, the caliber is a manufacture mechanical movement, 9612 MC, with a power reserve of 72 hours.

Now you may wonder how the black will last over the years, since the watches that are coated with PVD, it’s known that the coating is vulnerable and does comes off.


In 2009 Cartier released a Santos 100 with a black case, with the same ADLC coating. I am wearing the watch since it came on the market, since I loved the black that was very smooth, not matt solid black, but a kinda satin finished, anthracite greyish colour. This black Santos I wear especially
during travel, in the gym, beach, actually anywhere and after three years, one may expect to seeing some wear;
not at all, the case looks still pristine. I know this may sound like an commercial, but it’s really remarkable that even sensitive places like the crown guards, still are as new and don’t show bare spots.


ADLC (Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon) is a completely different coating than PVD, it can not be compaired. ADLC is an acronym for amorphous diamond-like carbon, which is applied at a temperature of 200° Celsius. Highly elastic, extremely hard and extra-ordinarily smooth. Almost scratch free and finger print proof. ADLC was developed by Cartier during the research the La Maison did for the ID-ONE prototype watch and used for moving parts in the ID-TWO prototype watch. All metal parts in the case of the ID-II, like the bridges for instance are made out of titanium and are ADLC coated. The coating creates a layer, that is unaffected by constant wear, self-lubricating and shock-resistant. So this should give an idea how strong it actually is.
Cartier used their ADLC coating first for the ID-ONE, and used it commercially, on the outside of the cases of the Santos 100 and now on this über cool Santos Skelette.

For those who may wonder why Cartier was late in releasing their black Santos watches, since the trend for black watches started already around the year 2000, it may come to a surprise that Cartier was actually the first brand, that ever released a black watch.
A black Santos Dumont with blue strap was already on the market in 1924. Not with a coated case, but a case made of bakelite, which proves how early La Maison was, with their research for alternative case materials.


The Santos100 carbon, pictured on the wet surface, is unfortunately not available anymore, which makes the Santos Dumont Carbon Skelette, currently the one & only black model, in Cartier’s collection.

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  1. Meehna says:

    Another well researched and informative piece. I always learn something when I read something from GEO. For instance, I didn’t know about the black bakelite watch — very cool and progressive indeed!

  2. GEO says:

    The bakelite Santos si really something and fun to know that the brands that made black watches popular,
    were not the ones that introduced the black theme.

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