A Blue (Belated) Christmas: The New Cartier Santos de Cartier Sunburst Blue Dial

Article By: Logan Hannen


Cartier is celebrating Christmas a bit late (or SIHH 2019 a bit early) with the release of a new dial variation for their revamped Santos de Cartier line, a gradient blue option.

In 2018, Cartier revamped the Santos line, reintroducing it in now two sizes, medium or large, and in four case metals (steel, pink gold, yellow gold, or two-tone yellow and steel). The new Santos could either be purchased with a matching metal bracelet and a strap, or with two different straps. The motive for providing multiple strap options comes down to Cartier introducing a new, tool-less strap changing technology in this new Santos. This innovation, which they call QuickSwitch, allows the wearer to push a tab between the lugs and simply slide the bracelet out with little effort whatsoever.

Cartier’s QuickSwitch Strap Swapping Technology
Source: ABlogtoWatch

Cartier also introduced a tool-less method for resizing the bracelet, known as SmartLink, which involves using little more than a toothpick or other similarly pointed, but soft to prevent scratching, instrument to press a button at the bottom of each link. Doing so releases the pin (but not completely, such that it can’t be lost), and allows the user to remove the links as needed to get the perfect fit.

Cartier’s SmartLink System
Source: ABlogtoWatch

Fast forward to 2019, and Cartier has updated the Santos once again, this time not with any innovative technology or dramatic rebranding, but with a simple yet important dial color addition.

The New and Blue Santos de Cartier

Closeup of the Santos de Cartier’s new gradient blue dial
Source: SJX Watches

The original 2018 reintroduction of the Santos de Cartier came in one dial execution exclusively – silver/white. While iconic in its own right, Cartier recognized the need for some variety in the line and, for SIHH 2019, introduced this gradient blue option. This dial can also be seen on a number of other models in the Cartier lineup, including the Ronde Solo, Ballon Bleu, Calibre Diver, and the Tank MC. This is, however, the first time it has been introduced on a Santos model.

Beyond this, though, the specs remain identical to the 2018 Santos. While the blue dial is only available in the large size case (39.8mm across and 9.08mm thick), it is still powered by the new in house caliber 1847 MC, a movement with a 42 hour power reserve. It is also water resistant up to 100 meters. It comes with the steel bracelet and a navy blue calfskin leather strap.

The New Santos on the Blue Calfskin Strap
Source: Cartier

The Damage
The new Santos de Cartier in blue is available for $6,850 from Cartier directly, as well as in authorized dealers and boutiques now.

Logan’s Take
Yes, this is really nothing more than a new dial color, and while I absolutely adore the way Cartier handles a blue dial, the thing I want to focus on is actually a bit more subtle than that. In speaking with a fellow watch geek, they shared an idea with me that, previously, I hadn’t considered. Before I explain it, though, let’s get some pictorial reference going…

Cartier Santos de Cartier blue, Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 in blue, and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Ultra-Thin in blue
Sources: Cartier, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet (respectively)

Above we have three iconic steel sports models from three iconic luxury brands. All three are in steel, with steel bracelets that either are or appear integrated, and gradient blue dials. Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting Cartier is ripping off Patek or AP; rather, what I’m suggesting based on the discussion I had with that other watch geek is this…

It is pretty notorious how difficult it can be to find a blue 5711 Nautilus. The demand is so outrageous compared to the number Patek are supplying that, although they retail for CHF 27,000, they often trade on the pre-owned and gray market for much closer to CHF 40,000. That kind of premium is, frankly, insane. The Audemars Piguet, by contrast, can be had for around $22,000 USD on the gray market (not that I recommend spending that kind of money on the internet, but to each their own). And then you’ve got the Santos, a watch that retails just under $7k USD.

Given how impossible acquiring a 5711 can be, and how relatively in-demand (and pricey) the Jumbo Royal Oak in blue can be as well, it feels like Cartier are attempting to position themselves in such a way that they represent an alternative that has plenty of its own merit but carries with it that same style and vibe as those other pieces, and for a price point that is, for many, much more attainable. Maybe Mystery Watch Geek X and I are grasping at straws here, but if I were Cartier, that’s exactly what I’d be doing.