Review Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

The gentleman pilot

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2019, Cartier launched the new Santos-Dumont. It was a quartz watch, but still, the impact was huge. Last year, in 2020, Cartier released the hand-wound mechanical version in the XL line. We have a look today at the Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical Ref. WSSA0032.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

The Santos-Dumont watch is the oldest wristwatch designed by Cartier and it is part of the La Grande Maison collections since 1904. Quite an impressive history that extends over a century. The Santos watch was born from the friendship of Louis Cartier and Alberto Santos-Dumont. Alberto complained to his friend Louis about the difficulties of using the pocket watch time reading during the flights. Louis’ answer was a square flat wristwatch with a signature bezel. The watches created were, and still are, loved by large numbers of Cartier’s customers. The watches were powered by movements supplied by what is now Jaeger-LeCoultre. For extensive information about the Santos-Dumont and other Cartier watches, please have a look at Troisanneaux – one of the best gentleman’s guides out there. Here is my review of the Cartier “n°14 bis” Santos-Dumont.

Timeless design

Santos-Dumont is a watch that needs no introduction. Or should not need any… The iconic rounded square design comes in a 46.6mm x 33.9mm steel case. The watch is quite thin – 7.5mm. These dimensions serve well this model, offering an elegant and comfortable wear.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

The case received a vertical brush, except the chamfered edges that were polished to a mirror finish. The sloped and polished bevel – a key signature for this model is fixed with 8 delicate screws. The raised crystal follows the subtle curvacious case’s line.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

On the right, we can admire the gorgeous crown with blue cabochon – a shape and design also inspired by the 100 years old classic Santos. In comparison with the rest of this simple watch, the crown might seem flamboyant but it is the noblesse and the luxurious note of the collection. Moreover, it offers excellent behaviour on set and wind due to its good grip.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

Cartier dial

There is nothing more classic and easily recognisable as a Cartier dial: elongated Roman numerals with square register and blue hands. After all, this design spans over a hundred years.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

The silvered dial presents a gentle sunburst brush that will create a mesmerising shine in the light. Everything is printed in black. The outer register surrounds the tall numerals, delimited in the centre by a square holding the Cartier name. The V from the 7 o’clock index holds the Cartier name. The long sword hands also are a familiar view. Of course, they are thermally blued.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

Cartier Calibre 430MC

Cartier Santos Dumont XL Steel is powered by the Calibre 430MC. This movement produced by Piaget (base 430P) is a known calibre in several Cartier pieces (Ballon Bleu, Panthere Jewelry, Santos-Dumont, Ronde Louis Cartier, Tortue, Baignoire, Drive de Cartier and even the Tank). The hand-wound movement has a power reserve of 38 hours. It has proved, in time, its robustness and reliability. The 131 pieces movement has a relatively slow oscillator at 21,600vph. The small movement, of 20.50mm diameter, is not visible due to the closed metal back. But I have seen several in the wild and they are gorgeously decorated with “C” de Cartier.

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical

The gentleman

Santos-Dumont is a delightful wristwatch. Created for a friend and gentlemen pilot. The watch has an unquestionable elegance, still keeping its desire for adventure. An excellent daily companion, the Santos-Dumont will dare to follow you in the office, at a dinner, to riding or cycling. Or just will be there in a relaxing moment. Its delicate but masculine lines will get the right attention.

It is comfortable on the wrist, it goes perfectly under a shirt’s sleeve but face well a t-shirt, too… The only question I have – Why don’t I already have one?

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical


Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical Technical Specifications and Price

Reference WSSA0032


  • Calibre 430MC
  • manufacture mechanical manual winding movement
  • Encasing diameter: 9 lines
  • Total dimensions: 20.5 mm
  • Thickness: 2.15 mm
  • Number of jewels: 18
  • Frequency: 21’600 vibrations/hour
  • Power reserve: 38 hours


  • Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 46.6mm x 33.9mm x 7.5mm
  • Crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon

Strap & Buckle

  • Alligator leather strap
  • Fast change system
  • Cartier pin buckle


  • CHF 5,700 / 5.850 € / $5,900 / S$ 8,400 / ¥682,000 / HK$44,200

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Steel Mechanical Gallery

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