Cartier Introduces the Santos de Cartier ADLC

The all-black Santos returns.

After unveiling the glow-in-the-dark Santos Skeleton ADLC “Noctambule” last year, Cartier debuts the similar, but simpler, Santos de Cartier ADLC at Watches & Wonders 2020.

The new Santos actually revives a look the brand first rolled out in 2009 with the Santos 100 ADLC, which was the brand’s first use of amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC) as a case coating. A nano-composite coating, ADLC possesses diamond-like properties, including high corrosion and scratch resistance, improving the robustness of the watch case. But like all coatings it can detach if the material below is dented or scratched deeply.

All-black (left), or a combination of natural-finish steel and ADLC-coating

Shades of black

Like the Skeleton ADLC “Noctambule”, the Santos ADLC is available only in the largest LM case that’s 47.5 mm by 39.8 mm on the face and a height of 9.38 mm, making it a big but relatively slim watch. It is available in two iterations: all-black ADLC-coated steel, or two-tone steel with an ADLC bezel.

While the case dimensions are identical to the standard Santos, the new models have a low-key matte finish. The bezel is brushed, instead of the mirror polish found on the standard model, with only the bevels along the edge of the case being polished.

The steel model features a dark grey dial which matches the shade of the ADLC coating on the bezel. Though the dial is a single colour, it appears two-tone due to the surface finishing – vertical brushing on the inner dial, echoing the finishing on the bezel, which is set against a radially brushed chapter ring.

The ADLC model, on the other hand, has a pure-black, matte dial, offering a stark contrast of shades and textures while accentuating the all-black look.

Both are powered by the in-house 1847 MC movement, the same movement found in the standard Santos. Though the movement was introduced five years ago, it was upgraded for the new-generation Santos with the addition of a nickel-phosphorus escapement, making the most critical part of movement less susceptible to magnetism. And the movement is enclosed in a soft-iron cage that shields it from magnetism.

As with last year’s Santos Chronograph XL and the earlier Santos 100, both watches are delivered with a rubber strap moulded to mimic the links of a Santos bracelet – and fitted with actual screws. But each is also accompanied by an additional option. The steel model has an actual steel bracelet with the quick-release mechanisms for the bracelet and links, while the all-black ADLC version is matched with a matte-black alligator strap.

Key facts and price

Santos de Cartier ADLC
Ref. WSSA0037 (Steel and ADLC)
Ref. WSSA0039 (ADLC)

Diameter: 47.5 mm by 39.8 mm
Height:  9.38 mm
Material: Natural steel, or ADLC-coated steel
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency:  28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Rubber strap and steel bracelet (steel model); rubber and alligator straps (ADLC model)

Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: 7,400 Swiss francs, or 10,300 Singapore dollars; 7,600 Swiss francs, or 10,600 Singapore dollars

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