By Gesel Pereyra Mangilit
It all started with a simple request Brazilian aeronautical pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont asked of his friend luxe jewelry designer Louis Cartier in 1901 when, after a successful flight and a celebration at Paris' Maxim's that evening, he asked his friend to come up with an alternative to his pocket watch as he had difficulty keeping both his hands on the controls of his dirigible airships while timing his performance.
Cartier went to work on the idea and the result was a watch with a leather band and a small buckle, to be worn on the wrist. Cartier invented the wristwatch for his friend in March of 1904 and from then on, Santos-Dumont never took off again without his personal Cartier wristwatch as he used it to check his world record for a 220-metre flight, achieved in just twenty-one seconds, on November 12, 1907. The new Santos watch was officially introduced on October 20, 1979 at the Paris Air Museum next to the 1908 Demoiselle, the last aircraft Santos-Dumont built.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of what in now known as one of the most sought after timepieces - The Santos de Cartier. To celebrate the event, Cartier designed two new models, the Santos 100 Watch and the Santos-Dumont Watch, to join the Santos Cartier Galbee watch, the great classic of the collection.
And to re launch the grandeur of the eternally elegant Santos Cartier timepiece, Rustan's recently held an exclusive launch party at the NBC Tent, which was transformed into a cosmopolitan turn of the century Paris complete with an effigy of the Santos-Dumont aboard one of his many flying machines.
Cartier flight attendants dressed in red mingled with the guests who were in chic formal attire as male models garbed in sporty attire modeled the latest Santos-Cartier watches. One Santos 100 watch was raffled off and lucky designer Randy Ortiz came home with the prize adorning his wrist.
It had truly been a a glitzy night of fashion and flair that echoed the Brazilian aviator's passion for life and freedom in flight.
The Santos de Cartier watch is available exclusively at Rustan's.
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