The French luxury jeweler keeps introducing skeletonized timepieces. The latest in the series is the hand-wound Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium (Ref. W2020052) that was officially presented at the SIHH 2011 trade fair. Featuring their signature “full skeleton” dial, the watch looks like a step in the right direction from their previous attempts.
As you can see in the pictures, the new Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium continues the trend that started last year when the French brand has unveiled its Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton.
Like the last year’s model, the new Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton lacks any dial in its usual meaning. Instead, it has the back-plate of its in-house movement machined to the point when you can see your hair behind the timekeeper’s sapphire back.
Even the stylized Roman numerals are skeletonized bridges of the Cartier 9612 MC hand-wound movement.
Still, given its styling, I would say that this open-worked wonder is fairly easy to read, at least when lighting is good. The hours and minutes indicators are crafted from polished and rhodium-plated brass and are wide enough for you not to be confused when there is a need to check the time in a hurry.
As usual, I subtract a whole point out of the final legibility rating because this blacked-out watch lacks a single drop of Superluminova on its dial. Still, it is at least a whole 3 out of 5.
The manufacture-made caliber is so extensively skeletonized, that the gear train, as well as the mainspring barrel, seem to float in thin air: a difficult task to accomplish when you have to make the W2020052 look cool while preserving its structural rigidity.
The movement is built on 20 rubies and comprises 138 parts while offering at least 72 hours of continuous operation when fully wound.
Like the elegant titanium body, the movement is subjected to ADLC treatment, which is more flexible and scratch-resistant than “traditional” DLC coatings, but looks like overkill when applied to watchmaking.
Well, at least it sounds cool.
On the other hand, when you are buying an expensive piece of art like this one (and Cartier, by the way, plans to retail this black beauty for whole $50,000, although there will probably be all sorts of discounts for loyal customers,) you never have too much protection, especially if you, like me, tend to run into things while in a hurry.
Official specification states that the titanium case measures 47 millimeters in length and 39 mm in width. That, of course, includes its pair of integrated lugs, so in reality, this beast is not larger than a normal 42 mm dress watch with normal horns.
Thanks to its hand-wound mechanism, the case is also relatively thin, so wearing it with a suit will never be a problem.
Another good thing about this timepiece’s design is, of course, the girth of its nut-shaped crown that is easy to operate and the way the side of the body is machined-out to make natural crown-guards that help to protect the delicate mechanism from all sorts of shocks.
Cartier Santos Dumont Carbon Skeleton Titanium (Ref. W2020052) specification
Movement: Hand-wound, Cartier Caliber 9612 MC, 20 jewels, 28.60 mm x 28.60 mm in width, 3.97 mm in height, 138 components, 28,800 vph, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 72 hours (3 days)
Dimensions: 47.00 mm x 39.00 mm
Hands: Sword-shaped, rhodium-plated brass
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Alligator skin with double adjustable deployant buckle in 18-karat white gold and ADLC coating