Cartier Santos 100 Watch Hands-On

  • For 2014, Cartier introduces its first triple axis tourbillon timepiece, adding another degree of complication to its existing bi-axial tourbillon collection of watches. The Cartier Santos 100 limited edition set has been released almost quietly, as Cartier is focusing much of its attention on the Santos 100 series, which incorporates their novel new silicon-based Santos 100 force escapement system. In reality, however, the two complicated timepieces exist in entirely different worlds; both ultra-high-end, but the Cartier W200737G replica comes in at over three times the price of the Santos 100.

    There are some people who might not understand the concept of a three axis tourbillon, so allow me to explain a bit. Of course, the best understanding will come from viewing the video. First of all, we are not talking about three different tourbillons. There are some W69013Z2 replica watches (such as from Roger Dubuis and Greubel Forsey) that have multiple tourbillons. Rather, we are talking about a single tourbillon that rotates on three axis points - versus one axis point.

    What purpose does offering multiple axis points of rotation offer? Well, none really, aside from artistic and mechanical value. It has been shown that a tourbillon mechanism - originally designed to help pocket watches be more accurate - doesn't really add much to a wrist watch. We see tourbillons a lot because of their decorative value and complexity. It is not only difficult to design tourbillons, but it is difficult to assemble them. There are simply so many parts in such a small area.

    Tourbillons with multiple axis points are a particular pain to produce and design because you have tourbillons within tourbillons. The Cartier Santos 100 consists of a central one minute (60 second) tourbillon, a middle 30 second tourbillon, and an outer 2 minute (120 second) tourbillon. This means that each axis point rotates at a different rate, and the visual result is very impressive. There is also an incredible density of small parts.

    The entire tourbillon assembly in the Cartier Santos 100 is 13.78mm across in diameter, and it weighs just 1.24 grams. In that tiny space, there are 140 parts. Try to imagine what it is like to produce, decorate, assemble, and adjust just this tiny mechanism. Literally, the smallest error will result in the tourbillon system not working, as a range of gears must dance in unison. Furthermore, the complexity of the triple axis tourbillon holds the regulating organ of the watch. So in addition to the Cartier Santos 100 needing to actually work, it needs to work well in order for the timepiece to reliably indicate the time.