Which brands are they? Well, if the cover picture didn't give it away, I'll save you the long-winded introduction which makes you read on and on just to see which brands we're referencing. Today, we're talking about Cartier and Longines. Likely not what you may have expected, but to us here at Horology Republic, we're impressed by a few of the recent offerings from both. Here's why:
After casually asking some folks I know in the watch game their thoughts on Cartier, I get a mixture of answers. Anything ranging from "well, they just make jewelry, don't they?" to, "I don't know why they aren't featured as much for their watchmaking as their other products." Some love them, some don't but that's a phrase I could use with arguably every brand out there. Lately, though, they've come around with some stellar options in the watch lineup. I'll only be covering two specific watches here because, while these examples are my favorite of the recent unveilings, their catalog is vast, and the options are numerous. SANTOS DE CARTIER DEEP BLUE
A masterclass in adding a splash of subtle color which has its own appeal yet doesn't distract from the overall theme. This watch is stunning in both photography and in person, though I do believe photos still do not do it the justice it deserves. Admittedly, I couldn't spend nearly as much time as I would have liked with this one, but even in the absence of a week on the wrist, it left quite the impression. Spending a few hours around it left me wanting more, and it had my glancing down and smiling the entire time. With that peek of emotion out of the way, let's talk some specs.
The movement is the 1847 MC, which Cartier uses to power a myriad of other watches but is an excellent choice for the Santos line. While it may not be the most elite movement Cartier offers, it checks that ever-important "in-house" movement box which seems to matter so much to the watch community these days. With 23 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve, it works well in rotation or as a the centerpiece of your smaller collection. At 39.8 mm with a 9.38 mm thickness, it should fit most people just fine. Plus, with 100 meters of water resistance, you'll be able to take in the pool or on a dip in Lake Como without worrying. It should, for all intents and purposes, look excellent on most wrists and in most situations without worrying if it's too dressy or too sporty. It draws a middle ground not many other watches can attain. What's more, you'll get two straps with it so you can decide which look you really want to take with you during your day.
But what's my favorite about this one? The blend of blue and steel. It probably has something to do with my affinity for the mid-90s OMEGA Seamaster, but that combination comes together very well here. While the styling is undoubtedly Cartier with every accent, the culmination is what draws me in. Sure, it's not really a sports watch, but I've had my fill of divers and this one offers a gorgeous look without needing to be highest on the prize podium at the end of the race. I could absolutely see myself wearing it out to dinner, in an important meeting, or just enjoying a day by the lake. And really, isn't that what these are all about? Santos De Cartier Deep Blue - $7,800 cartier.com
SANTOS DE CARTIER ADLC - BLACK
It takes some pretty big cojones to create a high-end watch in steel and then coat that steel in another color. Especially when that color is black, as it has a tendency to rub off if it's simply PVD-coated. Harkening back a decade when the odd "Hunter" version of a phony Rolex would show up in forums or for sale elsewhere, it was easy to see this watch treatment as tacky and one that doesn't hold up well over time.
Enter Cartier with this version of the Santos. While it retains identical specs to the Deep Blue above, it brings with it the all-black theme which is in with many manufacturers. Black-steel hands, black dial, black bezel, and two black straps - one in rubber for the pool and on in alligator for the board room. While many of the other brands have something that follows the blacked-out theme, this one is actually still readable when you glance at it. Don't get me wrong, some of the totally black indices and hands do look cool, but I wonder how that holds up everyday when you simply are looking to tell the time. With this ADLC Santos, you get the darkened motif whilst still being able to quickly ascertain the time with a single glance.
The vibe with this is much dressier than the Deep Blue and it holds up well in many situations where you might need your black tie to go along with it. Summer is wedding season, after all, so you might find yourself gravitating towards this piece should you need to don the tuxedo or a dressed-down version for a summer party or celebration. Either way, with Cartier's perfection of the blackened steel look, you won't look phony with this on your wrist wherever you may wear it.
Santos De Cartier Watch - $8,100 cartier.com
LONGINES SPIRIT ZULU TIME
Ah yes...just when I thought Longines was old, outdated, boring, and had nothing new to offer me, they sucker punch me right in the gut. Until this particular watch, I didn't pay any mind to Longines, at all. I have seen a few of their watches in passing but nothing ever stuck out for me. I was of the mindset that it was a cheaper model, below the other SWATCH Group brands that I had an affinity for. Boy, did I have to rethink what I knew about that after this one came out.
I also have to admit that green watches definitely do it for me. These days, you can have so many shades of it that there really is something for everyone who's a fan of the color on a watch. While the other models that aren't green are superb, I'd choose this one for myself over those every day of the week. The way Longines incorporated the green, gold, and black together give the aesthetic a classic look while also showing it belongs here in 2022. Again, this is why I had to reevaluate my opinions on Longines and how they're doing things over there today. What a looker this one is.
So, it looks good, but what are the specs? Well, we're at 42 mm here. Still right in the wheelhouse of so many people who are potential customers. At 13.9 mm thick, it'll sit a little bit above the wrist but should fit nicely under the majority of shirt cuffs, unless you wear one of those really tight shirts...then you may have an issue. You'll get 100 meters of water resistance, so the swimming won't be an issue and you'll be carefree if you wear it in the shower for a rinse. The movement is Longines take on a base ETA A31.L01, which is technically in-house, if you worry about such things with a SWATCH Group brand. Whatever your thoughts, you get a 3-day power reserve which means you can keep this one in rotation among a couple of others and still pick right up where you left off when it's the Spirit Zulu Time's turn again. Of course, you have your regular hours, minutes, and seconds hand in beautiful gold-tone, but the 24 hour hand is only gold-tone towards the tip. Quite a nice way to accent the function without distracting from how the bezel and hands all complement each other.
Being a Longines, you have a plethora of strap options, but I'd go for this one on the bracelet. I know, some people are strap people and this would definitely be a strap monster given the right color complement...but I like the simplicity the bracelet offers in addition to the "jewelry" feel it has. I like my watches to have that all-metal look to them, but that's just my personal opinion. However you feel, you cannot go wrong with this one in your collection or as the one-watch on your wrist. People will look at it and complement it, as green is still a newer color to most folks when it comes to watches.
Longines Spirit Zulu Time $3,050 longines.com
The newest offering from Longines is this one: the high-beat Ultra-Chron. Short for Ultra Chronometer for the certification this watch attained by TIMELAB, this diver's watch is striking. If the 1970s was a golden age of design for you, or if you look back on your days in that decade with fondness, this might be the watch for you today. Retro is in. We see it all over the watch world with offerings from some of the most prestigious brands. Going back to your roots can sometimes be wonderful and other times quite rocky. Through all of that, I think Longines pulled it off with this one, even with that red minutes hand. Two-tone hands sometimes clash, but I think Longines did it right in this instance. A high-beat watch at this price point with these looks makes for a very nice option. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to use that tired, old phrase "value proposition," but I think it's a nice watch if you like looking at it. It also won't set you back OMEGA or Rolex money either. Take from that what you will.
Alright, so what's under the case back? We have another of Longines "in-house" ETA variants where they've taken a base C07.811 and created their very own L836.6 to plug into this Ultra-Chron. I love a good high beat so for me, this is an instant win. At 43 mm, this is the largest of the watches on this shortlist for today. Though it wears on the larger side (if you're a 40 mm stickler, that is), you get 300 meters of water resistance, which is more than you'll ever need. Yes, that even means for you guys that "need at least 200 meters for it to be considered." Swimming, snorkeling, showering, and anything in between will be covered for water resistance, and you'll have quite a stylish piece to glance at underwater. Your power reserve will be 52 hours. Just over two days should give you enough time to bring this one back into rotation, since these looks definitely had me coming back for more. One other detail I'd like to point out with this watch is the applied Longines symbol. It's only just starting to come back with other manufacturers, but it's something I think adds to the overall look and perceived value in watches. Simply stamping everything on a dial works, it's fuss free, and you don't have to worry about anything breaking loose in the future...but it just doesn't have that same look and feel for me. When a brand takes the time to apply metal logos, symbols, or other bits onto the dial in addition to the indices, it shows that the watch is worthy of the extra time and attention. Longines certainly made that evident here.
If you decide to pick up the "Box Edition," you'll get a NATO strap that's black with a red stripe running down the middle. A perfect edition for the style and motif this watch has and one that'll give you some options if you find you're not a bracelet person. Longines Ultra-Chron $3,700 longines.com
These are just a few of the watches from these two storied brands. Different in their own ways but excellent pieces nonetheless. Anyone in search of something that isn't what everyone else has should absolutely head on down to their AD to give these a try. After all, sometimes it's more fun to break the mold than to follow it.
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