18 Jun 2012

Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Men’s Watch WM505016 Review

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Written by: Cathy Tenzo

The Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Men’s Watch WM505016 is a popular model that goes from boardroom to backyard, and some people feel it provides a stylish yet rugged solution no matter what you’re wearing. The watch definitely gets points for durability, but I’m not sure it’s stylish in any situation. That’s a very personal decision, though, and Cartier has a reputation for quality, so this watch is likely to last a good, long time. As with any luxury purchase, it’s important to know you love it before you buy.



  • 18k rose gold case coated with ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon coating–which makes it harder and more durable)
  • Automatic movement
  • Satin and toile fabric strap bracelet
  • Deployment clasp buckle
  • Self-winding movement
  • Water resistant to 100 meters
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Pink and gold diamonds surround the bezel
  • Black, luminescent dial
  • $22,200 list price

Based on the very first Cartier watch, made in 1904, the Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Men’s Watch WM505016 has a lot to recommend it. The watch is durable, with a special carbon coating to make the case harder, and the black dial is luminescent, which can make the face easier to read in dim light. The roman numerals are elegant and fun. A satin and toile strap holds a face that is surrounded by a bezel of diamonds. But I’m not sure if this watch really knows what it wants. Some reviewers talk about how masculine it is, but is that because the satin and toile strap looks frayed? Others praise it for the diamonds which surround the watch face, but surrounded by the hardened grey case they look out of place, although some reviewers liked the mix of shiny and solid elements.

Photo of the Baume and Mercier Hampton Square Men's Chronograph Watch MOA08826

The Baume and Mercier Hampton Square Men’s Automatic Chronograph Watch XXL MOA08826 is a nice alternative luxury watch for a man who wants a square profile with less sparkle.

Whether you like it or not, the Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Men’s Watch WM505016 might not be the best choice to wear with formal dress or when you want to make a quiet, sophisticated statement. In those situations you might want to choose a watch with cleaner lines and less dazzle, like the iconic Cartier Tank Americaine Automatic Men’s XL Watch 2609856. If you like the square shape, and are looking for a luxury timepiece that’s a little more rugged and a little less sparkly, you might also try the Baume & Mercier Men’s MOA08826 Hampton Square XXL Automatic Chronograph Watch, which retails for about  $2,500. Although the Santos is very sturdy, I do wonder how well the diamonds hold up to daily wear–although diamonds are extremely hard, I’d be more worried about the stones coming loose from the watch casing. You wouldn’t want to lose any of your hard-earned bling. You don’t have to worry about getting it wet, though. The watch is water-resistant to 100 meters. Some users also reported that the catch on the strap was too slight, making it hard to attach with ease. This seems an odd defect for a watch that is so substantial, and a reminder that although you can get discounts on the internet, you should try to try one of these on for size before making a purchase, as this is a significant outlay.

Photo of President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton is a noted fan of luxury watches, and one of the brands he wears is the Cartier Santos Collection.

The Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Men’s Watch WM505016 is ultimately a well-made timepiece that tells time well, and will for years to come. It’s also a bold fashion choice, and each man must decide for himself if the choice is right for him.

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