Cigar Aficionado

Cartier Santos 100

The French have a way of looking extremely chic even when they're playing sports or working out. I lived in Paris in the mid-1980s next to the Eiffel Tower and still remember watching the joggers who ran every day around the Champ de Mars park dressed to the nines complete with designer warm-up suits, scarves and jewelry—even the men. The only thing they seemed to lack in those days was a great, ultra-chic sports watch. Now they have one—the Cartier Santos 100.

This men's wristwatch looks good just about anywhere this summer, from working up a sweat on the tennis court to tearing up the dance floor in your favorite club. The rectangular timepiece is the most masculine wristwatch ever from Cartier, and it should give competition to even the heaviest of heavyweight monster watches, which continue to be de rigueur in men's fashion. In fact, it is almost twice the size of the traditional Cartier Santos, measuring about 42.7 mm wide by 51.1 mm long.

Although it's a tough guy's watch, it remains distinctly Cartier with the classic white dial and black Roman numerals. The hands are luminous black steel. It's an automatic wristwatch with the Cartier 409 winding mechanism, and it comes in stainless steel, stainless steel and yellow-gold bezel, and all yellow gold. Both black and brown alligator straps are available. Prices range from $4,200 for the stainless steel to $16,400 for the yellow gold.

The launch of the Santos 100 marks the 100th anniversary of the friendship between the firm's founder, Louis Cartier, and the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont. The latter was one of the pioneers of aviation in Europe, flying in France and other parts of the continent in some of the early prototypes of airplanes. Cartier designed a wristwatch with a leather strap for the aviator after his friend complained that he couldn't tell time with his pocket watch while flying. It's something a few of us might appreciate the next time we take a jog wearing a Santos 100. All watches released this year will be etched with "1904-2004"on the back. So it's best to buy one now.