‘Or Massif’ 2964 Cartier Santos Carrée
What is a sports watch? One you can wear playing badminton? Or chess? A watch that can be swum with? No, the definition is up for debate. So here’s the broadest possible definition, a gold 2964. Even though it was actually worn by Gordon Gekko, there is no more Wolf of Wall Street aesthetic than a full gold, full sized Santos. It says you haven’t just made it, it says you’ve made it and you don’t even remember doing it. But it didn’t start that way. The gold Santos was originally the domain of the butch Frenchman, if there is such a thing. This came in period with a Cartier box that had a gold plaque on it, proclaiming ‘Or Massif’, meaning ‘massive gold’. Today, it’s just known as the Or Massif. This was Cartier getting audacious in the 90s, or about as audacious as a country whose idea of a wild time is cave-aging cheese can be.
The the Or Massif has evolved since its 80s introduction. It doesn’t live in crashed Countachs anymore. It lives on the wrists of people who really know the brand. It’s a bit like a gold 1675 GMT in that respect. Twenty years ago, you would’ve thought that poor man is desperate for some attention in the form of wrist-recognition, or he’d inherited it from his father. But now, gold has lost that stigma. It’s for those who just want to have fun, gold isn’t as tethered to accomplishment or the ‘f*ck you, I’m rich’ attitude it used to carry.. And the Or Massif is back to what it was always intended to be, a very classically French, f*cking massive chunk of solid gold at 27.5×38.5mm.
The mechanical Santos is kind of having its moment, I’ve been watching values go from 10s to 20s and now for some even beyond. Call it hype or a return to form, the gold and ghost slate dials, possibly burgundy lacquer as well, are all royalty for collectors. There is particularly something about the Santos case that is just so Parisian, perhaps the screw construction made to recall the Eiffel tower, perhaps the jeweler’s cabochon crown tie-in, or perhaps the dial, a design which has lasted well over a century from Louis Cartier’s originals. From the trading floors of the NYSE to a beach club on the French Riviera, this thing makes sense just about everywhere today. But beware, it is getting more expensive. Decidedly.
This example presents in excellent overall condition. The case has a nice light oxidation, particularly on back, letting you know it hasn’t been polished. The dial has little of the lacquering cracks you often see. Further, the case case full factory proportions, not much in the way of polishing if at all. It comes from a well-regarded Japanese retailer, full set.