Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Santos de Cartier ADLC, now Clad in Black Armour

Dark matte surfaces with ADLC, interchangeable straps and large dimensions for the new dark soul of the Santos de Cartier.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |

Cartier enlarges its successful Santos collection with two time-and-date models clad in steel and black ADLC. The most contemporary proposal in this family of watches of late, the use of black ADLC and sleek matte finishes conspire to give the watch an emphatically masculine presence. Let’s have a closer look at these stealth Santos watches.

Santos de Cartier

Not to be confused with the Santos-Dumont line-up of slimmer, flatter and more elegant models inspired by the historic 1904 original, the Santos de Cartier novelties belong to the refreshed 2018 family. You can read all about the new design tenets on the Santos introduced in 2018 in Brice’s coverage here. Burlier, sportier and more contemporary, a watch that could almost be a member of the luxury sports watch category, the Santos de Cartier is composed of three-hand (Medium), time-and-date (Large) and chronograph models (XL) along with some skeletonised versions. The latest arrivals are available exclusively in the large case size of 47.5mm (length) x 39.8mm (width) with a height of 9.38mm.

2020 Santos de Cartier ADLC Black

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Stealth Mode

Black ADLC has been used before in the Santos de Cartier collection. Before the modern revamp, it was used on board the 2016 Santos 100 ADLC; again in 2019 with a snazzy skeletonised glow-in-the-dark model known as the Santos de Cartier Skeleton ADLC Noctambule; and also on an XL Chronograph. ADLC, which stands for amorphous diamond-like carbon, is a nano-composite coating that provides surfaces with a strong protective and anti-reflective layer.

All-Black ADLC Model

Made in steel and covered from head to toe in black ADLC, this is your urban stealth commando watch. The sleek brushed finish provides a light-absorbing matte surface and attenuates the large dimensions. Matching the monochrome colour scheme, even the crown is set with a black faceted synthetic spinel and the steel sword-shaped hands have been blackened. The eight steel screws on the bezel, the bold white Roman numerals, the black date disc with white numerals, the white railway minutes track and the lume on the hands stand out boldly against the black background.

Like all the Santos de Cartier watches, this model is equipped with Cartier’s QuickSwitch system to exchange the strap in a cinch. In this case, the watch comes with a corrugated or accordion-style rubber strap with rivets – to match those on the bezel – and a second strap in matte black alligator leather with an interchangeable deployant buckle.

Two-tone steel and black ADLC

Again, black ADLC has been used on this watch but is limited to the bezel. The vertical brush finish is applied to the bezel and the case for a smooth, matte surface. The crown is also set with a black synthetic spinel but the big difference between his model and the all-black reference above is the tonality of the dial. Whereas the above reference is jet black, the dial here is a dark grey colour and has been decorated with two different finishes. The interior of the dial, the area inside the railway track, is vertically brushed, just like the case. However, the chapter ring with the large white Roman numerals is radially brushed giving the dial a more dynamic presence.

Also equipped with the ingenious QuickSwitch system to change from bracelet to a strap and vice versa, this model comes with an in integrated steel bracelet with real rivets to match those on the bezel and an additional black rubber strap, decorated with rivets. The steel bracelet also comes with Cartier’s handy SmartLink adjustment system allowing you to adjust the length of the bracelet in a jiffy.

2020 Santos de Cartier ADLC Black

1847 MC automatic movement

Originally introduced inside the 2015 Cartier Clé collection, this automatic movement provides hours, minutes, seconds and date functionality. Calibre 1847 MC is Cartier’s modern workhorse and incorporates nickel phosphorous components and a soft-iron cage to protect it from magnetism. Beating at a modern 4Hz frequency, the movement offers a power reserve of 42 hours. It has to be seen as Cartier’s alternative to third-party movements such as ETA and Sellita.


The Santos de Cartier ADLC model (ref. WSSA0039) retails for EUR 7,750 and the Santos de Cartier steel and ADLC (ref. WSSA0037) for EUR 7,450. Since prices vary according to regions, we encourage you to consult your local Cartier website for the correct price in your country at

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