Archive for March, 2011

Cartier Santos Galbee: The men’s watch for ladies

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Cartier Santos Galbee

More and more women today are wearing men’s watches, and its a trend that’s gotten me worried. I for one have no wish to be mistaken for somebody who wears a men’s watch that er, a lady would wear. But just the other day I spotted a female executive on the bus who was wearing a Panerai ‘Pam 001′ that I too, had on my wrist. I tried to plunge my hand into my trouser-pocket as quickly as I could, but it was too late; she’d spotted it and gave me a knowing smile. Its the horological equivalent of getting caught driving a pink-colored Volkswagen Beetle.

So what’s happening out there and why aren’t women wearing their own watches? After all, at the dawn of the 20th Century, men did not think that wearing timing-instruments on the wrist was a macho thing to do, since these did not go with a big mustache and spandex pants. Hence, the first wristwatches were created largely for women. With a hundred years to develop, you would think that women’s watches today would be fairly sophisticated as well.

make it pinkier

“What do I think of current ladies watches? Let’s see, what’s brown, comes out from a black hole and stinks like hell?! They’re crap!” bellowed a specialist on this topic, one Ms Angelina Zubulatov Mischela, self-proclaimed chairperson of the militant LESBOW (Ladies Eager to Stop Buying Overpriced Watches). “If you examined the current range closely you will find that most of the crap falls into two broad categories. The first are carryovers: uninspired, shrunken and watered- down versions of the company’s male- watch lines that look like they were designed by little animals that live in photocopying machines. The modifications usually involve nothing more adventurous than some colour- switching to more feminine hues that those designer goons think we ladies would prefer, such as light blue, white, and of course pink!!!”

You can even tell the time with this one!

“But the second category are the greater offenders. They are the reason why ladies’ watches are so crap nowadays!!!” She cried, before proceeded to reveal who these horological criminals were: jeweled-watches. Timepieces that utilise all manner and quantity of gemstones to distract potential buyers from the lack of design and good taste inherent in the watch, that also usually come equipped with the cheapest quartz movements in existence and a five-figure price-tag. “Diamonds don’t belong in a watch! The only place they belong is at the tip of an industrial laser!” She then brought out a hammer and  proceeded to pulverise Chopard’s entire ‘Happy’ line.

So the situation is pretty clear. If you wanted a ladies’ watch outside of the two categories mentioned above, it was going to have to come from the men’s line. Considering that large watches – often wider than 40mm – are the norm nowadays for men, the only reason why watch companies are still making small- sized watches is to sell them to women and children (gasp! they won’t even leave the young ‘uns alone). Sure they usually call these boys’ size or baby size or wot, but make no mistake about it, the whole purpose is to hawk them off to the fairer sex.

One of these would be the Cartier Santos Galbee. Once considered amongst the most elegant of watches for men, this always-hard-to-find 33mm classic has been steadily gaining popularity amongst the ladies. There are quartz and automatic versions, but its the latter that’s gotten our commentator’s eye. “The Galbee is great for real women!!!” says Andrelina. “Not as butch as a Panerai of course, and not as old and boring as a Rolex. Perfect for work or evening-wear, although I mostly spend my evenings at home with my 23 cats, if you know what I mean.”

Indeed. The latest of the Galbee line bears the distinctive trademarks of the Santos: polished studded bezel, slanted roman numerals reminiscent of the art deco age (to remind you that the Santos’ pedigree dates back to the 1920s). This one comes with a little date window between the IV and V o’clock positions, one of the smaller Santos-es that comes with a date: you’d have to go all the way up to the monster 45mm Santos 100 Chronographs to find that feature again. Between the Santos 100 and the Galbee, we can discern that the 100 was Cartier’s attempt to inject a huge dose of sporty testosterone into the Santos line, while the Galbee has developed more closely along the path of the original Santos. Think of the 100 as Cartier’s Royal Oak Offshore attempt and the Galbee as the Royal Oak.

aah... the curves!

“I’ve been seeing lots of girls wearing Panerais (especially the 45mm models) but to me it’s too in-your-face,” explained our consultant again. “Sure you want to project that image of power but you don’t wanna look like you’re trying too hard. The Galbee is the exact opposite. Its so laid-back and casual cool, yet it gives off just that hint of masculinity. Those blue hands are so cool against the white dial, and that bracelet… its so smooth, well made and studded, just the way I like them.”

But there’s just one slight issue – Cartier makes ladies’ watches too, and their Tank line boasts models that are not only cool, but have a pedigree to match as well. On this, Andrelina has one final thing to say: “Shut up! I just prefer wearing men’s watches!”


Cartier Santos Galbee XL Steel Men’s Watch, reference W20098D6, Cartier Automatic Winding Calibre 049 (ETA 2892-2 base), Stainless steel with bracelet, 33mm case diameter, Sapphire Crystal Glass, Recommend Retail Price S$7290.00

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