All right, the moment is here. My time has finally come to choose and tell you about my “go anywhere, do anything” watch. I’ve tried to postpone this decision because I feel it’s a very difficult one to make. After all, I feel like different occasions ask for a different watch on the wrist. That’s exactly why I and so many others don’t own just one but various types of watches. But if I had to choose my one and only GADA watch, it would be my very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL reference 2823.

The other watch in my collection that I could’ve gone for was the Rolex Explorer 114270. And as it was so hard to choose between these two watches, I even asked you, dear Fratelli, to help me out. But the result of that face-off didn’t end up helping me very much. As it stands, the poll underneath the article is still stuck at 51-49%. Admittedly, the Santos currently has the lead, but I don’t think that we can designate a clear winner. Therefore, in the end, it’s still going to be me who makes the final judgment here. And purely because of how the Santos suits my style, I just have to choose that one as my GADA watch.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

Unexpectedly versatile

Whenever people ask me which of my watches is my favorite, I always tell them it’s the Santos. As I said in the subtitle, it has the perfect blend of sportiness, elegance, and comfort for me. And that same blend describes my overall style very well. I often wear jeans with an Oxford shirt and semiformal shoes or sneakers. The Santos just works so well with that vibe, I feel. And I expected it to match my style, of course. That’s why I bought it. But I never thought it would be such a versatile watch.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

I always think of Cartier as one of the more formal brands. Many Cartier watches are made of precious metals and worn on leather straps, and the signature Roman numerals are certainly not what I’d call “casual.” But in comes the Santos with its almost-integrated stainless steel bracelet and rugged case. It’s almost like Cartier’s version of a luxury SUV. It’s elegant when it needs to be, but it’s also very capable, and it can handle many different kinds of situations.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

It stands out in a good way

I’ve worn this watch to weddings, around the office, while going out, on vacations…basically anywhere. And I’ve never had the feeling that it didn’t look appropriate. Even on its bracelet, I still feel that it can handle more formal settings. That’s because its square shape and the Roman numerals on the silver dial make it look formal enough. And even if it does stand out a bit, it stands out in a positive, elegant way. That’s also thanks to the way it fits my 17cm wrist.

In my opinion, its size is just right. Again, it looks sporty because of its slab sides, so it has just about the right amount of toughness for me. But it’s also under 10mm thick, so it never feels like it’s too much or obnoxious. And because of the lug-to-lug distance of about 45mm and the way the very well-made bracelet wraps itself around my wrist, it sometimes looks more like a bracelet than a watch. Furthermore, in addition to looking so good, the Santos Galbée is one of my most comfortable watches.

It connects itself to my wrist

The Santos bracelet doesn’t allow for micro-adjustments, but the links are so short that simply adding or removing one does the trick. As soon as I put the Santos on my wrist, I immediately feel the entire backside of the watch and its lugs hugging my arm. It really connects itself to my wrist. Then I close the fully concealed butterfly clasp with two firm clicks, and it just feels like an extension of my skin. It doesn’t move around much, but it doesn’t feel too tight either. This watch fits me just right.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

And because of its slender profile, it slips easily underneath any cuff. It also rarely gets caught on anything, yet it still has enough body and character to look good while wearing a thicker sweater instead of a shirt. That’s why the Santos works both in summer and winter. I don’t feel there’s any season it can’t handle. Although there’s one situation I still don’t dare to put my Santos through — swimming.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

Yes, I could

I know it’s supposed to be able to handle pressure equivalent to 100 meters underwater. I even got the gasket replaced recently, so I’m not afraid to bring it close to any source of water. But still, since it doesn’t have a screw-down crown, I don’t feel comfortable enough to take it for a dive. Maybe I should just get it pressure-checked once to see whether it can handle it. I guess I’ll ask my watchmaker to do so at its next service. But until then, I’ll just take it off whenever I go swimming.

So does that disqualify the Cartier Santos Galbée XL from being my GADA watch? I don’t think so. I’ll still bring my Santos on holiday with me. I just won’t wear it while swimming. Indeed, I would go swimming with my Explorer, but I just feel like the Santos is more “me,” so that’s why I prefer it.

What do you think? I guess the Santos isn’t your typical GADA watch, but does it make sense to you? Let me know in the comments below.

You can also find and follow me on Instagram: @fliptheparrot