Beat the global roaming rip-off: buy an overseas SIM in Australia

Beat the global roaming rip-off: buy an overseas SIM in Australia

While Australian mobile carriers continue to slash the cost of global roaming, the best value is still a prepaid SIM card from the country you're visiting – and it's now possible to pick one up before leaving Australian soil.

Recently opened at Melbourne International Airport and with similar stores at Sydney Airport and online, retailer SimCorner stocks SIM cards from a number of countries including the USA, China, Hong Kong, the UK and New Zealand.

Using local mobile phone SIM cards has long been a favourite trick of savvy jetsetters looking to keep in touch with the office, friends and loved ones back home – and when shopping with SimCorner, you could actually pay less than you would abroad for the same pre-paid plan.

We checked out SimCorner’s prices and how they compare to buying the same SIM in its home country – here’s what we found.

SIM cards for the United States

For the United States, SimCorner stocks a range of regular T-Mobile SIMs plus a couple of Red Pocket data-only SIMs for use in iPads, portable hotspots and USB modems.

SimCorner sells the T-Mobile SIMs at face value in Australian dollars – so if you’d normally pay US$50 for a pre-paid SIM in the USA, you’ll only part with A$50 for the same product at SimCorner.

Better yet, T-Mobile normally charges a US$10 fee to purchase the SIM on top of your first pre-paid plan, but that’s also waived at SimCorner.

Looking at the data-only plans with Red Pocket, you’ll part with A$35 for an unlimited data SIM (3GB at up to 4G speeds, then throttled to 2G speed). Buying the SIM and plan directly from Red Pocket sets you back US$30, plus a US$9.99 fee for the SIM itself (roughly A$43.50).

That's an overall saving of A$8.50, with the added bonus of being able to use it from the moment you land without losing any time from your hectic business trip or well-earned holiday.

SIM cards for the UK and Europe

Over in the United Kingdom, you’ll pay a little more for the convenience of having your SIM before you arrive.

While SimCorner’s Lebara SIM comes in at A$25, we found comparable Lebara pre-paid plans available for just £10 (~A$17.50) in the UK, which included a free SIM and can be found at most newsagents, convenience stores and major retailers.

Twenty five dollars gets you a solid 2GB of data, or you can choose to trade some of that data for calls and SMS credit when activating your SIM.

For balanced phone users, we'd suggest the mix of 500 minutes of local calls, unlimited SMS, 102 minutes of talk time to Australia numbers and 500MB of downloads instead of the straight 2GB chunk, which is best put to use in tablets and portable hotspots.

Or, when connecting onwards within Europe, the pre-paid WorldSIM could take your fancy at just A$30 through SimCorner, complete with US$20 of credit to get you started.

Buy your WorldSIM at SimCorner's Sydney Airport store...

You’d normally fork out US$49.99 for the SIM card and a lower US$15 of credit – making SimCorner cheaper and better value than buying the product direct from the WorldSIM website.

It's only US$0.35 per minute to call home to Australia from major European destinations such as France, Italy and Germany and Austria, and US$0.30 per MB of data.

Sending SMS messages isn't as cheap – you'll pay US$0.59 to text back home to Australia from the same countries, so we'd suggest using Apple's iMessage service to text using the data connection for a fraction of what you'd pay for a standard SMS text.

Crunching the numbers, your initial $20 credit gets you either 57 minutes of calls to Australia, 66MB of data or 33 Australia-bound SMS messages. That's not overly flash on a per-country basis, but that's still up to 89% less than you'd be slugged by roaming with Telstra across Europe.

Travelling further afield?

SimCorner also stocks SIMs for France, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand, but as we’ve found above, always check that you’re getting the best deal.

If you’re happy to pay a premium for the convenience of being set-up before your plane leaves the runway in Australia, you can also order your SIM via the SimCorner website.

You’ll pay an $8.50 delivery fee, but if it saves you hunting down mobile phone retailers and comparing mobile plans on the fly, it could well be worth it.

More on global roaming:

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

18 Comments

  • moa999

    moa999

    23 Sep, 2014 10:59 am

    Good article.

    Simcorner website seems to be down. Where in SYD departures is the Sydney store?

    Whilst Virgin's $5 a day roaming is the best deal domestically - given you can get near unlimited prepaid in Asian countries for about $10 and $20-30 in Europe/US, local SIMs are the way to go to save money -- even better if you have a dual SIM phone.

    For Japan, I also note that b-mobile has just launched a combined voice/data SIM, but it is still expensive at Y9980 (about A$100) for 7-days.

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  • David Flynn

    David

    27 Sep, 2014 12:10 pm

    Hi moa999 - in Sydney's T1, the SIMcorner stand is along that connector between the central 'attrium' part of the airport with the Qantas lounges etc (which you first enter after coming through security and the duty-free maze) and the gates used by SQ, AirNZ, Etihad, Thai etc.

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  • Peter Cain

    Peter Cain

    23 Sep, 2014 12:15 pm

    As someone who deals in local and roaming SIM cards all day (I run a SIM retailer based in Melbourne), I'd add that T-Mobile is probably not known to have the best speed/coverage outside a few of the biggest cities. I do sell both AT&T and T-Mobile, but ATT has far superior coverage and speed. Also note, that whilst the WorldSIM might have some OK call/SMS rates, be carefull on the data pricing. When I look at the site just now, they are pricing in $ per 100kb - that obviously isn't per MB (yes, lots of people get caught out on that). Great to have a last minute service at the airport, but as always do your research (online) so you don't get caught out and have it all sorted before you leave home (& free shipping is never a bad thing either! :-).

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  • Julie Sufi

    Julie Sufi

    23 Sep, 2014 12:55 pm

    I recently travelled to the USA for a business trip, and purchased a couple PrePaid Sim Cards from SimCorner. I was really impressed with the entire service from the Get Go. As soon as I landed into L.A, I switched my phone on, and started receiving emails, updates and notifications straight away. I was most happy with the generous data allowance. I used it to hot spot from my lap top when I was on the road, constantly was on the phone checking emails and updates etc. I didn’t even need to use the Hotel wifi, as the Sim cards from Sim Corner had much better coverage than the wifi in the hotel.

    My colleagues also got Sim Cards from Sim Corner, which made a huge difference in being able to communicate with each other during our trip. Travelling from L.A, to New York to San Fran Sisco, the coverage was fantastic at every point of the way. Its a fantastic solution to global roaming.

     I travelled to the UK for a work trip previously, and had to activate global roaming through my carrier for only 2 weeks, with minimal data, text and incoming calls/voicemails, I came back to a bill of $3,000! A mistake never to be made again.

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  • Damian88

    Damian88

    23 Sep, 2014 01:01 pm

    I've already used these guys before for there T-Mobile USA sim for my second trip to the USA. Worked perfectly! I was in Vegas, LA, MIami and NY and had no issues.

    The first time I went it was such a headache getting a sim card there, the journalist has obviously done his research because when i went to the USA the first time they charged me $20 for the sim. Some of my other mates purchased USA sims from a different location in the USA and literally every store charges different prices for the sim. So annnoying!!! Some stores wouldn't even sell you a sim card on its own and that you had to get a phone as well :S.

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  • MissBasset

    MissBasset

    23 Sep, 2014 10:51 pm

    In the US T-Mobile only offer a plan (one month) for $10 for unlimited international calls and SMS as an add-on to the $50 minimum plan which allows unlimited calls, SMS, and some data too I suppose.   The major downsides to the International component is that you can only call landlines, and cannot receive calls from Australia or wherever, but can receive SMS. You need to check every little detail with any plan you are buying.

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  • MissBasset

    MissBasset

    27 Sep, 2014 12:34 pm

    Does SIMcorner have this T-Mobile product, or similar, where it is possible for someone in Aust. to ring and SMS the T-Mobile number? No-one seems to be clear on this!

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  • Cedric Johnston

    Cedric

    23 Sep, 2014 01:27 pm

    I have friends who have used the USA SIM card from simcorner. They couldn't have been happier with the service and quality. I personally have been looking at simcards as well and have done extensive research, travellers should be weary of sites charging for blank simcards with no credit in them. Simcorner have local plans ready to go and the simcards are free! Will definitely order mine soon. 

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  • wdeguara

    wdeguara

    23 Sep, 2014 01:49 pm

    Do the sim cards offered by SimCorner allow for connection tethering ?  (eg. If you have a SimCorner sim card in your iPhone and wish to create a 'personal hotspot' for your iPad/laptop connectivity). 

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  • Cedric Johnston

    Cedric

    23 Sep, 2014 02:19 pm

    They sell local SIM cards so it varies from country to country. One of the  USA plans , from what I know, gives you 5gb of 4g data 

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  • nix584

    nix584

    24 Sep, 2014 08:45 am

    Every time I go overseas I get a SIM for the country I'm visiting. On my last trip I ended up with 5 SIM cards!

    There are other websites based in Australia who can provide cards for the US, UK, Germany, Hong Kong and Thailand. It's super easy to get a Starhub SIM on arrival in SIN and a True Mobile SIM in Thailand is cheap as chips with what seems to be unlimited data. the 2 Degrees SIM for NZ is a great deal too. I have used T-Mobile before and they were great but my last US trip I had an AT&T SIM and was very impressed.

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  • MissBasset

    MissBasset

    24 Sep, 2014 09:04 am

    Hi nix584.  How did making and receiving international calls work out on the AT&T SIM?  Could you make calls to mobiles in Aust?  I'm not so interested in the data aspect.

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  • Peter Cain

    Peter Cain

    24 Sep, 2014 11:26 am

    Hi MissBasset, AT&T charges calls to Aust mobiles at about $1.09/min, and that requires credit above what you pay for the plan. They also have a $5=250min international call pack, but that only covers landlines in Aust ... but to be honest, obviously depends on preference and cost sensitivity, but a big % of people these days are using the fast/cheap data to make calls using apps like Skype/Viber/WhatsApp. As I mentioned above, AT&T has much faster data to allow this. T-Mobile speed/coverage (based on first hand experience and from plenty of customers), is very poor outside the big cities. Also just to clarify the  (my comment above was getting down voted form some reason?.. it wasn't being directed at SIM corner, instead at T-Mobile in US), but the reason is most of T-Mobile's coverage is on bandwiths that are incompatible with phones from outside the US.. yes they do have some coverage on compatible bands, but these are limited and hence why the poor reception/speeds, particularly relative to AT&T which runs on GSM compatible bands for foreign phones. 

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  • MissBasset

    MissBasset

    24 Sep, 2014 11:54 am

    Yep, I agree re T-Mobile coverage in US, but not really a bother for me as mainly in NYC. The biggest bugbear is not being able to receive any calls from home, only SMS. A bit primative to get an SMS saying "Please ring me now!" Definately need to look at other options before I travel next week!

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  • Peter Cain

    Peter Cain

    24 Sep, 2014 12:03 pm

    Both should allow you to receive calls in US from Aust no problem (the caller in Aust is paying to call you, and you just need local call tiime to receive), but making outbound calls from US number is where costs do apply. Also, side point, AT&T give unlimited international SMS in all their plans, think its is charged at a small rate on T-Mobile. Either way, most find fast/reliable data combined with Apps like WhatsApp/skype a good work around to high telco costs, but yes, do home work and find right solution that suits :-)

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  • Nic Jay

    jnic

    25 Apr, 2015 01:27 pm

    Bought 2x AT&T USA SIMS before travelling to the US last year (after previously giving up aquiring SIMs over there and wound up drinking much Starbucks coffee to get free wi-fi access).

    The guy from E-Bay (Australian vendor) sent an EXCELLENT set of instructions along with the SIMs, which included specific details of what to do .... and also what to do when those inevitable error messages pop up, resulting in (almost) perfect coverage everywhere we went. The one anomally was where the phones locked onto some unknown carrier instead of AT&T, it didn't have any associated data capability and took me multiple attemts to manually re-attach to AT&T once I had realised the error.

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  • peterd49

    peterd49

    20 Jul, 2015 09:40 pm

    I've read the reviews on Lebara and none have anything good to say. Any comments?

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  • thiago thiago

    72ericjoh

    30 Oct, 2015 10:23 am

    I've been to Lithuania but it was my only visit to Europe so i can't compare but phone services really didn't cost £10 over there as said in this article. Although it might be because I was using local prepaid card, they are cheaper. The first day I bought ezys.lt prepaid sim card and i think it is wise to do so in every country.

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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:10 pm

Which Qantas lounges can Air New Zealand Airpoints frequent flyer use?

Which Qantas lounges can Air New Zealand Airpoints frequent flyer use?

Air New Zealand's Airpoints frequent flyers will enjoy have access to Qantas Clubs around Australia under the newly-forged alliance between the two airlines.

As of October 28, 2018, Airpoints Elite and Gold members booked on a codeshare flight with Qantas will find the doors swing open for them at the two dozen Qantas Club lounges in Australia's capital cities and regional centres. They'll also be permitted to bring in one guest.

But it won't be as easy as flashing your shiny Airpoints card, as the following conditions apply:

  1. you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
  2. it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
  3. and this must be booked as part of a trans-Tasman booking

This arrangement replaces Airpoints access to Virgin Australia lounges following the dramatic bust-up between the two former allies.

However, there appears to be no Qantas Club lounge access for Koru Club members, nor can AirNZ frequent flyers cool their heels in the more upmarket Qantas Business lounges.

The Qantas / Air New Zealand alliance covers selected flights on the domestic network of each airline, however trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.

Read more: Qantas, Air New Zealand alliance will take on Virgin Australia

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

4 Comments

  • henrus

    henrus

    20 Jul, 2018 05:31 pm

    Doesn't it seem a bit odd that Koru club won't get access (something that the VA deal provided) . I guess there will be no access for QF Club cardholders in NZ either?
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  • aviation

    aviation

    21 Jul, 2018 09:27 am

    Correct, it's reciprocal in that QF Club card holders can't use NZ lounges. The VA deal was very unique as they were the only partner lounges Koru members could access without actually flying Air NZ.
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  • Uqsthom6

    Uqsthom6

    21 Jul, 2018 08:05 am

    Looks like air nz ff get the raw end of the deal
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  • aviation

    aviation

    21 Jul, 2018 08:31 am

    Thanks for the article, however, there are a few errors.
    1. It's not really an alliance, but a straight domestic codeshare agreement. Alliance to me suggests coordination on pricing, schedules, etc, of which is there is none of.
    2. Some codeshare flights on Qantas are in the NZ1xxx range too (namely the triangle routes)
    3. The codeshare flight can be used for any international journey originating in Australia, not just trans-Tasman (i.e. you could fly CBR-SYD-AKL-LAX or MEL-SYD-RAR)
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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:10 pm

What you can expect from Cathay's new business class dining concept

What you can expect from Cathay's new business class dining concept

Cathay Pacific will roll out its new 'business class dining concept' this month, with the meal service taking a step closer to a first class experience.

Meals will be individually plated and delivered to passengers by hand rather than by trolley, as the airline adopts more personalised and upmarket approach.

Cathay also expects this will result in a "quieter and calmer cabin environment", especially on late night flights.

Passengers will have a choice between three appetisers and "up to six main course choices" on flights over ten hours in the initial launch of the service to the likes of Chicago (on July 30), London/Gatwick (in August) followed by Frankfurt, Manchester and Washington DC (September); Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg (October), Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona (November) and London/Heathrow (December). 

And, being very much on trend, light and healthy 'wellbeing options' feature in every main course.

On flights from Hong Kong the menu will be changed every month, with a quarterly menu refresh for flights to Hong Kong.

Fights from Hong Kong (but not, for now, the return leg) will also see a new range of Hong Kong Favourites inspired by local dishes, such as

  • Hong Kong char siu pork with egg noodles, seasoned soy sauce, spring onion and ginger (shown below)
  • Wok fried seafood in lobster soup with ginger, spring onion, crispy and steamed rice
  • Beef brisket with flat rice noodle soup
  • Mango with pomelo and sago

But before all that eatings starts, business class passengers will notice the new-look menus.

Printed as eight pages on quality paper, they not only detail the meals and drinks available on that flight but include foodie-friendly articles such as 'Anatomy of a Laksa' and feature a local chef revealing their favourite eateries both in Hong Kong and around thr world.

There will also be a breakfast menu card which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.

However, these are set menus rather than allowing travellers to pick-and-mix from a wide selection of items.

In addition to what's described as 'traditional' Chinese and Western breakfasts, there's also a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.

Refreshments will be revamped as a selection of 'most loved dishes' available throughout the flight as a snack between meals on services to North America and Europe, including the airline's signature burger and popular soup noodles. These will also appear on the main meal menu.

Next year will see Cathay's 'new business class dining concept' extend to medium-distance routes, with plans to include Sydney and Auckland in February 2019 and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Perth in May 2019.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

10 Comments

  • Skipp

    Skipp

    20 Jul, 2018 12:48 pm

    Look forward to the new meal service in business class coming within the next 12 months - it will make a nice change.
    I just hope (for the future) that Cathay Pacific will stop serving the exact same economy class meals in "Premium" economy class.
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  • MissBasset

    MissBasset

    20 Jul, 2018 01:34 pm

    Why bother with the white linen tablecloth if they are serving it on a plastic cafeteria tray? The promo pictures show all set up to eat off the tray. Euww.. I will take it all off the tray and set it up like other airlines J class. FAIL for presentation, CX.
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  • mrj

    mrj

    20 Jul, 2018 02:42 pm

    I recently suggested to Cathay that their business classs food is amongst the worst of all airlines. Interestingly their response failed to mention this planned revamp.
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  • AADFW

    AADFW

    20 Jul, 2018 02:57 pm

    I'm really glad they're going back to classy, glossy paper stock for the menus versus the uncoated groundwood paper they switched to a few years back. Now if they would only bring back that trademark chocolate box at the end of the meal...
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  • David Flynn

    David

    20 Jul, 2018 03:25 pm

    I was on CX a few weeks back and the chocolates made an appearance on every flight...
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  • Manjit Sadhwani

    Manjit Sadhwani

    20 Jul, 2018 03:19 pm

    It's about time
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  • HKAus

    HKAus

    20 Jul, 2018 03:41 pm

    CX Catering is bar far the most outdated and leaves an overall cheap and poor guest experience of most International airliners. CX have unfortunately chosen over the last decade to reduce their overheads where guests can see and feel the difference. Personally after 5 years as a Diamond CX member I have moved to competitors; poor catering, moody crew members, consistently delayed flights (due to over use of planes with no margin for delays) and ridiculous pricing have enabled me to now enjoy such operators as KLM, Virgin Australia, Qantas & Lufthansa; all with an overall better "J"Class experience. Interestingly as a result of my change in travel I was dropped to Gold and this year even though I should have dropped another tier, they obviously are trying to get pax like myself back because they extended my gold status.
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  • Rkwm

    Rkwm

    20 Jul, 2018 04:39 pm

    It was taken CX far too long to make changes to the atrocious F&B that has annoyed their long term supporters . The plastic cafeteria tray certainly brings the enhancements down a few levels can’t, understsnd who approved this inclusion . Totally agree with HKAus, supported CX for over two decades but over the last two years the deterioration in service , punctuality and value has been palpable.


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  • Tony OBERON

    obi

    20 Jul, 2018 04:48 pm

    Looks marginally better - but CX are you seriously going to use a plastic tray? At least put a cloth on the tray - if for no other reasons than hygiene! I’m a germophobe and I cringe to see cutlery sitting on a plastic tray, which cannot be washed at the same high temps as crockery. Lysteria et al here we come.
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  • JOHN MEWETT

    mewettjohn

    21 Jul, 2018 11:33 am

    I think everyone who travels Cathay agrees that the dining experience had to be upgraded, this looks the goods.
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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:10 pm

 Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Cartier Santos: the original pilot's watch, reimagined

Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.

The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.

The story

As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.

In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.

The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.

(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)

The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.

The style

For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.

The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.

The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.

The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.

The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.

Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.

While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.

The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.

The details

• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit www.au.cartier.com.

Jason Swire

Jason Swire (Jason Swire)

[email protected] /

Jason Swire is a Sydney-based writer, watch collector and author of 'Timely Advice', a beginner's guide to fine timepieces. His non-watch passions include hi-fi and whiskey, in that order.
 

0 Comment

Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:10 pm

Finnair flicks the switch on free WiFi for European flights

Finnair flicks the switch on free WiFi for European flights

Finnair will launch inflight Internet on its European flights this week, with travellers able to enjoy the high-speed satellite service free of charge during a two-month trial period running through to the end of September.

The Oneworld airline has already outfitted six of its single-aisle Airbus jets with technology provided through partner Viasat, which also provided the backbone for Qantas' Australia-wide WiFi system.

By the end of northern summer some 20 aircraft will be upgraded, with Finnair's entire single-aisle Airbus fleet slated for WiFi by mid-2019.

The system will be available on a gate-to-gate basis, so passengers won't even need to wait for their jet to reach level flight – which will maximise time online for many of Finnair's relatively short European hops.

However, parts of some European routes will present black spots to the satellite network, including above the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, while some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia.

Over the two-month testing period Finnair intends to "gather information on system functionality and feedback on the overall customer experience."

"In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimise our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviours," explains Viasat vice-president Don Buchman.

The airline has yet to reveal what pricing it will charge for its sky-high WiFi once the trial period ends, although frequent flyers will no doubt hope that some sort of monthly pass is available as an alternative to paying on a per-flight basis.

Finnair already offers WiFi on its long-range 'intercontinental' jets, with the first hour free for business class and Finnair Plus Gold members, then €3 (A$4.70) for three hours or €20 (A$31) for the entire flight. Finnair Plus Platinum frequent flyers are provided with free Internet access for the whole flight.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

2 Comments

  • eight10man

    eight10man

    20 Jul, 2018 06:19 pm

    Not sure how you can have black spots when using satellite internet.. especially when those black spots happen to be above the sea. Could it be this system is actually and ground-to-ground system maybe?
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  • readosunnycoast

    readosunnycoast

    20 Jul, 2018 10:35 pm

    Just flew BKK>>>HEL, A350 with wifi. Couldnt get a connection of any sort. Just kept message, don’t close the browser. I do hope it gets better for the next lot of passengers
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Guest

21 Jul, 2018 12:10 pm

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