Apr 29, 2017
A thrilling collection of Cartier panthers stalked the halls of SIHH – watches that, like big cats, take forms perfectly adapted to their function, their elegance being a manifestation of their efficiency. The 2017 Panthère de Cartier watch, descended from an iconic quartz timepiece of the 1980s, is ideally suited to the woman of today. It is a timeless classic, refined yet assertive.
The Panthère de Cartier is beautiful, yet moulds itself comfortably to the contours of the wrist. It comes in two sizes, small and medium. The range is expected to include a large model eventually. It is offered in a variety of metals or combinations of metals: yellow gold, pink gold, pink gold with black lacquer markings, stainless steel, and stainless steel with yellow gold. A diamond pavé bezel is an option. One model is set with diamonds all over and has black enamel markings.
Let Pierre Rainero, Image, Style and Heritage Director at Cartier tell you all about the highlights in less than 3 minutes:
Everything that made the watch a favourite in 1984 remains. The case is still square, with its signature bezel rivets. The dial is still white, with its black Roman numerals. The railway track index is still there, and so is the tiny Cartier logo forming one stroke of the numeral X. This watch is a panther not only by name. Its sinuous grace makes it a panther by nature.
Among the 20 high jewellery pieces shown by Cartier at SIHH were other watches that claim kinship with big cats more expressly. The Cartier Exceptional Watches collection includes the Ronde Louis Cartier watch, which depicts a magnificent panther surrounded by a baguette diamond pavé bezel. The lifelike panther head, in a palette of vibrant colours, is created by a technique that heats the solid gold dial disc until it turns blue and then lets it cool, over and over again. Only 30 examples of the Ronde Louis Cartier watch are being offered for sale.
The Cartier Panthère Joyeuse watch, set with 255 brilliant-cut diamonds, depicts an emerald-eyed panther. The young cat’s mischievous aspect becomes a playful countenance when it extends its paw to swipe at a ball. The paw indicates the hours and the ball the minutes. The panther emerges from the watch face to reach out for the ball as it goes round the dial, but never succeeds in catching it. The watch is 18k white gold, adorned with diamonds, black lacquer and emeralds. One version has a strap set with six carats of diamonds instead of the standard white alligator strap.
The Drive de Cartier collection includes a Panther Décor watch. The watch bears a representation of a panther created by hand-engraving and enamelling, the image being so fine that individual hairs can be discerned on the animal. The panther looks out from the dial with baleful eyes of gold that catch your own. It is a golden creature, set against a golden background. The cat’s gold and black colours bleed off the watch face onto the 41mm case.
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The Clé de Cartier watch, a 40mm model with diamond bezel, has a Panther Décor version. The emerald eyes of the panther on the sparkling aventurine watch face look out at you over its shoulder. The Panthère Royale watch recalls to mind a brooch Cartier made for the Duchess of Windsor. The diamond panther sits triumphantly atop the dial, against a background of diamond concentric circles. The Cartier high jewellery collection includes a panther bracelet watch set wholly with diamonds and sapphires.
It may be a contradiction in terms to speak of affordable Cartier, but at SIHH the watchmaker presented two collections of watches that were, let’s say, less expensive than usual. One is the Panthère de Cartier collection and the other the latest Drive de Cartier collection.
The Drive de Cartier collection was introduced only last year and the charming cushion shape of the watches made it an instant hit. The spirit of the collection is aesthetic versatility, the pieces being suitable for work and play alike. This year the collection has two additions: the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat and the Drive de Cartier with Moon Phases. Both are available in 18k pink gold or stainless steel. The Extra-Flat is slightly less than 7mm thick and is 39mm in diameter.
The crown is ornamented with a Cartier cabochon sapphire. The dial is silver with a guilloché centre bordered by the minutes ring, with black Roman numerals for the hours on the outer rim. The moon phase indicator of the Moon Phases model is a circular aperture at 6 o’clock.
Buyer beware: 125 years from now, you will need to adjust the moon phase by one day.