It is hard not to be seduced by the sleekness of a wild cat, specifically the panther with its mysterious dark coat, glowing eyes and veiled pattern of rosettes. Referred to by some as the ghost of the forest, they are fascinating to watch while demonstrating great stealth on the prowl or even simply lounging on the branch of a tree, tails hanging lazily down like a vine against the sun.
For years, Cartier has tapped into the animal’s universal appeal, bestowing its high jewellery and watches with feline grace and majesty. And as these gorgeous creations from Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2018 prove, the aesthetic can only look better and better.
Panthère Hypnose pendant watch
Celebrating the incredible power of hypnosis, the mesmerising effects of depth and the inconceivable magic of a movement that appears to float in mid-air, Cartier’s master watchmakers and jewellers boldly venture into unknown territory with the gem-encrusted Panthère Hypnose pendant watch.
The brand’s signature skeleton movement takes the form of a panther’s head, surrounded by rippling waves that wash over superposed crystals. Measuring a mere 0.6 mm, these are edged in diamonds. Note how the cascade of transparent layers adds depth to the timepiece.
Truly riveting, the panther’s emerald eyes gleam brightly against the diamond paving and openwork. At the same time, the complex geometry of its diamond-paved structures perfectly portrays exceptional mastery of heritage skills, from manufacturing and cutting to assembling sapphire crystals along with the majestic house of the mechanism.
While the essential hours and minutes complication is traditionally masculine, this particular creation is decidedly feminine as reflected in the choice of luxurious materials and the softer gesture required for reading the time. With the positioning of the 12 o’clock hour marker on the panther’s onyx nose, the wearer must tilt the pendant upwards in order to check the time.
Adorning the chain and pendant is the bejewelled signature of a 6.65-carat sugarloaf cabochon emerald from Zambia, two cabochon emeralds (1.43 carats), two baguette-cut diamonds (0.56 carats) and 1,269 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 17.94 carats. In addition, the gem-set bridges are delicately fashioned of white gold instead of the alloy that is more typically used in watchmaking.
A labour of love, this one-of-a-kind piece took over 2,200 hours to produce. Manually wound, it is powered by the Calibre 9613 MC mechanical movement.
Panthere Savane High Jewellery wristwatch
Here the panther is seen languorously stretched as though preparing for delicious slumber after a long hunt. It encircles the wrist, showing off its powerful silhouette, dotted with onyx across its diamond coat. Piercing emerald eyes and raised ears take in its hushed surroundings, ever alert.
What stands out when it comes to this particular piece is the evident expertise of the maison’s jewellers. The panther’s anatomical realism discreetly incorporates the diminutive calibre 101, a manually wound mechanical movement, within a body of white gold and brilliant-cut diamonds.
Panthere Duo High Jewellery wristwatch
Predatory yet playful and affectionate, the two panthers on this dazzling quartz number have a new role as guardians of time, securing the dial between their paws. Rigorously symmetrical in design, the mirror-like composition shows the twin felines in wondrous complementarity. Crafted of white gold, consider how the emerald eyes and onyx spots beautifully offset the brilliant-cut diamonds.
Panthere Line High Jewellery wristwatch
This quartz timepiece marries two of the maison’s emblematic codes: a spectacular shaped watch and a panther’s exotic pelt. We love how the rectangular dial blends seamlessly with the clean lines of the bracelet, and how the links are dressed in a lavish spotted coat. White gold provides the perfect backdrop for a visual dream of black jade, black lacquer and brilliant-cut diamonds.
Psyche High Jewellery wristwatch
The panther’s form may not be visible on this quartz watch yet Cartier has cultivated the animal’s essential characteristics. Similar to the feline’s easy-going nature, excessive detail and effusive motifs are eliminated and the structure becomes as supple as that of the agile hunter.
The apparent simplicity of a pure design demands rigour and balance, such as that exemplified by a wild cat as it leaps and bounds through the forest. At once timeless and elegant, rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds add light to its white gold landscape.