Almost since the beginnings of Cartier, this watch brand has been associated with panthers. It is an animal that they have sued for inspiration in many models of their watches. Despite using the panther regularly in their designs, it has not stopped them from finding new ways to interpret the beauty of the panther and translate this into their watch designs. This is certainly the case with their new watch, the playfully elegant Cartier Rencontre de Panthères. Cartier first introduced this watch as the SIHH 2018.
This watch, which measures 42 millimeters, features the heads of two panthers. The design makes them appear as though they are fighting around a ring at the central point of the watch dial. The panthers rotate in circles as though neither one is willing to give up the fight.
The design of the panthers is stunning as they feature marquis-cut emerald eyes and black spots painted with black lacquer. Both the panthers and the watch feature a staggering 288 brilliant cut diamonds. The panthers are more than just a visual design feature, though. Their functional purpose is to act as the oscillating weight through their motion as they are connected to the automatic caliber 9603 MC. Put simply, these oscillations charge the barrel that keeps time beating on the watch.
The watch case design is also noteworthy for its spectacular beauty. Crafted from 18-carat white gold, the case features a pave setting made of brilliant cut diamonds. To achieve this is quite complicated due to the rounded shape of the case, which the diamonds closely follow. In total, there are 399 diamonds included in this pave setting which is equal to 5.76 carats in weight. This is not the only diamond studded feature of the watch. The clap is also adorned with 43 diamonds, the equivalent to 0.42 carat, and the sides of the Vendome-lugs and the crown are also set with the precious gems.
The fact that this watch features Vendome-lugs is also a point worth talking about. This feature of a watch was originally designed by Louis Cartier in 1943 and he had the design patented. However, he did not use this feature much himself and the patent eventually expired in 1949. They were then used by Pierre Arpels in the design of his watches. It was only after the patent expired and the feature was being used by other watch designers that Cartier began to use Vendome-lugs himself. They now feature extensively in many Cartier watches.
While beauty is a key point of this watch’s design, it is also very practical. The arrow-shaped hands are rhodium plated and reading the time is easy as they are set against a black background. It is great that Cartier has remembered what other watch designers sometimes forget; while people like their watch to attract attention, they also want to be able to use it for its intended purpose.
While the panther is the key inspiration for this watch, hence its name, the panther is not the only animal that has acted as an inspiration for the design. The watch straps are made from semi-matte alligator and an additional strap is included with the purchase in shiny green alligator. This means the buyer can switch the straps to adapt the watch in accordance with their wardrobe or the type of event they are attending. Their choice may also depend simply on personal preferences.
The panther has played a key role in the designs of watches at Cartier since 1914 when it first appeared on the Panthère Lovée. Since then, the feline has taken on many forms when it has become part of a watch design and the watchmakers at Cartier have demonstrated their talents in the way they have incorporated this majestic animal. One feature that has remained the same in panther designs at Cartier is the emerald eyes.
Of course, a watch that is so beautifully designed and is made of such luxurious components comes at a price. A price tag of $192,000, to be exact. Although it is not part of a limited-edition series of watches, Cartier is limiting production of the Cartier Rencontre de Panthères to ensure exclusivity. Cartier has not revealed exactly how many they plan to make of this particular design.