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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Unbroken success as both jeweller and watchmaker such as what Cartier can boast is rather unique. Therefore, one of the ultimate highlights of SIHH is the visit at the Maison.

The company introduced a number of novelties in three main lines: the Panthére De Cartier has made a comeback in 2017, the Drive defined last year went even slimmer and of course, exceptional new creations emerged, too.

We walk with the Panthére in this article, and take a closer look at a few exceptional mechanical pieces in another. Come with us!

The Panthére motif

Symbols are an important part of the created worlds of famous Maisons. What the butterfly is for Van Cleef & Arpels is the panther for Cartier.

In 1914, Louis Cartier commissioned George Barbier, the great French illustrator, to paint the ‘Lady with Panther’ watercolour painting. In the coming years the feline appeared on more and more pieces: bracelets, wristwatch cases and also on a vanity case. If you are interested in reading more about the stylistic evolution of Cartier’s Panthers, check out this article.

Jeanne Toussaint (1887 – 1978) was Louis Cartier’s lover and she joined the company around 1910. Albeit she was not the first to use it, she was credited for the introduction of the characteristic panther motif on jewels. Her colleagues even gave her the Panther (La Panthère) nick-name. She became the Director of Fine Jewellery at Cartier in 1933 and her vision and ideas defined the company’s direction. She was Coco Chanel’s contemporary, and her character – influencing her environment a great deal – was equally strong. “Mademoiselle” left her mark in the world of fashion; Jeanne left her legacy in the jewellery field.

Comeback of the Panthére De Cartier in 2017

In the late seventies Alain Dominique Perrin was appointed CEO of “Must de Cartier”. After the merger of this company with Cartier Jewellers in 1981, Alain Dominique Perrin rose to the head of the Board of Cartier International and Cartier SA. He introduced the Panthère de Cartier watch collection in 1983. The line has seen a few variations; gold, stainless steel or bi-metal models with the signature screwed bezel, the round gold Panthère Vendôme from the 80’s or the Panthère Ruban in the 90’s.

In 2017, Cartier revisited its icon, and created models in two sizes (22mm and 27mm) and nine versions. Besides the nice everyday pieces, there are two diamond set models: a small model in white gold with diamonds, and a medium model in white gold, with brilliant-cut diamonds and black enamel panther spots. There is an exciting limited edition version in pink gold with black lacquer elements in the bracelet and on the dial.

Panthère de Cartier limited
Panthère de Cartier, limited edition, pink gold, black lacquer

 

Ronde Louis Cartier XL

Do you remember last year’s the Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch? We were amazed by the enamel granulation, a special decorative manufacturing technique, giving shape to the panther. This year, once again Cartier introduced a new technique in watchmaking: flamed gold. It is customary to blue watch hands by heating the metal (mostly steel). The Maison used this idea on the whole dial this time, which requires the most precise temperatures to achieve the right colours. The hottest temperature produces blue while the coolest produces beige.

First, the artisan blues the entire white gold dial on the highest temperature – this will be the base. Then certain details of the panther, which need the next tone, are delicately brushed off and the dial is heated again on the corresponding lower temperature. The process goes on, detail by detail, until the full palette of colours has been produced. Areas that were fired at higher temperature will be not affected on a lower heat.

The case is 18-carat white gold, bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds and there is also a diamond on the crown. The movement is the manual Calibre 430 MC. This special timepiece comes in numbered limited series of 30 pieces.

Have you read the mystery timepieces introduced in 2017? Check them out here.

Ronde Louis Cartier XL
Ronde Louis Cartier XL flamed gold watch

 

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