Cartier has long established itself as an iconic high jeweller and a serious player in fine watchmaking. The synergy between its haute joaillerie and haute horlogerie is shown by timepieces that feature the maison’s panther motif.

“When we apply the panther motif to categories other than jewellery, we make sure it’s meaningful and relevant,” says Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director for image, heritage and style. “It has to be relevant to the type of object that you are making. The panther cannot just be a décor but to be in the centre of the idea in the making of the object.”

The luxury maison launched a variety of high jewellery watches featuring the panther motif as the centre of attention.

The Panthère Mystérieuse watchbrings together the panther motif and Cartier’s mystery movement. Running on the manual-wound calibre 9981 MC, the timepiece features a diamond-encrusted panther residing amid the arc of the dial. Its eyes are dotted by precious emeralds. The mysterious dial shows two hands afloat without any attachment to the mechanism. The bezel is encrusted with onyx and diamonds.

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Cartier’s high-jewellery ateliers in Paris allow the maison’s veteran jewellers to work alongside expert watchmakers on unique mystery watches, clocks and bespoke pieces. This arrangement not only improves efficiency in production, it also sparks new creativities among artisans from both departments.

I think the key [to preserve the panther motif] is that we should always keep in mind the symbolic value of the motif and its strength
Pierre Rainero, director for image, heritage and style, Cartier

“When we use panther on a dial, the expression of the panther should really be the centre of all our attention,” says Rainero.

The Ballon Bleu de Cartier enamel granulation with panther motif shows the synergy between craftsmen and designers.

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The enamel granulation is a technique that combines enamelling and Etruscan granulation. The piece was handmade at Cartier’s Maison des Métiers d’Art in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in Switzerland.

Master enamellers create minuscule heads of gold and mount them on a plaque. Enamel powder is then heated to become beads, one by one, to be assembled together to reveal the panther motif fashioned in unique style. This process requires engravers, polishers, enamellers, jewellers, gem-setters and watchmakers to work closely together. The timepiece features a 42mm diameter yellow gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel. Limited to 30 numbered pieces, the watch features a mechanical movement with automatic winding.

If you are looking for an exceptional panther timepiece with a great complication, look no further than the Panthères et Colibri piece that features an on-demand power reserve complication.

When the crown is pressed, a baby panther crafted in yellow gold escapes the mother panther’s paws to chase after a hummingbird. The movement on the dial vividly captures the expressions of the panthers and it also shows the power reserve left on the timepiece. Beating inside of the 42.75mm diameter white gold case is the manual-wound calibre 9915MC,
which has a power reserve of three days.

“I think the key [to preserve the panther motif] is that we should always keep in mind the symbolic value of the motif and its strength,” Rainero says.

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