Cartier Panthères et Colibri

This watch, one of Cartier’s new pieces to be introduced at SIHH later this month (January 2016) shows that there is still plenty of room to invent new functions and new styles of display, as long as you have the capability of designing your own movement. This is a watch for women by Cartier, and it tells a little story, rather like Van Cleef & Arpels’ poetic complications. The difference is that Van Cleef & Arpels’ stories are saccharine romantic, lovers meeting on a bridge at midnight to exchange a kiss, that sort of thing, while Cartier’s story is tougher.

A panther is lying against a backdrop of filigree jungle, with a humming bird right next to her head. When you press the pusher in the crown, the panther’s cub pops out from behind her, scaring the humming bird that flies upwards on an arc-shaped scale, reaching a height that indicates the power reserve. The time indications are small and off-centred.

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The panther, a classic Cartier motif since 1914, is sculpted from white gold with rhodium finish, and set with 270 diamonds, with a pear-shaped emerald for its eye. The spots on its coat are in black lacquer, while the background of the dial is made in black rhodium-finish white gold. Another 11 diamonds are placed on the dial. The composition is made more interesting by the panther’s tail, which appears on the dial from outside the watch, as it were. The hands are in gilded steel, and presumably also the cub and the humming bird.

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The case is in rhodium-finish white gold with 314 diamonds set onto the bezel and central lugs: it’s fairly large for a women’s watch at 42.75 mm diameter, but slim at 11.4 mm. I look forward to seeing this piece, partly to understand the decoration better: Cartier say that the black background of the dial features a filigree of wild plants, but I can’t see a sign of them from the photos.

New in-house movement by Cartier

The watch is powered by the hand-wound calibre 9915 MC, with 367 components and about 72 hours power reserve. I can’t think of any other watches with a power reserve indicator on demand. Beautiful, brilliant, original.

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