One of the absolute highlights of SIHH – and the entire world of watchmaking – in 2018, Révélation d’une Panthère by Cartier is not so much a watch as a performance. Above the hands and the dial, instead of the usual sapphire watchglass, there is a flat sapphire capsule containing 900 tiny gold beads, in a transparent fluid. Its viscosity was chosen to slow down the movement of the beads, which cascade gently down the dial, magically grouping themselves into the shape of a panther’s head, before ending up in a bunch at the bottom. The incredible thing is that you can’t see how it’s done: presumably the sapphire has a transparent sapphire maze that creates a series of invisible channels. Cartier provide virtually no information on the watch, and gave away no secrets at SIHH.
Hand-wound ultra-thin movement
It is a hypnotic sight, a beautiful game, a transforming piece of jewellery. It is also a very slim watch, with a case just 6 mm thick. Cartier achieved this by using the ultra-slim hand-wound calibre 430 MC, based on the Piaget 430P, 20.5 mm in diameter and just 2.1 mm thick. It runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour, 3 Hertz, and has a power reserve of about 36 hours. The thinness of the movement enabled Cartier to dedicate a few millimetres to the watchglass capsule and still end- up with an ultra-thin timepiece. Apparently this piece of magic took five years to develop.
A magic trick framed by diamonds
The case is 37 mm in diameter, in pink gold, with 45 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, and another brilliant-cut gemstone on the crown. The strap is in black alligator with folding clasp also decorated with 43 brilliant-cut diamonds, and another strap matching the dial is also provided with the watch.
Price and versions
Révélation d’une Panthère comes in three versions, with red or green dial, which are limited editions of 100, or with black dial, unlimited. The price is €110,000, $116,000, just under £100,000. Further information on the Cartier website.