Panthers have become synonymous with Cartier, and even while having used this theme for almost a century, they still come up with new interpretations. That their creativity hasn’t run out was proved once again at the SIHH 2018, with the Cartier Rencontre de Panthères.
The main attraction of this 42mm watch is the two panther heads that seem to fight over a ring in the center of the dial. Just like a real fight, do the panthers move around in circles, neither one willing to give in to the other. The animals and the ring are set with 288 brilliant cut diamonds, have marquis cut emerald eyes, and the spots on their fur are represented by black lacquer. With their motion, they serve as the oscillating weight of the automatic caliber 9603 MC to which it is connected.
While this mesmerizing spectacle is bound to grab your attention, two elegant rhodium plated, arrow-shaped hands do tell the time in a rather legible fashion, set against the black dial. They make the watch not only beautiful, but also very functional.
The 18K white gold case also features a pave setting of brilliant cut diamonds. This is quite complicate to achieve, as the case of the Cartier Rencontre de Panthères is rounded, and the diamonds closely follow this shape. It took Cartier 399 of the precious stones, with a total carat weight of 5.76 carats, to achieve this, while an additional 43 (weighing 0.42 carat) adorn the clasp. The crown, and the sides of the Vendôme-lugs are also set with diamonds. What we now call Vendôme-lugs where designed in 1934 by Louis Cartier himself. Cartier didn’t really used this design, and when the patent on it expired in 1949 Pierre Arpels used them to design the famous watch that now bears his name. Cartier would later use the Vendôme-lugs far more extensively in its own collections with of course the Pasha de Cartier, and now with watches like the Rencontre de Panthères.
While fitted with a semi-matte alligator strap, the Cartier Rencontre de Panthères will also be delivered with an additional strap in shiny green alligator, which will make the watch stand out even more. This Cartier is priced at $192.000,- which will naturally limit its production and ensure exclusivity, so it is not part of a limited edition.