Panthère de Cartier

A sensual symbol of success and excess is reprised by the French maison – just what we need in these meagre times.

The Rolling Stones on a private jet; Gordon Gecko in Wall Street. These are just a few of the big, brash icons of the 1980s who have been photographed wearing Panthère de Cartier watches, but while that watch collection, in case you hadn’t cottoned on, is Cartier’s big reveal for 2017, it’s worth remembering that the animal-icon itself has a much longer history with Cartier. A 1914 painting, ‘Woman with a Panther’, charmed Louis Cartier so much that the animal became a symbol for the brand, its spots used on a 1914 watch and soon after becoming a key part of many Cartier designs, such as brooches, bracelets, and of course, its watches. The decadent, overt style of the 1980s is how the Panther made its most memorable mark on wristwatches and the collection for 2017 returns to wrists (it was discontinued in the 2000s) with an equally strident style.
It gets the subtlest of face-lifts to account for contemporary tastes, without losing any of that unapologetically obvious style that made it a byword for wealth and success during its heyday. The original model, as worn by Gordon Gecko in Wall Street and various rock stars and actors of the day, has not been changed much for 2017, though the pieces in 2017 do target Cartier’s female customers perhaps more than the watches of the 1980s did.

There are nine new versions, each in two sizes (a small 22mm and medium size at 27mm). The nine different versions start from a steel version to full-set high jewellery pieces, with versions available in white or yellow or rose gold, or combinations of these.
The style goes from minimalist, plain steel design to the more outrageous spotted patterns that take the watch into the dress category (unless you happen to have a 1980s approach to dressing in which case by all means wear the full pavé to breakfast). Both of the sizes feature a screwed down bezel and hidden folding clasp on the bracelet.

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While the design is largely faithful to that of its 1980s original, elements such as the bracelet have been subtly updated to take advantage of the modern technical design. The seconds hand and date window are also two things that are absent from the modern edition, but other than that the Panthère is intact – which says a lot about the success of the original design – there’s not much from the 1980s that hasn’t been revisited on the runways and in various design disciplines, but to recreate something so faithfully really shows that a good design is timeless, even if it does come from the same decade as giant hair and shoulder pads.

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