Cartier Panthère 18K
"The Panthère is out"
The Panther has always been an animal and symbol associated with the Cartier brand. The use of it dates back to 1914, when Louis Cartier became a patron of George Barbier, a well respected French illustrator. He commissioned him for a painting of a woman alongside a Panther: this artwork was to be printed onto a formal invitation pamphlet to a fine horology exhibition.
Cartier was so mesmerised by the sheer elegance of the big cat to the point where he made the Panther as the symbol of the brand. A few months later, the Parisian maison releasd the first Panthère wristwatch: characterised by the generous use of diamonds and onyx, reflecting the Panther’s majestic and sleek appearance. Cartier presented the first “commercial” line of the Panthère back in 1983.
It immediately became not only a flagship model for the maison, but for the entire watch industry thanks to its radically new design elements such as its case shape, and its use of a modern quartz movement. Remember, we were at the height of the “quartz crisis”, where traditional mechanical movements were being pushed out of the spotlight by more accurate – but less fascinating – quartz ones.
When launched in the ’80s, this model was meant to cater for many different wrists. In fact it came in four different sizes: mini, small, medium and large, meaning that it was meant to be worn by both men and women alike. This was also in part thanks to its very meticulously calculated designs, allowing it to be worn comfortably as an everyday watch. The bracelet was unmistakeably Cartier, being called the Panthère mesh, an arrangement of links that wrapped softly around the wrist. This was a common trait from jewellery from the 1980s.
Cartier was founded in 1847 in Paris by the jeweller Louis-François Cartier, who in 1899 handed over to his three sons. They would establish the company internationally, not least by making the Cartier name a favourite among the crowned heads of Europe. Named ""King of Jewellers, Jeweller of Kings"", the brand was quick to turn its attention to watches. Many have become modern-day icons, such as the Santos (1904), the first wristwatch actually ever created, the Tortue (1912) and the Tank (1919). They were followed by other noteworthy creations, including the Pasha, the Santos 100, the Ballon Bleu and the Calibre.
The Cartier family retained ownership of the firm until 1964. It is now part of the Richemont Group.