Marking the next step into bejeweled high complications is the Cartier Panthères et Colibri “on-demand power reserve.” On-demand features in mechanical watch movements deserve high praise because they imply interaction between the wearer and the mechanism – let that be a chiming function or a Moon phase indication as we saw above, engineering such features often goes beyond re-engineering existing designs.

What happens in the case of the Cartier Panthères et Colibri is that when the diamond set crown of the watch is pressed in, the panther (the symbol of Cartier, here, in 18k white gold and set with 270 brilliant cut diamonds) has its cub “escape,” i.e., show up on the dial and chase after the hummingbird that, when at rest, is near the 3 o’clock position on the dial. As the little panther jumps out, the hummingbird takes off all the way up to 12 o’clock, and the extent of the bird’s flight is what indicates the remaining power reserve of the 9915 MC Cartier movement.

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The 9915 MC movement comprises 367 parts, runs at 4Hz, and has an approximate power reserve of at least three full days. The 42.75mm-wide white gold case is set with 314 brilliant cut diamonds and, as it is perfectly round, it has plenty of real estate for a larger dial. Still, much of that space is reserved for the stunning panther casually resting right across the white gold dial, while time indication is exiled to a limited space with just two tiny, sword-shaped, gilded steel hands. Telling the time is, of course, secondary, as high-jewelry and, indeed, fine mechanics take the stage. Price for the Cartier Panthères et Colibri is $179,000 or $381,000 with diamonds.


Closing the range of six stunning pieces from Cartier for SIHH 2016 is the Cartier Panthère Mystérieuse. Its 40mm-wide case is in rhodium-finished 18k white gold and black lacquer, heavily set with brilliant cut diamonds, and clearly dominated by a panther curling around the dial. Encrusted with 533 brilliant cut diamonds and with eyes of 2 pear-shaped emeralds, the feline resting on top of the Cartier Panthère Mystérieuse watch makes this piece one of the more daring high-jewelry watches for ladies.


The 9981 MC movement underneath the dazzling wildlife is actually the same one found in the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hours. This hand-wound caliber is 4.61mm thick and has most all of its components cramped into what seems to about 30% of the movement’s 31.90mm-wide space, with the sapphire discs carrying the hour and minutes hands taking up the rest of it. A total of 158 parts was enough to craft a movement that runs for at least two full days at a frequency of 4Hz and displays hours and minutes in such a typically mysterious, albeit not proprietary way for Cartier – something the brand has been producing since the Model A mystery clock from 1912 but was originally invented by a French magician and clockmaker Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin in the early 1800s. Price for the Cartier Panthère Mystérieuse is $180,000, and $364,000 with pave diamonds.

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What has only been a quick preview of some of Cartier’s upcoming pieces for SIHH 2016 already shows a very powerful line-up of fine watchmaking and high jewelry pieces – even if some of them are reiterations of some of the brand’s previous, albeit still truly impressive models. Needless to say, expect to see more high-complication pieces come January, and also additions to main collections.

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