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The Evolution of a Cartier Icon: What makes the Panthère de Cartier watch so enduring

First introduced in the 1980s, Panthère de Cartier doubles as a watch and a piece of jewellery, and remains one of the most distinctive designs to come out of the Cartier archive. Here’s a look at the iconic timepiece through the years.

The panther is to Cartier what the colour gold is to the sky — a necessary contrast, a duality that somehow just works. It began as many great relationships in the history of luxury fashion do: a desire to express the unfettered energy of its emblem (in this case, the panther) meets the charming elegance of the Maison, and thus an iconic collection is born. Panthère de Cartier, dating back to the early 1900s, is defined by its versatility. Geometric lines are interwoven with the curves of gemstones; translucent diamonds blend with bright emeralds. And as it continued to evolve through the decades, the collection eventually led to the first Panthère de Cartier quartz watch in 1983.

The Panthère de Cartier, with its case in yellow gold and steel.

Classy, cool and effortless… Panthère de Cartier is versatile in more ways than one. Back when it was newly introduced, the watch was popular among the rebellious, fun-loving ‘80s crowd. It didn’t take long for the timepiece to climb to the height of designer chic. By the time the ‘90s rolled in, the Panthère watch would be recognisable on the wrists of cultural icons like Madonna, Keith Richards and even James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan.

While the ‘jewellery watch’ wasn’t exactly novel at the time, Panthère de Cartier reinvented the concept for the masses. In all its gold excellence, the Panthère was instantly embraced by the art world — and unsurprisingly so. The watch is a marriage of symmetry, structure and smooth movements mirroring that of the Maison’s emblematic animal. With its square dial and rounded corners complemented by the gold-link bracelet from which the timepiece was named, Panthère de Cartier is a brick-like form against bold curves.

Today, you can spot the La Panthère adorning the wrists of glamour girls of the season: Bella Hadid stacks hers with bangles and scrunchies; Dua Lipa marks her glaring presence while she dons the piece; even ‘It Girl’ Jisoo has it within her jewellery collection as she fronts the latest campaign for the Maison. Holding firm to the principles that make up the Panthère de Cartier, it is refreshing to watch as the timepiece continues to resonate with an entirely new generation.

To learn more about the Panthère de Cartier watch as well as the comprehensive collection, check out the exclusive ‘Into the Wild’ experience happening from 4th to 18th September 2022. Click HERE to find out more. 

(All images from Cartier)

The Evolution of a Cartier Icon: What makes the Panthère de Cartier watch so enduring

Hailing from an English Literature & Creative Writing background, Yasmin has a deep love for fiction and poetry. When she’s not writing or café-hopping, she spends most of her time in the comfort of her own room binge-watching period romances, (badly) belting out show tunes, and curating Spotify playlists to match her mood for the week.


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