It is no secret that Cartier does luxury well. As one of the most iconic watch and jewelry brands in the business (and they have been for decades), Cartier never ceases to amaze me in how well they create such beautifully crafted objects. Launched in April of this year, Les Indomptables de Cartier Décor Watch is from the Metiers d’Arts collection is no exception. At first glance it appears to be just a pretty watch with a Panther covering part of the dial. That is until you take it in your hands and realize that the Panther is in fact removable AND a brooch. This type on innovative design exactly why Cartier is one of the best.
Les Indomptables de Cartier Décor Watch is part of a 30-piece collection and was designed and created at the Cartier Metiers d’Arts Maison in La Chaux-de-Fonds. HODINKEE published a write up on the Maison after it opened earlier this year. The Maison is a converted farmhouse with each floor dedicated to a different craft. The 28 craftsmen and women are spread across two open-air floors, with the jewelry-making on the first floor and enameling and marquetry on the second floor. Les Indomptables de Cartier Décor Watch is made on both of these floors with the gem-setting on the first and the enamel dial being made on the second floor. If you haven’t watched a gem-setting video yet, I highly recommend it, as it is extremely fascinating.
Les Indomptables de Cartier Décor Watch watch is made of four components: the watch mechanism itself, the case, the removable panther-form brooch, and the dial. The mechanism, sadly the least exciting part about this watch, is quartz and can be wound with a back-winding mechanism.
The case, which is the most technically interesting part of the watch, is 40 mm in diameter, made in 18k white gold, and is set with 212 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling at 2.67 cts. The case back is solid and the case is of a classic round design. Attached to the case and draped over the crystal is a white gold and diamond-set panther emerging from pierced foliage constructed of pink gold and more diamonds. This elegant object is the removable brooch. The panther has pear-shaped, emerald-set eyes with black enamel filling in the nose and spots. The technique of setting the stones is all accomplished by hand. Each cavity is etched out by hand followed by the craftsmen placing each individual stone and pinching the edges to hold the stone in place.
This brooch is attached to the case by sliding the curved pin through an arced channel hollowed out through the top of the case at 11 o’clock and ending at 7 o’clock. The pin is then secured by the clasp. Of course this is an unnecessary design but it is very cool in person and simple to use (after a few tries).
The black enamel dial is painted carefully with purple and white enamel leaves and branches. This technique is created by enameling the dial with black enamel, firing, and then going back over the dial with white and purple enamel and creating the foliage motif. The dial is then fired again to complete the process. The hands are off-set to create a smaller floating dial on the bottom right-hand quadrant of the dial, which allows for visibility when the panther brooch is attached. Additionally, the enamel dial is accented with a floral motif set with diamonds into the dial on the left-hand side of the dial. Allowing for a more elaborate vision whilst the panther is no longer in place.
Now, I am aware that this piece is not for everyday wear or use (not even close, to state the obvious), but it is beautiful. The amount of work and detail that is put into each individual jewelry piece made by Cartier is astounding.
This watch retails for $169,000. More information can be found on the Cartier website here.