The panther has become so synonymous with Cartier replica that any jewelry iterations of the majestic animal outside of the Parisian house appear mere copies. Starting in the 1920s, the maison’s famed director of jewelry and former lover of Louis Cartier, Jeanne Toussaint, made the slinky feline a perennial inspiration. Cartier affectionately called Toussaint “PanPan,” and her Paris apartment was said to be strewn with the animal’s skins. But the Duchess of Windsor is credited with making the spotted creature a fashion symbol when, in 1949, she was photographed wearing one of the first 3-D Panthère creations: a brooch set atop a 152.35-carat Kashmir sapphire given to her by her husband, the former Edward VIII. In 2010, a bracelet version of the feline figure worn by the socialite sold at Sotheby’s London for $7.23 million.
A century later, the elegant cat is still making Cartier’s clients purr. The brand’s latest homage to its icon comes encapsulated in a 42 mm white-gold Ronde Louis Cartier fake timepiece, limited to 30, each individually numbered. Slices of straw marquetry, gold and enamel, handcrafted by artisans at the company’s specialized Métiers d’Art atelier in Switzerland, come together in a colorful tableau to form the visage of one of the world’s most beautiful beasts.
Cartier transformed a farmhouse into the setting of its Maison des Métiers d’Art in Switzerland’s La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaking region. Inside, some 16,000 square feet of floor space is dedicated to blending ancient craftsmanship with watchmaking expertise.
Tiny paintbrushes, the size of a handful of hair strands, are used to paint the enamel of the dial.Seventy-five blades of straw, in assorted sizes and 11 colors, make up the cat’s face.The straw used in the marquetry must be finely sliced to length before it’s unfolded with a bone tool. The fibers are then flattened, soaked and softened in cold, warm and hot water. Finally, each is ironed flat.The gold marquetry is created through parts that have been laser-cut into particular shapes to replicate the nuances of a panther’s form and shadowing. Each part must be cleaned, polished and manually curved before it is placed on the dial of top quality replica Cartier.An artisan uses a paper outline to match the colored straw to the exact specs of each laser-cut gold shape to form a colorful 3-D effect.Various instruments, including tweezers and a scalpel, are used to trim and place the minute different pieces of colored straw onto the dial.A microscope is required to enable the miniature details of the dial to be perfected. Each piece requires more than 100 hours of work, 97 of which are exclusively for the dial.
To secure the enamel in place on the dial,
it must first be fired in a kiln at around 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is then adjusted to obtain the correct colorations for each of the separate enamel settings. It must be cooked 10 times to achieve the final result.
The finishing touch, before the gray leather strap copy Cartier is added, is the protective 18-karat white-gold case, which will preserve the wearable art.