Power On-Demand: Cartier Panthères et Colibri
A power-reserve on-demand timepiece, this might be the only such complication in a wristwatch. It debuts officially at the SIHH 2016.
Ahead of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva next year, jeweler and watchmaker Cartier has opted to release some details on this dazzler. A power-reserve on-demand timepiece, the watch deserves some quiet time to contemplate so we will do just that. Luxury icon Cartier has been working hard at marrying its competencies in jewelry and watchmaking to appeal to the world’s 1% while also inspiring the rest of us. Also, it is just beautiful and as far as what this watch is or means, that is all you need to know. Well, you have to revel in the beauty of the piece so do take a moment to really look at the watch because there is a lot going on here – more than meets the eye in fact.
Ok, so what’s going on here? The answer is a little more complicated than our initial paragraph implied so bear with us. The movement behind the timekeeping functions of the Cartier Panthères et Colibri is the in-house mechanical calibre 9915MC. To be sure, this little (36.18mm x 5.45mm is not actually that little, relatively speaking) wonder of moving parts needs to be wound up every three days. Yes, the power reserve here is 3 days and should you forget in that time to wind it up (not uncommon in our experience with watches with longer than 48 hours of power reserve), the power reserve indicator will remind you of the state of mainspring. So far, everything is properly impressive, if a little pedestrian. Pedestrian is not a word that the watchmakers of the La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture traffic in…
Aesthetics-wise, having the power reserve front-and-centre takes up valuable space on the dial and only communicates limited information – no pun intended. Even the hour and minute hands are off to the side here in this showcase of bejeweled beauty so how to integrate power reserve information? The watchmaking team of Carole Forestier-Kasapi delivers an elegant solution to the power reserve issue not by putting the display on the caseback, but by making it available only on demand. In practical terms, pressing the crown allows a panther cub (always cute) to spring up from under its mum to give chase to a hummingbird; the length of the hummingbird’s flight is the amount of power remaining in the mainspring. This is what we call mechanical ingenuity!
Ok, what this means is that the cub-and-hummingbird interaction is in fact the main attraction of this piece, at once making it a very distinctive and serious mechanical pleasure while simultaneously demonstrating a whimsical attitude. Adding to the serious beauty of the Panthères et Colibri is the 18k white gold of the 42.75mm case, the rhodium treated 18k white gold dial, similarly rhodium-finished 18k white gold mother panther with 270 brilliant cut diamonds, spots in black lacquer and single pear-shaped emerald for the eye. The cub and hummingbird appear to be in rose or yellow gold but press time there is no information about these (Update: Cartier informs us that the cub and hummingbird are indeed in rose gold and the hands are in gilded steel).
- Dimensions: 42.75mm x 11.4mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes, on-demand power reserve
- Power reserve: 3 Days
- Movement: Mechanical, manual-winding, calibre 9915 MC
- Water resistance: 30 meters
- Material: 18k white gold, 314 brilliant cut diamonds, with black alligator strap (deployant folding clasp with 43 brilliant cut diamond). Also available with gem-set bracelet