Cartier has developed and showcased its expertise in metiers d’art for the longest time. From creating entirely new techniques such as enamel granulation, to executing existing ones at their highest levels like with grisaille enamelling, the brand’s savoir faire sits firmly in the top echelon among watchmakers today. The maison has unveiled yet another stunning demonstration of this with a new metiers d’art timepiece that features the panther – its signature motif – using a combination of different crafts.
The new Ronde Louis Cartier Straw and Gold Marquetry Watch is one of two timepieces this year featuring metiers d’art. As its name suggests, straw and gold marquetry is the central technique used to create its dial. Each dial begins as a base that’s been engraved to bring out the rough outlines of the panther. Upon this base, the craftsman first inlays some 75 blades of straw in various hues, each cut perfectly by hand like a jigsaw puzzle piece a la “regular” straw marquetry.
Gold is then inlaid to provide depth, as well as to lend a contrasting texture with its satin finish. This is where Cartier’s interpretation of the marquetry technique differs from the usual executions – the mixture of materials is one aspect to consider, but so is how the end product recalls both cloisonné enamelling and gold filigree work.
That’s not all though. To further enhance the overall aesthetic and to create what’s truly a lifelike depiction of the panther, enamelling is used to create details such as the black spots on the panther’s coat, while miniature painting provides the means to realise the starry backdrop on the dial.
With just 30 pieces available worldwide, the Ronde Louis Cartier Straw and Gold Marquetry Watch’s rarity is both a function of its exclusivity, as well as the difficulty in realising every single example of such a vision.