THE FELINE PROWLS AGAIN
Cartier relaunches the Panthère de Cartier
Cartier shows off its panther prowess again
In a tough year besieged with retail woes and a slow economy, every watch brand—big or small— needs a volume driver. A collection that will fly off the shelves, if you will. It will hopefully cushion any shortfall caused by other factors. In the case of Cartier, it finds its magical financial panacea in the Panthère de Cartier.
It’s really hard not to like the collection. For one, it smacks of Eighties styling, making it au courant and in line with the vintage trend that the fashion world is obsessed with these few seasons. The Panthère debuted back in 1983 and fast became an icon for the House thanks its strong looks—square case with curved corners, screws on the bezel, Roman numerals and railway track index. It even sported a tiny Cartier logo in one of the strokes of the X digit. It became wildly popular then because of its wearability and the options offered—there were many references at multiple price points, which meant that the Panthère spoke to a very wide audience. Because of changing trends, the collection was discontinued in the early 2000s.
This year, Cartier —smartly—resurrected the Panthère de Cartier as a full collection. It even adopts the same tack in the Eighties, offering it as a watch for everyone. It comes in three sizes with steel, pink, yellow or white gold variants. There are bejewelled versions of varying degrees and even a lacquer and pink gold one (right).
Prices range from $5,500 to $194,000. Aesthetics-wise, it is an exact replica of the original with changes made to only the movement and bracelet. The quartz calibre that powers the collection is a modern and more reliable one, while the bracelet has been redesigned to be more supple and ergonomic.
And in a move to up the collection’s hip factor, Cartier engaged award-winning director Sofia Coppola to direct a short film. With Coppola growing up in the Eighties, the Cartier fan channelled her vision of the decade and interpretation of a Panthère woman into the film.
“When Cartier told me that they wanted to make a film for the relaunch of the Panthère de Cartier watch, I first thought: Who is a Panthère woman? What would her environment be? I love the Panthère watch, so I was happy to make a film which captured the chic and the glamour of what it says to me,” said the 46-year-old director.
“When the Panthère watch came out in 1983, there were so many great movies, and I love the stars of that time. I remember the glamourous kind of women who wore a Panthère watch. It was just a stylish time to remember and to propose a modern interpretation of it. The Panthère woman is elegant, sophisticated, chic and glamourous, still sexy and fun.”
Known for her eye for details, Coppola was spot-on with the zeitgeist of the 1980s in her film, which comes in 30- and 60-second versions. Shot on location in Los Angeles, the short stars Australian actress Courtney Eaton of Gods of Egypt fame and Brooklyn and Amanda Sudano, daughters of 1970s disco queen Donna Summer. Locations include Union Station, Giorgio’s (a famous nightclub) and Fox Residence— famous spots with a glorious past. The Beguiled director even colour-corrected the short feature to include a tinge of yellow to evoke memories of the 1980s.
The Panthère de Cartier is no horological magic and Cartier is not denying it. Instead it builds an attractive image that appeals to modern women—and a younger demographic, at that. In doing so, it speaks to its current clientele as well as aspiring ones. The Panthère de Cartier is very much as a low-hanging fruit. But if it works—and it should— Cartier will be reaping the fruits of its success.
“The Panthère watch is unique because it is a piece of jewellery that you can wear in the day as a glamour look as well as in the evening.” — SOFIA COPPOLA (RIGHT), DIRECTOR.
The Panthère de Cartier is simple, elegant and fashionable at the same time. Facing page: Courtney Eaton stars in the Coppola short film about the watch.