On How The Intricate Ronde Louis Cartier Straw And Gold Marquetry Watch Is Made
The panther is a permanent fixture in Cartier’s collections. Its graceful form may be most easily appreciated when melded with a sculptural bracelet or ring, but it’s really the flat expanse of a watch dial that pushes the imagination of the artisan and the boundaries of creativity. How many ways can Cartier interpret its emblematic animal within the confines of a watch case? Endless, it seems.
This new creation, which premiered at Watches & Wonders 2020, is an example that showcases the traditional art of straw marquetry. Throw gold marquetry and enamelling into the mix, and we get this stunning piece of horological art designed to mimic the look of bas-relief.
The entire timepiece requires more than 100 hours of work, of which 97 are spent on the dial alone—a testament to the level of artistry that a Cartier “Métiers d’Art” watch requires.
A centuries-old decorative technique, straw marquetry involves piecing together flattened slivers of tinted straw. The dial design here is composed of 75 blades of straw—interspersed among other materials—in different sizes and a total of 11 colours.
Enamelling completes the picture and is used to fill in the eyes of the panther and the spots on its coat with shades ranging from opaline to yellow, as well as black and white. The result is a lively, gleaming gaze besides a beautifully composed pattern on the fur.
The feline’s head alone is made up of more than 65 elements in white, yellow and pink gold, which are individually shaped and satin-finished. No space in this complex masterpiece is left unexplored—look closer to spot fine gold wires embedded among the slivers of straw.
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