The panther might be the mascot of Cartier but its latest watches are emblazoned not only with the large cat but also with tigers, elephants, tortoises and snakes, among other exotic creatures. Across several different collections, which each showcase a particular technical or design innovation, the underlying theme that ties them together is the ever-present animal.

One of the highlights of the jeweler’s latest offerings is the Cartier d’Art collection of timepieces that exhibit miniature artworks. Created by master enamellers, lacquerers, marquetry craftsmen and engravers, the watch faces appear as brightly coloured paintings. The four watches depict a panda, elephant, tiger and tortoise, some surrounded by diamonds, others encased in white gold.

First introduced in 2008 after an in-house brief to its designers to create something genuinely innovative, the Cirque Animalier de Cartier collection combines watchmaking expertise with high jewelry know how. For 2010, the limited edition watches comprise of a pair of lovebirds, a pair of snakes and the recurring panther. But more than its animal faces, the 2010 Cirque Animalier de Cartier collection is defined by the diamond-encrusted openwork grids that sit across its watch faces and open “like a powder compact”.

Even for its collection of skeleton timepieces – so-called because of the minimal decoration and transparent casing that allows the watch mechanics to be viewed – Cartier’s artisans heard the call of the wild. Inside the special edition Skeleton Pasha, the movement is structured so that instead of the usual mechanical mess what can be seen is the shape of the house’s signature panther, complete with emerald eyes.