Every year at Cartier, a rare new model joins the Privé collection – a line dedicated to the brand’s watch collectors. Always special in terms of aesthetics and highly limited in its production numbers, the Privé watches are inevitably much-anticipated pieces. This year, the seventh special series is the Tank Normale. In a nod to the original model conceived by Louis Cartier in 1917, the new Tank borrows both the proportions and distinctive bevelled sapphire crystal from the first model. The watch comes in a number of different versions, with Cartier opting to house every model in a yellow-gold or platinum case.
Four Tank Normale models with solid dials
Four of the Tank Normale models feature classic solid dials. In typical Cartier style, these purist pieces feature the maison’s hallmark Roman numerals, a railway minute track, and polished blued-steel sword-shaped hands to indicate the time.
In terms of all-important dimensions, these 750 platinum or 18-carat yellow-gold editions have cases measuring 32.6 mm x 25.7 mm, alongside a slim height of 6.85 mm. Thus, as always, the carefully designed proportions allow the Tank to sit elegantly on the wrist.
Putting design at the forefront, Cartier set the beaded crown of the Tank with a cabochon. Yet eagle-eyed observers will notice that the platinum editions deviate from the norm by featuring ruby (as opposed to blue sapphire) cabochons. Cartier strictly reserve this gemstone for platinum watch models alone.
Powering these four Tank Normale (Privé) models is the manual-winding calibre 070, consisting of 82 parts including 21 rubies. Beating at an unusual frequency of 25,200 vibrations per hour (3.5 Hz), the movement has a decent 38-hour power reserve.
Strap and price
What is interesting about the new Tank Normale models is that while two versions are paired with a classic brown or black alligator leather strap, the remaining two editions come with a matching precious gold bracelet – for the very first time in Cartier Privé history. These polished 1970s-style bracelets seamlessly match to the platinum or yellow-gold case, highlighting the edges of the watch. 200 pieces of the numbered Privé models with leather straps are available, while the duo with precious metal bracelets are limited to only 100 pieces. As for prices: the yellow-gold version with leather strap costs 33,300 euros, while its sibling in platinum is 37,400 euros. Meanwhile, the versions with matching yellow-gold or platinum bracelets cost 49,800 euros and 57,500 euros respectively.
Three complicated Tank Normale models with skeletonised dials
Time to discuss the show-stoppers: three Tank Normale (Privé) models with skeletonised dials. One version comes in a yellow-gold case, one has in a platinum case, and an additional platinum edition is set with 42-brilliant cut diamonds. The latter is limited to only 20 pieces, while its siblings are limited to 50 pieces each.
The exciting part about these skeletonised models is the fact that, despite their fairly small size, they integrate a complication. As well as providing hours and minutes with blued-steel hands, these watches feature a skeletonised 24-hour complication marked by a sun and crescent moon.
While the minute hand turns around the dial in one hour, the hour hand goes round in 24 hours instead of 12 hours. Daytime hours thus appear on the upper part of the dial, while night-time hours appear on the lower section. To symbolise the transition from day to night, Cartier coat the skeletonised bridges with a gradation of shades across the two halves of the dial.
Calibre 9628 MC
The movement making this possible is the calibre 9628 MC. This complicated in-house movement consists of only 150 components, including 21 rubies. Offering a power reserve of approximately 36 hours, it has a slightly lower frequency than the non-complicated Tank Normale (Privé), beating at a frequency of 3 Hz. All three also have sapphire crystal casebacks, meaning the wearer can admire the complex movement for themselves from both sides.
Case, bracelet, and price.
The watches are also not quite as slim as the solid dial Tank Normale (Privé) models, instead having a height of 8.15 mm (as opposed to 6.85 mm). Likewise, their size is slightly larger, with dimensions of 35.2 mm x 27.8 mm. Last but not least, Cartier pair these collector’s pieces with either a smart grey, brown, or blue alligator leather strap according to the model. The prices are as follows: 76,500 euros in yellow-gold, 86,000 euros in platinum, and 115,000 euros for the platinum edition with diamonds.