Cartier opens Privé, at last, to its most-iconic icon.
Each year, a rare watch enters the Cartier Privé collection, a place for collectors who celebrate and explore the Maison’s legendary models through watches produced in numbered limited series. This year is the 7th, the Tank Normale.
Perhaps it’s ironic that Cartier opened its rarified Privé Collection to a watch called “Normale.” Then again, among Cartier’s many icons, arguably none is more iconic than the Cartier Tank. So it’s natural the pioneering Tank Normale should finally enter Cartier’s hallowed collection, which opens just once a year to claim new inductees.
The Tank Normale counts as Cartier’s seventh entry into the Privé Collection. It joins the Crash, Tank Cintrée, Tonneau, Tank Asymétrique, Cloche, and Tank Chinoise. According to Cartier, this collection bridges the gap between the maison’s refined classicism and modernity. Thus, the Privé Collection holds faithful recreations alongside cutting-edge reinterpretations.
A limited edition of 20 numbered pieces is set with brilliant-cut diamonds, featuring an alligator strap in two shades of blue with a brilliant-cut diamond on the winding crown.
Two examples of the latter headline this year’s Privé entry.
Limited to fifty numbered examples of each, the skeletonized Tank Normale is available in either yellow gold or platinum. The yellow-gold version comes on a brown alligator-leather strap and a sapphire cabochon adorns this Tank’s iconic winding crown; a grey alligator strap and ruby cabochon compliments its platinum counterpart. Rarer still, a 20-watch limited example sits alongside the pair, featuring the same platinum skeletonized case, inset with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Cartier has added a skeleton movement to this iconic model, accompanied by a 24-hour complication marked by a sun and crescent moon that is also skeletonized.
Whatever the metal, each skeletonized Tank in the Privé collection rewards close inspection. Where the dial is pared away, the movement reveals itself alongside a series of decorative flourishes. At six o’clock, see the mainspring barrel, itself skeletonized to reveal the nestled mainspring. The mainspring barrel is framed by a piece of skeletonized dial (which doubles as the movement’s main plate) in the shape of a crescent moon. Inside the crescent, an Art- Deco folded-paper motif, one that repeats inside the cutouts along the dial’s bottom edge. At twelve o’clock, the balance dances away behind a section of main plate that’s cut away to evoke the sun and its rays. Of course, the Normale’s dial and movement are crowned with a signature Cartier flourish: those infamous blued seconds and hours hands. This a wristwatch with views to get lost in, preferably through the eye of a loupe.
This year, Cartier has created an hour/ minute version that borrows from the proportions and beveled sapphire crystal of the original Tank Normale.
Cartier developed this movement, the manual-winding caliber 9628 MC, specifically for the skeletonized Normale Privés. The new caliber displays time on a 24-hour scale, echoing the day-and-night motif splayed across the watch’s dial. The 9628 MC beats at 3 Hz, with 36 hours of reserve power for the yellow-gold and platinum examples and two hours more for the platinum-anddiamond version.
To pair with its trio of avant-garde, skeletonized examples, Cartier introduced a set of four throwback Normale’s to enter the Privé. These watches, again available in either platinum or yellow gold, evoke the first Tank Normale more directly.
Their brushed flanks and traditional roman-numeral dials appear understated by comparison, allowing the Tank’s iconic two-tread case design to take center stage. Cartier will release 200 examples in each metal on a leather strap. A further 100 examples in each metal will be available on a show-stopping bracelet. This marks the Tank Normale as the first Privé entry offered on a bracelet.
The Tank Normale is available in yellow gold on a brown alligator strap and platinum on a black alligator strap.
Behind the closed dials and casebacks of these four watches, Cartier’s Caliber 070 beats away at 25,200 vibrations per hour, with a 38-hour power reserve. Like the 9628 MC, Cal. 070 is also hand-wound.
While staying true to the Normale’s earliest proportions, these non-skeletonized Tank Normales expand the original’s postage-stamp footprint from 27mm x 19mm to a more modern 32.6 mm x 25.7 mm. But at just 6.85 mm thick (and 8.15 mm for the skeletonized Normales), these will slide under any dress cuff for absolute discretion.
Thus, the Normale Privé preserves the magic imbued in any Cartier Tank. This slim, compact dress watch is discreet in size yet instantly recognizable from across the floor of an opera house. At such a meaningful distance, any of the Privé collection may look just like any other Cartier Tank. And yet, up close, the heft of a platinum bracelet, or the intrigue of its carefully skeletonized dial, will define these Privé Tank Normales for a set of lucky and discerning collectors.