What is the Cartier Privé?

Cartier Privé in platinum and yellow gold

Cartier is one of the most iconic luxury watch purveyors on the planet, with over 100 years of watchmaking under its belt.  The Cartier Privé aims to celebrate the models in the brand’s every-growing portfolio by re-releasing a different watch from the Cartier vault each year, complete with an exclusive design set and limited quantities. Dubbed by Cartier as the “Collector’s Collection,” the Privé was developed for the most die-hard enthusiasts from valuable materials and with careful consideration of the original model's history and features.  2023 marks the 7th installment of the current Cartier Privé with the return of the original Tank model - the Tank Normale.

The Cartier Privé is not to be confused with the original Collection Privée Cartier Paris – also known in many watch-collecting circles as simply “CPCP” – which also celebrated historically important models from the brand’s past in limited production runs.  Produced from 1998 until 2008, Cartier used the Collection Privée Cartier Paris to spotlight its watchmaking prowess by featuring outsourced hand-wound mechanical movements, precious metals, and the distinction “Paris” on the dial.  The torch has now been passed to the current Cartier Privé Collection, of which the Maison has already released several exciting new reissues.

Recent Cartier Privé Offerings: 2022 Cartier Tank Chinoise 

Image: Cartier

Cartier released the original Tank Chinoise in 1922, naming it after its resemblance to Asian architecture.  More specifically, the shape of the horizontal brancards, which echo the silhouette of the entry gates on many Asian temples. 

The 2022 limited edition Privé Tank Chinoise models follow the same blueprint but with a fresh and intriguing update for contemporary collectors.  Each model is dressed in precious metal: 18k yellow gold, 18k rose gold, and platinum.  Also, the traditional model had a square case, while each of the 2022 Privé watches features a slightly longer rectangular case. Of the entire collection, three Privé models are relatively traditional, featuring classic Cartier dials adorned with Roman numerals, solid case backs, and the hand-wound caliber 430 MC movement.  While the other models sport stunning open-work lacquered dials that resemble traditional Chinese windows and expose the exclusive hand-wound caliber 9627 MC skeleton movement within.

2023 Cartier Tank Normale

Image: Cartier

Cartier’s newest Privé offerings take us back to the original Tank model from 1919.  This model is the one that started the entire catalog of Tank sub-models as we know it today, including the previously mentioned Tank Chinoise.  While each sub-model took its own approach to the core Tank aesthetic, they are all defined by straight brancards modeled after Renault tanks during World War I and a “Chemin de Fer” minute track.

Cartier released six models at the 2023 Watches and Wonders salon, each in yellow gold or platinum.  Two models are paired with matching metal bracelets, while the rest feature leather straps. What’s interesting about the leather models is that Cartier produced a few with striking skeleton dials, one of each in yellow gold and platinum.  The metals bracelets are already receiving wide praise for their design, which closely resembles the multi-link Cartier bracelets from the 1920s.

Which legendary model will Cartier revive next?  We’ll have to wait until Watches and Wonders 2024 to find out.

In the meantime, shop our vast selection of premium Swiss-made rubber straps for the rest of your watch collection.

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