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CPCP & Collection Privé

CPCP & Collection Privé

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Click here to watch the video of the Prive Collection.

In this article, we will explain the Privé Collection, which is classified as Cartier's masterpiece.

I'm sure there are many people who have heard the name before, but don't know what it means or what its outline is.

First of all, the best way to describe Privé is as a masterpiece with limited production numbers.

We are drawn to intricately crafted pieces made by artisans.

We will now take a detailed look at this masterpiece from Cartier.

The story behind the creation of the Privé Collection

From the 1970s to the early 1990s, global demand for mechanical watches was significantly sluggish, which was due to the quartz shock caused by Japan's Seiko.

However, in the late 1990s, the tide turned and interest in mechanical watches began to grow again.

As a result, Swiss watch brands have been given a new lease of life, with long-established manufacturers such as Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin releasing unique and unusual models that focus on complex mechanisms.

In the midst of this, Cartier launched the Collection Privée Cartier Paris, or CPCP for short, in an attempt to re-establish its credibility as a genuine watch brand.

"Privé" means private in English. It can be translated as "Private Collection of Cartier Paris."

At that time, Cartier was still unable to produce its own movements and was in a difficult position to be recognized as a true watch brand.

In short, now that mechanical watches are starting to attract attention again in the world, if Cartier puts their mind to it, they could create an amazing mechanical watch!

We wanted to appeal to that audience and create an image that says, "We're not just a watch company in the jewelry subgenre, but that we're great at making jewelry, but we also make amazing watches."

Then, in 1998, while various companies were releasing complicated mechanical watches, the highest-end line for men, "Collection Privée Cartier Paris," was released.

This took place over a ten-year period from 1998 to 2008, during which Cartier re-examined its archives and revived historic designs that had been dormant for many years, such as the Cintrée and Tank Chinois.

Some models were released in 1998, but they did not have the name "Privé". It will be born as a collection.

What is the Cartier Privé Collection Paris?

So what does "Collection Privée Cartier Paris" mean?

The aim will mean digging into Cartier's rich archives and recreating iconic Cartier pieces that have been left abandoned for decades.

These range from classic designs like the Tank and Santos to more obscure pieces like the Tank Monopoussoir Chronograph, first produced in 1935.

However, these designs are not complete revivals of the original designs, but rather many of the old designs have been subtly modernized, sometimes even enlarged, to give them a modern touch.

Over the course of ten years, 23 models were produced, each with its own unique personality.

The Tank Monopoussoir and Tortue Monopoussoir watches from the Cartier Privé collection

In the early days, Cartier's workshops produced a wide variety of models, so there were many pieces that could form the basis of a collection, including watches that were actually made in limited quantities.

There is no exact figure for how many models were made, but there were at least four different tank shapes and eight different tortu shapes, which shows how many different cases were imagined.

Incidentally, the Privé Collection is still released every year, but it ended in 2008 and was revived again in 2010.

There was a reason why it ended in 2009: it allowed the company to develop its own movement technology using the technology it had accumulated over the past 10 years.

the result, Since 2009, Cartier has launched its "Haute Horlogerie" collection, featuring movements manufactured in-house, and at the same time has transitioned to the Privé collection.

It's safe to say that there is almost no difference from CPCP, but the design has been given a more modern twist than the works created during the CPCP era.

Cartier: Differences between asymmetric dials from the CPCP era and the Collection Privé era

And the biggest difference is that the word "PARIS" is not included.

Most (but not all) of the models made during the CPCP era were labeled PARIS, but this is no longer the case in the Privé collection from 2010 onwards.

More details will be provided below.

The movement is also reproduced with meticulous attention to detail

Until then, Cartier had relied on externally sourced movements and did not have the know-how or facilities to produce high-quality movements.

For this reason, Cartier commissioned various specialized manufacturers and shared their technology with other Richemont Group companies such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, and It was provided and co-developed by renowned manufacturers such as Girard-Perregaux, Svend Andersen, and ebauche manufacturer Frederic Piguet.

As a result, Cartier was able to accumulate a variety of technologies around this time, including complex mechanisms such as jumping hours and chronographs.

In recent years, there has been a growing belief that in-house movements are a good idea, and most brands are able to achieve this, but in the past, if you wanted a high-quality movement, it was common to use an external ébauche maker (a company that makes movements).

For example, looking back at history, even Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin sold watches with movements produced by Lemania and Jaeger-LeCoultre, and early Rolex Daytona chronographs were equipped with Valjoux movements.

On the other hand, more advanced complications were developed exclusively for Cartier by Technics Hologère Appliqué, a company jointly founded by Renaud & Papy, François-Paul Journe and Pascal Courteau, who were then part of Audemars Piguet.

Dominique Renaud and Giulio Papi at the workbench of their fledgling company.

Dominique Renaud and Julio Papi at their workbench in the company's early days in 1988 (Courtesy of Dominique Renaud).

To briefly explain these three people and their company, they are "watchmakers with a thorough understanding of complex mechanisms who trained at Audemars Piguet" and their company.

Although these movements originate from outside Cartier, they are all decorated in Cartier workshops.

Caliber 437MC based on Piaget movement

For example, here is the decoration of the Tank à Viss Dual Time, which is equipped with the caliber 437MC, based on a Piaget movement.

It features traditional techniques such as bevelling and circular graining, as well as the brand's signature "double C" decoration applied throughout the collection.

In addition, with the exception of the platinum models, almost all CP CP models in these collections are equipped with sapphire case backs to allow the beauty of their decoration to be seen.

Cartier Privé Collection "A Guichet" Movement Decoration and See-Through Back

Carefully crafted dial and case

The craftsmanship involved in these watches was far superior to any other watches made by Cartier at the time.

Looking at the dial, almost every model features a floral motif in the center, just below the hands, which radiates outwards in a classic guilloche pattern.

Cartier Collection Privee dial center decoration Floral decoration

Another distinctive feature is that the brand name includes "Paris."

This can be seen in every model in the collection except for the "Cintrée".

Cartier watch, Privé collection, with the word "PARIS" on the dial

According to a 2002 catalog, the name "PARIS" was chosen as a tribute to Paris, where Louis Cartier designed most of the foundational models for the Collection Privé .

Now let's look at the next case.

All cases were made from 18K gold in yellow, pink or white, but some were also made in platinum.

At the time, most pieces were made of steel or gold-plated, but Privee's new creations placed an emphasis on quality, so all were made from precious metals.

These cases also contain various messages on the back to prove that they are special watches.

For example, the engraving on the case back is more traditional in style, featuring script-like typefaces and hand-engraved engravings.

All limited edition models were individually numbered for their series, while the other models simply received ascending case numbers.

Cartier watch Collection Privé Individual number on the back

Special accessories

In addition to the watch itself, the box and paperwork that came with it were given great attention.

It was presented in a box slightly larger than those used by Cartier at the time, made from premium leather and signed "Collection Privée Cartier Paris."

The large red leather box in which the CCP model was delivered

This photo shows the large red leather box the CCP model was delivered in.

The dimensions of the boxes were intended to underline the importance of these pieces and also provided space to store the certificates that accompany the watches.

It also contained a certificate and a manual for the Collection Privee.

Paperwork included with Privé's limited edition items

This is paperwork that comes with limited edition Collection Privee items.

Checking whether the box, instructions and certificate are included is an important thing to check before making a purchase.

Cartier catalogue introducing the features of the piece
Cartier catalogue introducing the features of the piece

A Cartier catalogue highlighting the features of these pieces, including 18K gold dials and exquisitely finished hand-wound movements.

As mentioned earlier, these watches were produced in very limited numbers.

Some of them were limited editions, produced in series of 50, 100 or 150 pieces and individually numbered.

For the other watches, it's estimated that between 200 and 500 pieces of each model were made.

Considering that it was sold in 300 locations around the world, it's safe to say that the number wasn't that large, and I'm sure you can understand that the number allocated to Japan was also quite small.

About the main models

A wide variety of works were produced during the 10 years of Collection Privée Cartier Paris.

There are countless of them, but there are a few that are particularly noteworthy, so we will introduce them here.

Cartier designs from this period have been attracting attention again in recent years, and some of them seem to be particularly popular among collectors.

Each watch has its own appeal, whether it be its rarity, unique beauty, or inheritance from a historical model.

Tank Cintrée

The Cintrée is a sibling model of the Tank, released 100 years ago in 1921, and when this watch was introduced it gave birth to a new idea that a wristwatch could be more than just a functional object to be worn on the wrist.

The design features an arched case to make it fit comfortably on the wrist, and to achieve this, the tank was made elongated.

In short, it was the first watch in the world to combine beauty with functionality.

"Suntory" is a sister model of "Tank"

Throughout its long history, Cartier has produced the Cintrée in extremely limited quantities, protecting it from commercialization like other models.

For this reason, it was only natural that it would be adopted by Collection Privé, which is intended to be produced in small quantities.

Due to its beauty, Cintrée is known to have been worn by American actor Steve McQueen and British actor Stewart Granger.

Actors Steve McQueen and Stewart Granger wearing Cartier Cintrée watches

Many different patterns of cintrées were produced, but one that is particularly beautiful is one in which the indexes are displayed using Urdu numerals.

What we commonly see is Arabic, followed by Roman, and I have seen various other indexes such as wedges and bars, but I had never even known that Urdu existed. Such an original design is truly a supreme realm that only Cartier can achieve.

The watch has a platinum case and is equipped with Jaeger-LeCoultre's ebauche-based manual winding movement, caliber 9770MC.

A sundry of vermilion and Urdu numerals.

*It is painted in vermilion and has numbers in Urdu (Courtesy of George Cramer)

The case back is engraved with "2007/n.1", indicating the year this model was produced.

This was a simple timepiece that was a modern take on the Tank Cintrée shape, but there was one more, a Dual Time, which means there are two versions of the Tank Cintrée.

Tank Cintrée Dual Time, limited to 100 pieces
Tank Cintrée Dual Time, limited to 100 pieces

The Tank Cintrée Dual Time is made of pink gold and is limited to 100 pieces, featuring Chinese numerals on the bottom dial.

The dual time model is a modern design with two overlapping dials, one with Roman numerals on the top and one with Chinese numerals on the bottom, powered by separate movements.

The case has also been slightly altered, with the lugs now squared off and with sharper angles.

The movement is set by two different crowns located on the sides of the case.

It was sold exclusively in the Asian market and is limited to 100 pieces in white gold and 100 in rose gold.

There was also a platinum version with a salmon pink dial, but only 50 of these were made.

Chinese numeral models are very familiar to us Japanese, but when designed by Cartier, they are so beautiful that you can't help but think that the Chinese numeral indexes are also very cool.

Tank a Guiche

This prototype model, introduced in 1928, follows the classic Tank style but with a completely closed dial, displaying only the jumping hours and wandering minutes.

In Japan, it is also known as the "Iron Mask" in the vintage watch market, and this style was produced by almost every brand in the 1930s.

The Tank à Guichet in platinum

The platinum Tank à Guichet is limited to 150 pieces (Courtesy of Auto Time).

It is often thought that the Tank à Guichet was only revived for Collection Privé, but in fact it was recreated shortly before that.

In 1996, Cartier produced three pieces each in platinum and yellow gold.

A year later, another platinum version was produced in a limited edition of 150 pieces to celebrate the brand's 150th anniversary.

These were released a year before the formation of CPCP, but are widely known to be the same collection.

It was born in 2006 during the CPCP, but it is unclear how many were actually produced.

It seems that it was sold for CPCP testing purposes.

Tank à Guiché in rose gold
Tank à Guiché in rose gold

The rose gold Tank à Guichet was produced as part of the CPC series.

In 2004, during the Prive Collection, the same design was re-released in rose gold, but this time in a slightly larger size.

This time, only 100 pieces were produced.

Curiously enough, rose gold is rarer and more valuable than platinum.

Anecdotally, Brad Pitt was once spotted wearing a rose gold Tank à Guichet, which is said to be the reason it is more rare than platinum.

Rose gold dial with running minute window at the bottom

Running minute window at the bottom of the closed rose gold dial.

Mechanically, the Tank à Guiché is quite interesting.

These are powered by the Piaget ébauche-based caliber 9752MC.

The complexity of this movement lies in the great precision and energy required to make the hour disc suddenly "jump" when the time changes, making it a delicate yet powerful complication.

Cartier has contributed to watchmaking with innovative and bold designs such as the Crush and Cintrée, and the Tank a Guiche is one of the most faithful reproductions of that spirit.

Tank Chinoise

The Chinoise was Cartier's first model, created in 1922.

At the time, the "Far East" aesthetic was all the rage in European design circles.

"Chinoise" means Chinese in French, and this model features a classic "tank" silhouette with thick horizontal bars at the top and bottom of the dial, reminiscent of the towers of Chinese temples.

The Tank Chinoise gives a new look to the original rectangular dress watch with its monochrome offering

The Tank Chinoise gives a new look to the original rectangular dress watch with its monochrome offering.

Since then, the Chinoise has only occasionally reappeared in French jewellery collections, making it a rare model.

For Collection Privé, the case has been made slightly larger, allowing the Piaget-made caliber 437MC to be seen through the sapphire caseback.

It comes in two types, platinum and rose gold, and according to a 2005 catalog, the former is priced at 11,750 pounds (1.9 million yen in Japanese yen) and the latter is priced at 7,200 pounds. (It was sold for 1.16 million yen.)

It is said that Chinoise was completely sold out by 2008 when the CPCP ended.

Examples of Tank Chinoise from the Collection Privé
Examples of Tank Chinoise from the Collection Privé

An example from the Tank Chinoise Collection Privé.

Cartier has recreated designs from Collection Privée, such as Asymmetric and Cintrée, in modern times, but has not yet revived the Chinoise.

Now that Collection Privé has once again placed a premium on its archives, La Chinoise may be relaunched in the near future.

Tank Asymmetric

Said to be one of the more adventurous models recreated in the CPCP series, the Asymmetric is a classic Cartier design that has been coveted by collectors for many years.

Originally called the "Tank Oblique", it was designed for motorists in 1936.

The parallelogram-shaped case had a diagonally slanted dial, which was designed so that the dial was directly facing you when your hands were placed on the handle.

It was later renamed "Tank Asymmetric" and has undergone several different changes over the years.

Collection Privé has updated the Tank Asymmetrical, courtesy of George Kramer.

Collection Privé has updated the Tank Asymmetrical, courtesy of George Kramer.

It was revived in 1996, just before the official launch of the Collection Privé, with 100 pieces in platinum and 300 in yellow gold.

Also, the "Cartier" and "Paris" signatures are separated above and below.

Early design sketches for CPCP Asymétrique

Early design sketches for the CPCP Asymétrique, from "A Century of Cartier Watches" by George Gordon.

Later, in 1999, Cartier produced two watches, one for left-handed people and one for right-handed people, to commemorate the return of Macau to China.

Each will be limited to just 99 pieces, a number that commemorates the year in which this historic event occurred.

While Prive watches are generally resized to fit modern tastes, this model respects the proportions of the original design and is made in its original size of 23mm x 32mm.

CPCP Asymmetric in Yellow Gold
CPCP Asymmetric in Yellow Gold

CPCP Asymmetric in yellow gold, courtesy of Phillips.

Asymmetric was then relaunched in 2006 as Collection Privé.

The proportions have now been updated to a more modern taste and are slightly larger.

Tank a vis

When wristwatches emerged to replace pocket watches, one of their original aims was to be waterproof.

Cartier was at a disadvantage because they produced rectangular watches, but they still wanted to get involved.

It was rumored that the Pasha of Marrakech wanted a watch he could wear while swimming in the swimming pool, and so the Tank Etanche was developed in 1931.

Its ingenious case design, firmly secured with screws, made it waterproof.

CPCP Tank à Vis casts a distinctive shadow

The CPCP Tank à Vis casts a distinctive shadow.

The Tank Etanche was the inspiration for the Tank à Vise, which was later launched as part of the Collection Privé.

In short, the Tank-a-Vis was created by evolving the Etanche.

The large size and thick bezel create a well-balanced blend of classic and modern styles.

Tank A Vise Dual Time
Single movement

The Tank A Vise Dual Time and its single movement.

Interestingly, the Tank à Vise is also representative of the unusual complications that Cartier explored during the CPCP era.

In fact, this model was available in time-only, dual time, and wandering hour versions.

There are also skeleton versions, which demonstrate Cartier's desire to blend the past and present.

Water resistance screws on the Tank A Vise bezel

Waterproof screws on the bezel of the Tank A Vise.

Unlike the Cintrée, the Dual Time is equipped with the same movement and is set with the same crown.

It was released in three colors: white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold.

The Wandering Hour model was available in white gold and yellow gold, the latter of which retailed for £13,400 according to the 2005 catalogue.

This is nearly twice the price of the Tank Chinoise made from the same metal, which speaks to the scale of investment Cartier has made in developing this complex movement.

The skeleton Tank A Vie is made of platinum and is limited to just 20 pieces, making it an extremely rare model.


In Prive's 10+ year history, the Tortue has probably been its most popular model.

The Tortue was CPCP's best-selling model for half the period that Collection Privé was released: 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

The Tortue case is fitted with a variety of complications, with at least eight different models identified, ranging from minute repeaters to perpetual calendars.

Perhaps the most popular model was the Tortue.
White gold Tourtue power reserve

Tourtue power reserve in white gold.

We've already mentioned the monopoussoir, but there are a few other notable examples.

In particular, the minute repeater, tourbillon, and perpetual calendar were developed in collaboration with Renaud & Papi, and can be said to be representative of Cartier's complex mechanisms.

Here are just a few of the Tortue models made during the CPCP era.

Here we will introduce just a few of the Tortue models made during the CPCP era.

Other variations include a day and night display and a power reserve with date display.

Of course, there is also the "Tortue" which only displays the simple time.


Collection Privé marks an interesting turning point in Cartier's history.

Since the 1960s, Cartier has commercialized its business and turned to the mass market, but many would say that this has damaged its reputation as a true watchmaker and neglected some of its signature designs.

In 1998, the brand once again focused on its heritage, choosing to recreate some of its historical masterpieces with high-quality manual-winding movements.

Collection Privé's ten-year existence embodied that spirit and was well received by some of its clients at the time.

Although production of these collections has now ended, we are delighted that Cartier's enduring legacy is now being recognized as consumer tastes change.