Cartier Introduces the Tank Normale Skeleton

Tasteful open-working with a twist.

Having just introduced a revived version of the classic Tank Normale, Cartier also debuted a modern take on the design, the Tank Normale Skeleton. It’s equipped with a in-house skeletonised movement done in Cartier’s typical geometric style, but with a discreet twist in the form of a 24-hour time display.

Initial thoughts 

At a glance the Tank Normale Skeleton might seem like yet another skeletonised Tank, of which there have been several over the years. But look closer and it emerges as something more interesting.

The dial tells the time on a 24-hour scale, a modest complication in mechanical terms but one that references Cartier’s historical day-and-night timepieces. And the complication is echoed in the sun-and-moon motif of the bridges rendered in a complementary Art Deco style. In short, it’s an elegant take on the day-and-night display done in quintessential Cartier style.

Created especially for this model, the calibre inside is notably attractive. It’s fairly symmetrical in layout – the balance is at 12 o’clock while the barrel sits at six – and finished to match the style of the bridges. But it does still have an Etachron regulator, which is found in all Cartier skeleton movements but still out of place considering the price.

And the price is steep. At US$71,000 in yellow gold and slightly more in platinum, it is pricey for a relatively straightforward skeleton watch. In comparison, the Santos-Dumont Skeleton Micro-Rotor also launched this year is almost half the price.

Skeletonised Tank

A modern take on the classic Tank Normale, the new Sketeton reimagines a model introduced in 1917. It retains the familiar case with its wide brancards, but adopts a time display with a 24-hour scale.

The dial is actually the movement base plate that’s been open worked in a day-and-night motif. The upper portion of the base plate is a stylised sun, while the lower portion features a crescent moon. A more subtle reference to the complication is the graduated-finish base plate and hour scale that both darken towards the lower half of the dial to signify night time.

The Tank Normale Skeleton is equipped with the cal. 9628 MC, a new calibre developed specifically for the model. It shares basic elements with Cartier’s other skeleton movements, but cal. 9628 MC is an original calibre, particularly with its 24-hour display and symmetrical layout.

Unfortunately it also relies on the same Etachron regulator found in Cartier’s other skeleton movements. While entirely functional, the Etachron regulator is mostly associated with lower-cost movements, leaving it much unsuited for a watch of this price.

Because of the in-house calibre, the Tank Normale Skeleton is slightly larger than its time-only counterpart. It measures 35.2 mm by 27.8 mm and stands 8.15 mm high; the increase in size is modest enough that the case remains compact and elegant.

The case is available in either yellow gold or platinum, with each having a matching cabochon on the crown – a blue sapphire for yellow gold and ruby for platinum. In addition, a platinum version set with diamonds is also available.

Key facts and price

Cartier Privé Tank Normale Skeleton
Ref. CRWHTA0021 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWHTA0020 (platinum)
Ref. CRHPI01558 (platinum with diamonds)

Diameter: 35.2 mm by 27.8 mm
Height: 8.15 mm
Material: Yellow gold or platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Not applicable

Movement: 9628 MC
Features: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: 36 hours (yellow gold and platinum), 38 hours (platinum with diamonds)

Strap: Alligator leather strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: 50 examples each in yellow gold and platinum; 20 in platinum with diamonds
At Cartier boutiques and retailers

Yellow gold: US$71,000; or 102,000 Singapore dollars 
Platinum: US$80,000; or 115,000 Singapore dollars
Platinum with diamonds: US$107,000; or 153,000 Singapore dollars

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