In my hierarchy of Cartier, Cintrée still reigns supreme but despite the name, the new 2023 replica Cartier Privé Normale watches is anything but normal. In fact, despite the similar Tank Louis Cartier and Tank Must in the brand’s catalog, to vintage fans like myself, there’s been a hole in the lineup for a while now without the true, original Tank. But it wasn’t bound to be that way forever.
Despite its simple appearance, there’s never any guarantee of a runaway success when it comes to “just” a Tank. I think because of the incredibly simple and classic design of the 1:1 top fake Cartier Tank watches, the collector base is incredibly focused on the littlest of details. Cartier released six distinct new Normale designs as a part of their much-sought-after Privé collection, but I was most excited for two in particular: the braceleted models in yellow gold and platinum, both made in 100 pieces and both absolutely phenomenal. The devil is in the details then there’s a lot of devil to dance with.
Let’s start with the dial, both of which are brushed silver with roman numerals with the quintessential “railroad track” hashes around the inside. The cheap Cartier replica watches has the standard refreshed Cartier signature, which is a bolder version of the ones seen in the 1920s. The dial also features the text “Swiss Made” around the VI numeral, and the V in “VII” has the date “1917” hidden within. The hands are “epée” hands from the 1940s Normales – blue hands on the yellow gold and silver on the platinum. All in all, it makes for a legible dial without any major hiccups, though I agree with vintage fans that the dial should have been cream and matte on the yellow gold. The beveled sapphire crystal is also a nice touch. It distorts a bit in pictures but didn’t feel particularly obtrusive when I was wearing it on the wrist. While I wished for Breguet hands in my intro story (and still do), I think this works equally great now that I’ve seen it in person. Good so far but what else?
The case is scaled up for modern buyers. I was lucky enough to see three vintage examples of the Normale, including a 1996 piece unique made to recreate a custom watch made for the Prince of Nepal and it is tiny, even compared to the new watch that’s only 32.6 mm x 25.7 mm on the bracelet. On my 7.25-inch wrist, I thought the watch was perfect, comfortable, and didn’t look at all too small for my taste. But despite being an unnecessary height of 6’7″, I love smaller perfect Cartier copy watches. I’m not trying to force small watches on people that like them that large, but I think this can work no matter your size just because of how classic it is.
In the past, and at it’s launch over 100 years ago, Cartier would have been using outsourced Jaeger-LeCoultre movements. It was common practice at the time, but brands have been (for better or worse) touting their in house capabilities even if an outsourced movement would have done just as well. In this case, Cartier has followed their own historical precedent by using the hand-wound Caliber 070, the smallest movement available to the brand through Le Temps Manufacture. The movement is apparently finished with Cartier marks (which you can’t see because of the solid caseback). It’s also not an exclusive movement but I can’t find any record of it being used anywhere else. All I can say is that it has a very satisfying wind and one twist of the crown moves the hands incredibly fast through the next hour.
I’ve seen some concerns and complaints that the case proportions aren’t right. I’ll leave that to the experts who have decades more experience than I do. But in the hours I spent with our friend John Goldberger this week discussing – among other things – the new Privé Normale, he didn’t point that any of these design issues. The proportions of Cartier cases (and basically every other detail of luxury replica Cartier watches) changed from year to year and decade to decade. It might not look like a 1946 Normale but it sure does come closer to one from 1924. Either way, I just think it looks great.
The vertical satin-brushing on the case is just so perfect, especially due to the high-polish chamfers on the “brancards” along the side. It creates a great contrast while leading perfectly into the satin bracelet. Which for me is the highlight of the show.
I am a huge Cartier bracelet nerd. I can, have, and probably will again soon, go on and on for hours about their design and changes over the years. I was so deeply and vocally nerdy that I think I scared the team from Cartier in our hour-long meeting. But this is the first Swiss made fake Cartier Privé watches offered on a bracelet so, humor me.
At first, I only had a chance to see the gold version and promptly skipped the 24-hour skeleton dials and leather straps, skimmed the dial and case, and dove into studying the bracelet. It’s not an integrated bracelet and can be removed, but visually it’s beautiful even if there is a seam between case and bracelet.
I compared the bracelet to images I’ve taken of AAA Cartier super clone watches from various eras, almost all of which had this 7-link “à maillons” style, as it’s called, that I think is maybe one of the most beautiful and elegant bracelet designs of all time from any brand. But these bracelets (which appeared on not just the Normale but the Cintrée and even the Tortue and others), also changed over the years. Unlike the current construction, the vintage links were often folded pieces of gold or platinum and hollow, with a visible gap in the link if viewed from the sides, and though relatively tightly constructed sometimes have a bit of flex to them. And like case proportions, the vintage bracelets had variations in designs – some were flatter “bricks” while others were rounded at the end of the link, a reflection on the many outside contractors Cartier likely had make them. These vintage bracelets were also usually thinner than the ones on the new Privé collection, meaning that the deployant clasp could sit flush against the bracelet without adding thickness.
On the new Privé collection, the bracelets are thick and incredibly well-constructed, close in design to examples from the 1920s (which would have had a case measuring closer to 27mm by 19mm). My first reaction was to imagine how much work this bracelet would require. Since the bracelet is thicker than the vintage examples, in addition to the basic construction complexities (and creating extra links that can be added or removed with screws) there was the problem of placing the deployant without it digging into the wearer and breaking the elegant visual lines of the top Cartier replica watches as it hugged your wrist. To solve that, Cartier has taken a page out of the “Prince of Nepal” remake and carved out about one-third of the inside of the first 11.5 links of length so the deployant can sit flush with the bracelet.
The bracelet also closes without any pushers to release it and has a beautiful and clean closure while vintage Cartier fake watches online often had a lip showing you where the closure was. Every little bit of this seems well thought-out.
As I finished up my limited time with the new Privé collection I looked over apologetically at the nice PR person as they gently reminded us that this piece was needed at other appointments. It may never have been harder for me to let go of a watch than in that moment. And it got worse.
The PR person asked if I had a few more minutes and as we left, he pointed me to Cartier’s dedicated photo room. I was pulled aside to wait before they returned with the platinum model, knowing how much I had looked forward to seeing this watch. It was well worth the wait. For all their similarities the use of platinum is so beautiful and versatile that it’s far and away the best. From the much more utilitarian feel of the brushed platinum finishing to the heft on the wrist, this may be one of my favorite wholesale replica Cartier watches I’ve worn in years. Sure silver hands were a bit harder to read, but it would never be easier for me to get over something like that than if I owned a Privé Normal.
The gold Normale on bracelet is $46,400 and the platinum model will run $53,500 ($31,000 and $34,900 respectively on strap). Compare that to the price of last year’s Pebble on strap, $44,600, and the platinum Normale seems like a steal. Unlike the Pebble, for the new Normale you can just walk into your boutique and try to place an order while the Pebble owners were hand-picked by Cartier well before the launch. Then there’s the value of the bracelet work.
I know multiple people who had requested to make custom Cartier fake watches shop site from the New Special Order program and wanted bracelets in this design. The quote for the bracelet alone was over 2.5 times the price of this entire watch but by producing many of them, I’m hoping that price may come down.
Part of me thinks that it’s a shame that each watch is capped at 100 pieces. Goldberger seemed to agree. But history has shown that Privé collections generally are loved by journalists and purists far more than they’re liked on the market. Someone with a decades long history of following the market reminded me that the 100 piece Privé Cintrée sat in cases for months after launch, despite universal praise from the press, including here on Hodinkee. The bracelet makes these sexier, but the Normale is still competing against a lot of other Cartier replica watches store at the price point – like the Rolex Platinum Day-Date which is a far more versatile and less stylized watch.
Since the Normale, like many of Cartier’s offerings, has come in different sizes over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see future releases in steel and white gold in three different sizes, from the most traditional small to an even larger size. Until then I’ll be content knowing that the purest China replica Cartier watches has returned and all is right in the lineup again.