When you think of Cartier watches, you probably imagine Jacqueline Kennedy and her tank. At a stretch, your mind may run to the crash or new asymetrique. What you almost certainly do not immediately imagine is a Cartier Paris Collection Privée (CPCP). Yet, if you’re reading this blog, you should. The CPCP range was an attempt to bring Cartier into the era of high-end mechanical watchmaking, out of quartz darkness. When Cartier tries hard, they decimate. Fashion be damned, this is pure haute-horology.
The range was deemed by Richemont not profitable enough and ended mid 2008. This piece is from near the end of that CPCP era. The model is a sort of in-house homage to their original jumping hour/wandering minute Tank from the 1920s and 1930s but re-interpreted. This model brought the classic jump hour up-to-date with a fully wandering time, lovely cream guilloché dial, blued steel, and railway minute divisions. The signature Cartier sapphire is set in an octagonal crown. The white gold case is also a slightly more-modern yet svelt 28mm x 40mm. That said, possibly the most modern aspect of this wandering hour tank is the approach. The movement is clearly architected and hand-finished with care. Cartier was loudly declaring mechanical escapements above quartz crystal with this era. This is immediately apparent with a glance at the back. CPCP may have ultimately folded, but it gave us some true gems in its 20 year run.
The ref. 2554 here is the antithesis of common. The last 2554 sale I am aware of was at Christies in 2011. That was the low for CPCP prices. Since then, the range has been gaining favor amongst collectors, who are increasingly seeing this era as Cartier’s height. Most prices have doubled to tripled in the last decade. This example shows a light wear. The case has markings, but only upon a close inspection. The movement looks to have not aged a day. Its dial is like new. The only possible thing you could hold against it is that it doesn’t come with box and papers. But I’m not that sort of collector and I wouldn’t let it hold you back either.
Find this Wandering Hour Tank here from Subdial Watches for 14900 GBP.