The watch collecting world has always had its favourites. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, for instance, have for some time been firmly established as the go-to for understated elegance – having a heritage and history that’s distinctive without being OTT. But lately, another classic that shares those pre-requisite qualities has majorly grown in popularity: the luxury Cartier Tank replica watches.
“People are beginning to recognise that these perfect UK Cartier fake watches have been thematic throughout the 20th century,” says Harry Fane, a London-based dealer who specialises in vintage high quality replica Cartier watches and jewellery. “They’ve been iconic, and they are fundamentally beautiful and elegant.”
The cheap copy Cartier Tank watches was first introduced in 1919, its sleek shape inspired by the physique of a WWI combat vehicle. It resonated with customers from day one – although it was made in extremely limited quantities for decades – but, until recently, the Tank hasn’t really been an “it” watch. Now, it’s becoming exactly that, with a newfound popularity also echoed by another classic Cartier design, the perfect Santos de Cartier replica watches, which Louis Cartier, a grandson of the brand’s co-founder Louis-François Cartier, created in 1904 for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, an acclaimed pilot of the era.
As vintage and neo-vintage Swiss made Cartier super clone watches have become more popular, their prices have been rising accordingly, especially at auction. Last year, a stainless-steel Tank from 1935 was sold by Sotheby’s for more than £200,000 [245,700 CHF]. A few months ago, Phillips sold a rare skeletonised 2014 for more than £60,000.
That surge in interest in 1:1 Cartier fake watches applies to less expensive previously-owned Cartier watches as well, which are arguably more aesthetically consistent with older versions than watches from other brands. On the resale website Watchfinder, for example, Cartier now sits among its top five most searched-for brands, ahead of the likes of Patek Philippe. There, a simple stainless-steel Tank starts at about £4000; prices for a Santos begin at around £6000.
Since their inception over a century ago, the look of the AAA Cartier Tank replica watches, like the Santos, has stayed steady, anchored by key design elements like their distinctive silhouettes, sapphire crowns, and arrow shaped hands. “If you’re looking for classic watches that have really stood the test of time, Cartier is pretty hard to beat,” says Jack Forster, author of Cartier Time Art: Mechanics of Passion and editorial director of the resale experts WatchBox. “The sheer longevity of the design, virtually unchanged for over 100 years, has an awful lot to do with the attraction that the Tank is enjoying right now.”
Over time, the Tank’s design has been tweaked in many ways: stretched out and narrowed on top fake Cartier Tank Américaine watches, accessorised with a metal strap on a Tank Française, solar powered and with vegan strap on the SolarBeat. Still, whatever version, a Tank is immediately recognisable. “Every iteration or variation revolves firmly around the iconicity of this unique watch,” says Franco Cologni, who’s written The Cartier Tank Watch (Flamarrion), an updated version of which is coming out in February. “More inclined to fashion, or more intended to resist the test of time, these variations – like in a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach – reinforce the main theme.”
That even applies to Cartier replica watches wholesale like the Square Incurvée, an interpretation of the Tank with curved vertical sides that was first created in the ’60s. Although its silhouette is a bit different than on a typical Tank – softer and a bit less quiet – it’s still undeniably a Tank, and linked immutably in design to the style’s 1919 OG.
For Cartier, deciding how to update or re-introduce a heritage watch is a question of clients’ tastes and the zeitgeist. The house asks itself, Pierre Rainero, China Cartier fake watches’ director of image, style and heritage explains, “Do we have a feeling that it’s possible to create a variation from that original shape that could be even more relevant than the previous one?”
The 2023 Santos de Cartier replica watches, for instance, originally came on a leather strap, and remained that way until the ’70s. “We realised that people didn’t have the same life,” Rainero says. “They wanted the same watch from the morning to the evening, with an idea of elegance in all the different circumstances: at work, at lunch or even playing tennis, during a cocktail and also in the evening. That’s how we had the idea to combine that original case with a metal bracelet inspired by the case itself.”
The Panthère de Cartier fake watches shop, which was first introduced in 1983 and discontinued in 2004, was re-released in 2017 with minor changes. “We just re-engineered the bracelet to make it even more solid, even more fluid, with techniques we didn’t have at the beginning of the ’80s,” Rainero explains.
And then there’s the Crash, quirky Cartier replica watches for sale that was first introduced in 1967 by Cartier London, during a period in the late ’60s and early ’70s when the brand’s Bond Street location spearheaded watches of its own design instead of just simply carrying Paris-born creations. Cartier London’s watches are certainly different – in many cases, like the Crash, the designs look like classic timepieces re-interpreted by a Surrealist – but they are also, somehow, unmistakingly Cartier.
“I don’t think it’s by chance that they were born there,” Rainero says. “They are born in a context that is very specific: there’s a specific attention to the elegance among men in Great Britain. Also, let’s not forget that period was a very specific period for the world in general but for London in particular.”
Prices of the Crash have been soaring recently. Earlier this year, one from 1967 sold at auction on the site Loupe This, for £1.32m [$1.65 million].
Cartier recently dropped an updated take on another watch that was created by Cartier London, the Pebble. Originally introduced in 1972, the Cartier replica watches site shares the Crash’s far-out vibe, with Roman numerals that look like they’re being viewed through a kaleidoscope. Issued in a limited edition of 150, the Pebble has been updated with a new movement – the Manufacture 430 MC mechanical movement, one of Cartier’s thinnest.
Throughout its history, the Tank has had plenty of high-profile fans: from actors like Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart to writers like Truman Capote to the fashion designer Tom Ford before he launched his own watch brand. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis famously wore a Tank, which has always been marketed as unisex. And since turning 100, the brand’s best quality Cartier fake watches have been red carpet mainstays too: current brand ambassadors include Paul Mescal and Rami Malek, as well as Troye Sivan and Jackson Wang. The Tank’s many current iterations have helped to expand its appeal.
“There is a Tank for everyone,” says Beth Hannaway, head of fine watches and jewellery at Harrods, “from the artfully simple Tank Must to the iconic Tank Louis Cartier and the famous ’90s Tank Française creation. The design codes are instantly Cartier, but there is such space for personal expression.”
That applies to high quality replica Cartier’s least expensive Tank watches – which start at £2400 for a basic steel quartz timepiece – as much as it does to the pricier options. “You feel like you’re getting something that has had as much thought put into it as a much more expensive mechanical precious metal model,” Forster says. “You’re getting a lot of what the Tank has to offer, but you don’t feel like you’re being condescended to.”
The Tank’s growing success might well have to do with a shift in consumers’ tastes towards timepieces that are more refined. “In terms of watchmaking, the sporty look has been so strong, but the new generation wants something else,” Rainero says.
Accordingly, the brand has focused on offering watches that embrace the trend for the understated and unexpected, whether that’s the dark green face on recent Cartier Tank fake watches online, or, this year, bringing back the metal front grille on the Pasha de Cartier. Those designs have helped Cartier appeal to what Rainero calls “the new generation” – the younger collectors and celebrities discovering its legacy and unique style for the first time.
“They really have a keen understanding of the interests of customers, in shaping this new brand image,” says Arjen van de Vall, Watchfinder & Co.’s CEO. “They’ve made some good decisions over the past few years about what lines to build and where to invest,” he adds. “They’ve revamped and repositioned themselves in the market – and that’s been embraced wildly.”