Cartier only revealed the Tank Cintrée 100th anniversary model recently, but all 150 numbered editions are already sold. Cartier Tank models are very desirable, but this is still a remarkable achievement for what is probably the world’s most attractive rectangular dress watch. The Tank story is a convoluted one, and this here, Cartier Tank Cintrée, is meant to celebrate the model in particular, which was one of the first wristwatches in the world to adopt the rectangular shape back in the heady days of the 1920s.
Now, you might engage in that contemporary habit of demanding a precise date, but consider for a moment that the Cartier Tank is a near-mythical object. This particular limited edition very closely matches a watch we have seen only in archive images, and the excellent book by Franco Cologni, Cartier: The Tank Watch (2012), the Cartier Tank Cintrée of 1924. The now-unavailable 2021 reissue of this handsome curved classic is made is in yellow gold, while the original was in platinum. However, QP reports that there was a 1921 version in yellow gold, and has the pictures to prove it.
All the features on the dial – from the apple-shaped hands and Roman numerals, to the so-called rail track and the distinctive beaded winding crown with its sapphire cabochon – are exactly as they appeared on the 1920s versions. In fact, they appear from the images to look as if they experienced a good deal of weathering. This is, of course, just for looks. Speaking of which, the crown in the 2021 version seems more like an homage to its 1924 ancestor, rather than its 1921 inspiration. Sadly, a closer inspection in person is not in the cards.
The story of the movement is also a little involved. First of all, the watch is rectangular but the manufacture calibre 9780 MC is round. Shock. Horror. But wait, what of the original? The Cartier Tank Cintrée of 1924 was powered by the LeCoultre calibre 123, which is in fact, round. Interestingly, both are also manual winders, and quite slim. The 2021 Cartier Tank Cintrée is just 6.4mm thick. We take this opportunity to salute Cartier for its success in finding homes for all their very fetching Tank Cintrée editions of 2021, and look forward to the next special edition, perhaps as soon as April…keep an eye on the official website of Cartier for more news and updates.