SIHH 2018: Cartier's Tank Cintrée Steals the ShowBy George Cramer
The new Santos de Cartier, we discussed earlier, is a watch that many people have been waiting to see come back for a while now. Understandably, since it is one of the few real icons in the world of watches and seeing as how it’s not been a part of Cartier’s offerings in the last two years.
But with the launch of the new Tank Cintrée, that comes in three different versions, Cartier could not have done their real aficionados a greater favor!
To refresh your mind, the slender Tank Cintrée dates back to 1921 and from that time, it has remained the most slim and curved watch in the Cartier collection. It is what makes the Cintrée the dandy watch pure sang. There was, however, a time when there was a demand for a more robust Tank watch. A watch that could easily be worn daily to work, without looking too dressed. This is what made the Cartier team, in 1989, decide to come up with the Tank Américaine, a similar watch, with a wider case but very much inspired by the more exclusive Tank Cintrée.
It was about 12 years ago, from now, that the last Tank Cintrée model was listed in Cartier’s collection. In yellow gold, produced in a run of 150 pieces and just 50 pieces in platinum. Both with a slim 46.3mm x 23mm case, large Arabic numerals and powered with the hand wound 9780MC caliber, by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The yellow gold version sometimes pops up at auctions, but the platinum version I have seldom seen. For many collectors this was the ultimate Tank and the best version of the Tank Cintrée models.
The new 2018 Tank Cintrée was presented earlier this month, at SIHH in Geneva, in three variations, but with the same classic dimensions. I think it is safe to say, that almost everyone I spoke to, at Palexpo, was charmed by the platinum version, which will be released in a limited edition of just 100 pieces. The platinum case with the pale light grey dial, white gold applied numerals and markers and set with a ruby cabochon on the crown, gives a very, serene effect to the watch, and I wonder if this version will ever reach the boutiques, since the platinum was the one that everyone was talking about.
While, I normally prefer a white metal for watches, the yellow gold one with the light champagne dial and dark numerals and markers, would definitely be my choice. The watch has a very vintage, almost classic look, which appeals to me a lot. Thankfully this one will not be made in a limited run. Also, the pink gold version, with the black dial is a great looker. It’s particularly special, since Cartier hardly presents watches with black dials.
All of the dials of the 2018 model, have no guilloche and are very clean looking. They have a brushed finish and all three will be delivered on an alligator strap with a gold ardillon buckle. It was a good decision on Cartier’s part to not include their famous deployment buckle as a standard with these watches, since that would’ve resulted in a substantially more expensive price tag. The folding buckle can, of course, be purchased at the point of purchase, or ordered at a later stage.
As mentioned earlier, only the platinum version is limited to 100 pieces, the yellow- and pink gold are regular production pieces. My advice, though, is do not expect to find these watches in every shop, like the Santos or the Drive de Cartier.
These Tank Cintrée models have always been very exclusive and they do remain fairly rare. Depending on your location, these Tanks probably need to be ordered. But, at least, the gold versions will remain available in case you take a while to take the plunge.
Tank Cintrée watches, over the years, have always had hand wound movements. So, no surprises that the same has been decided for the 2018 version. The movement used this time is the Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 846, that has been reassigned to 8971 MC for Cartier’s use. It needs to be said, though, that Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre have always had a great working relationship since their early years. This caliber — the caliber 846 or 8971 MC, however you prefer to call it — has a 36-hour power reserve.
Cartier’s CEO, Mr. Cerille Vigneron explained a year ago, at the SIHH 2017 that La Maison would begin to concentrate a lot more on its historic pieces. Well, the 2018 presentation could not have made a better start, on that sentiment, than with this trio of Tank Cintrée watches, which is seen by many collectors around the world as the most important Tank ever.