The Tank Cintrée
Created by Louis Cartier in 1917, the Tank became publicly available in 1919, in very limited numbers. The Tank Cintrée was itself launched two years later, developing on the design traits of the original. Its elongated rectangular case and elegant curves quickly became a classic, having been adopted by Fred Astaire, Steve McQueen and Ralph Lauren, to name just a few. Vintage examples of the Tank Cintrée were made in extremely limited numbers, and examples that remain in original condition come up for public sale infrequently, making them as elusive, as they are attractive.
In the last decade of the 20th century, the industry was still recovering from the impact of the quartz crisis, with consumers just starting to redevelop an interest in mechanical watches. In the midst of this, Cartier aimed to reestablish its credibility as a true watchmaking manufacture. From 1998 to 2008, the Collection Privée Cartier Paris brought back some of the most iconic Cartier designs from the past century, from the Crash to the Tank Cintrée, combined with high quality mechanical movements. In many cases, these distinctive designs hadn’t been produced for decades, speaking to the jeweller’s desire to place an increased focus on its heritage.
As a series of mechanical watches based on historic Cartier designs, the Collection Privée Cartier Paris - or CPCP for short - showed watch connoisseurs what Cartier was capable of producing at a time when the brand was more known for producing quartz-based timepieces. Most models in the CPCP were designed for the men's market and were available between 1998 and 2008 in very limited numbers using mechanical movements from external suppliers, until the Fine Watchmaking Collection was introduced using movements developed in-house.
A Contemporary Design
This Cartier Tank Cintrée Dual Time is part of a 100-piece, limited-edition series created for the Asian market in 2004. The first dial displays a pared-back design, only displaying Roman numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The second dial is similarly constructed, with Chinese characters in the respective sections. Both dials are enclosed within a printed, open black bracket.
Each respective dial features a central rose motif just beneath the hands, which radiates into a traditional guilloché. Evidence suggests that the inspiration for this central rose came from vintage Cartier clocks, which often featured the distinctive decoration. The minimalist rail track and numerals are both stamped in black, while the hands are rendered in slightly different shades of blue – the dial with Roman numerals being lighter, while the hands on the Chinese numeral dial are in a darker tone, providing a pleasant contrast to the otherwise monochromatic dial. The crown features two sapphire cabochons, a nod to the brand’s roots as a jeweller.
Cased in rose gold, this Cintrée Dual Time is both elongated and noticeably curved. Measuring 46mm long and 23mm wide, this piece shares the same dimensions as the original Tank Cintrée watch from 1921, giving it a truly vintage feel. At just 8mm thick, it serves as an elegant dress watch, fitting perfectly beneath the cuff. Overall, the design is more angular than that found on previous Cintrée watches, which is most obvious when looking at the lugs and crowns.
It is understood that this Cartier Cintrée Dual Time is powered by two separate ETA 2412 calibres. This manual-winding movement has a diameter of 15.3mm, and was likely chosen on account of its modest size, which allows it to be integrated within the slim, curved case.
This Cartier Tank Cintrée Dual Time is accompanied by its red leather box, Certificate (stamped and dated), manual and Collection Privée Cartier Paris Certificate (confirming this example as 05X/100). It comes on one of our grey calf leather straps, with a rose gold Cartier deployante buckle, and black alligator Cartier strap.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Cartier Tank Cintrée Dual Time will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.