The launch of the new Cartier Tank watches, to celebrate the 100 Years Tank Anniversary, is here at long last. I expected just one special anniversary model, but there is in fact a few very different gems to discuss today.
The Tank Cintrée 2017
To begin with, the coolest Tank Cartier ever designed, the Tank Cintrée will be released in platinum and in pink gold, both with a skeleton caliber and both limited to just 100 pieces!
This time we’re not talking about the type of skeleton we know from the Crash watch or Santos Dumont Skeleton, where bridges are used to create the numerals. This skeletonization is more like the sapphire disc version of the Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton, with that transparent calibre 9616 MC.
The concept of the new 9917MC caliber that Cartier especially built for this Tank Cintrée, can be vaguely compared to that of the Tank Louis Cartier sapphire, but this new mechanical caliber, which had to be completely developed from scratch — due to its particular shape — only follows the concept lines of the Tank Louis Cartier Sapphire Skeleton.
These Tank Cintrée watches have the same dimensions as the last version we know from the Collection Privée, Cartier Paris, namely 46.3 x 23mm, very narrow and beautifully curved.
The new Cintrée is a typical watch for the Cartier collector, like the Crash skeleton was. But beware, the difference is that the Tank Cintrée will have a much larger group of people interested to obtain the watch, since this Tank is a very wearable and masculine piece.
And since there will be only 200 pieces available in total, it is clear that only a few boutiques around the world will be able to get the watch. Time to make a phone call, I guess, for those who don’t want to miss the boat.
Remember the Crash watch gents — that piece was almost sold out a few days after the presentation at the SIHH in 2015. Prices have not been communicated yet at the time of my writing, but I estimate that the platinum version will roughly have a price tag of around €70,000 (including tax).
The Tank Américaine 2017
Next to the Tank Cintrée there will be another and easier to get, important introduction. Namely a new Tank Américaine. I may be mentioning a lot of dimensions in this write up, but dimensions are an important part of what makes a Tank, the desirable Tank.
The new Américaine comes in the sizes: Small (34.8 x 19mm), medium (41.6 x 22.6mm) and, a fraction larger than the current ‘large’ size, the large model (45.1 x 26.6mm)!
For the first time since the original release of the Tank Américaine in 1989, which was in precious metals only, these new versions — all three — will be available in steel!
Personally, I am extremely happy about this decision, since steel will make this Tank much more a daily watch, without any compromise to its fundamental appeal. After all the Américaine was the only one from the trilogy — Tank Américaine, Tank Francoise and Tank Anglaise — that was not available in steel, until now.
The new large model, is very identical to the existing large model. The difference being that the new one now has an automatic movement without date, but with a sweep seconds. Cartier did very well to leave the date out, on this classic watch.
The medium and large model are powered with one of the trusty automatic calibers that Cartier has been using for some time now, while the small model has a quartz movement. All three are water resistant to 30m.
The Cartier Tank Cintrée and Américaine, What’s the Difference?
Let’s briefly run through the differences that set the Tank Cintrée and the Tank Américaine part, since there is often a lot of confusion about these two.
The fact is, when we look at some early models of the Tank Cintrée, there is hardly any difference.
The Tank Cintrée, from around 1970, had the broader form factor that we’re familiar with on the Tank Américaine and even the same dimensions and numerals.
But the Tank Américaine was only introduced in 1989 as a new model and around that time, the Tank Cintrée models were slimmer and longer, measuring 46.3 x 23mm.
So, it’s safe to say that the Américaine comes directly from the Tank Cintrée family, as long as you don’t call an older Tank Cintrée, a Tank Américaine, just because of their visual similarities.
The Tank Louis Cartier 2017
Then there is the new Tank Louis Cartier, another impressive introduction.
Since the last classic sized Tank Louis Cartier, with its 23mm x 30mm case and mechanical movement — a watch that always kept its attraction despite the boom of large watches — there have been several different versions of the Tank Louis Cartier.
Some with quartz movements, some with a date window at 3, others with complications, like a power reserve or a moon phase and even two different sized XL models.
But none of them seemed to hit the sweet spot and that incredible charm of the earlier one. The watch that was worn by Yves Montand, Warren Beatty, Andy Warhol, Ingrid Bergman, Yves Saint Laurent and even Mohammed Ali.
Well that has changed now, since Cartier presents today — what is in my opinion — the perfect version of the Tank Louis Cartier, which I am positive, will remain as the role model in the catalogues for many years to come.
Two sizes will be available, small and medium. The small ladies size in 29.5 x 22mm and the unisex or men’s size, in 33.7 x 25.5mm. The dimensions on the larger one are just a fraction bigger than the original, but much smaller than the current XL version, that measures 30 x 39.2mm.
The fact that there is no date window and no sweep seconds to destroy the clarity of the classic dial, the new Tank Louis Cartier is as pure as pure can be.
What I like a lot, is the traditional sapphire set crown, that holds well, does not slip and winds the manufacture 8971MC mechanical movement, very comfortably. Both sizes are available in 18K pink gold, and18K white gold, set with 40 brilliant cut diamonds. Now let’s hope that the large size will also be available in platinum soon. All the Tank Louis Cartier variations come on an alligator strap with an 18K gold ardillon buckle.
The Tank Cintrée is, by far, the killer watch for the happy few, while the affordable and good looking steel Tank Américaine will make a lot of people very happy, but the new Tank Louis Cartier is the king of the collection again, like it was in the past. It is the serious classic watch to have, next to any other time piece, you may be wearing.