With elegant curves and sweeping lines that hug the wrist and nestle perfectly under a Charvet cuff, the Cartier Tank Cintreé’s debonair charm is immediately apparent. And this is a fact not lost on famous Cintreé wearers Fred Astaire, Stewart Granger and Steve McQueen’s eponymous character in 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair (often erroneously identified as a Tank Américaine).
But design merits and celebrity connections aside, the Tank Cintreé has only ever been produced in limited runs, helping to increase its desirability thanks to the basic laws of supply and demand. The Tank Américaine, which was launched in 1989 to cater to the growing demand for larger case sizes and today forms a part of Cartier’s permanent collection, is in fact a direct descendant of the Cintreé. The Américaine mimics the curved and elongated Cintreé shape, but is a broader and bolder version of its lesser-spotted ancestor.
There is, however, no school like the old school and at this year’s SIHH Cartier saw fit to return to the OG and introduce a new run of Tank Cintreés. Inspired by Astaire’s personal model with its Arabic numerals, and following on from last year’s Cintreé Skeleton celebrating the Tank collection’s centenary, the return of the classic version was met by near-universal acclaim by all who attended SIHH 2018.
Driven by the Cartier-modified, Jaeger-LeCoultre-based hand-wound Calibre 8971 MC with 36-hour power reserve, the new Tank Cintreé measures a vintage-esque 46.3x22mm and is available with a choice of yellow-gold case and golden dial, rose-gold case and black dial or platinum case and grey dial. Notably, the yellow- and rose-gold models have the traditional sapphire cabochon-set crown, whereas the platinum boasts an attractive ruby cabochon-set crown. Alligator-leather straps in complementary tones and case-metal matching pin buckles will also be supplied with each.
As is usual with the Cintreé, production will be limited. Only 100 examples of the platinum will be made, whilst the yellow- and rose-gold versions will be produced for one year only.