An incredibly iconic timepiece, the Cartier Tank is one of the most easily recognizable timepieces that is produced today. With its signature rectangle-shaped case, thin profile, and elegant dial, it is as classical a timepiece today as when it was released in 1917. Inspired by the Renault FT-17 Tank, the Cartier Tank is, somewhat paradoxically, a dress watch. Remarkably over the century, the Tank model has been reborn into many variants, all with different forms while still managing to maintain its DNA.
Debuting in 1933, the Tank Basculante took inspiration from the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, a double-sided sports timepiece that would swivel within its case to protect its dial. In keeping with this design, the Basculante also turned in its case to protect its dial. However, different from the Reverso, rather than turning on its horizontal axis, the Basculante turned over its vertical axis, allowing it to stand upright in mid-rotation to double as a table clock. All of this was done elegantly via the central jewel of the watch, where the user would flick it open with his/her nail.
While there have been quite a few iterations of the Tank Basculante since its inception, what you see here is one of the rarest and most special examples produced by the brand. Released in 1997, it was part of the ‘I Love Cartier’ series commemorating the brand’s 150th anniversary. With only 150 pieces produced of this Tank Basculante, it is not a piece you see very often.
There are a few characteristics that make this piece special, most notably with the dial that features a central guilloche pattern unique to this limited series. Furthermore, while every Cartier watch crown has a jewel in it, the use of ruby was reserved for only the most special pieces such as this one. Powered by an ultra-slim, manually wound Cal. 610 that is based on an F. Piguet movement, this is everything that Cartier collectors love.
With the recent resurgence of special, rare, and early Cartier pieces, this Tank Basculante ‘I Love Cartier’ 150th Anniversary is a perfect candidate- coming complete as a full set with service papers and in incredible unpolished condition.