The name Cartier requires no introduction. As one of the most influential and celebrated jewellery and watch brands of the last 100 years, it has always stood as a mark of luxury and desirability. Without taking away from its historical significance, I would say that when it comes to watches, Cartier has always been predominantly known as a ‘design’ brand rather than a pure watchmaking one, with stunningly iconic models such as the Tank, the Crash, and the Santos all seen as important due to how it looks. In fact, to this day, it is the beautiful and unconventional designs that attract collectors and allows it to hold a unique position in the watch brand hierarchy that no other brand possesses.
Amongst the most famous watches lies a handful of timepieces that have stood the test of time for over an entire century. Released in 1917 and inspired by the tanks Louis Cartier saw on the western front in WWI, the Cartier Tank is a classic timepiece that has become one of the famed French jewellery Maison's most important collections. Over its long and storied past, it has taken on many different shapes, styles, sizes, colors, and so much more. Offered here today is the Cartier Tank Louis Ref. 96065 with an intricate guilloché dial and an extra thin 18-carat yellow gold case.
As far as case design goes, the Ref. 96065 pretty much speaks for itself - smooth, elegant, and restrained in construction. The case measures 23mm x 30mm and it is entirely constructed out of lustrous 18-carat yellow gold which has developed a nice warm patina over time, it is also completed with a characteristic cabochon-set winding crown. Powering the Ref. 96065 from within is the manual-winding Cartier Cal. 96, which was derived from Piaget’s extra thin Cal. 21.
While the Collection Prive examples of the Cartier Tank are more revered, this 96065 is a little known secret within watch collecting circles. A precursor to the CPCP era, it is essentially the same as the 1600 just without ‘Paris’ underneath the Cartier logo.
As I have mentioned earlier, Cartier isn’t exactly a brand that is historically known for high-end technical watchmaking, but the Maison represents something so much more than that. There is a certain sense of transcendence in their designs that speak to multiple generations of watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs. For me, that transcendence is represented in the form of a Cartier Tank, especially the Tank Louis. It holds a special place in my heart and it is the main reason why I love Cartier. The Cartier Tank Louis is simply a watch that never goes out of style. It is discreet in design but always manages to catch the attention of the room in whatever situation and in the best way possible. In other words, I believe that the Tank Louis is very much the go-to Tank, whether vintage or modern.