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 it is 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, colours, and so much more. Offered here today is a contemporary iteration of the original – the 170-piece limited edition Tank Louis Cartier in Platinum 950, exclusive only to the European market and serves to celebrate 170 years of watchmaking at Cartier.
As far as case design goes, the Tank Louis Cartier Platinum pretty much speaks for itself - smooth, elegant, and restrained in construction. The case measures 25.5mm x 33.7mm and is constructed entirely out of solid platinum 950. Powering the Tank Louis Cartier Platinum from within is Cartier’s in-house, manual-winding Cal. 1917 MC. An ultra-thin movement that derives its namesake from the birth year of the Tank (1917), and boasts a respectable 38-hour power reserve on a full wind.
The defining feature in this limited edition Tank Louis Cartier Platinum undoubtedly lies in its captivating grey-blue Art Deco dial, a tribute to the dials of the 1990s which, in turn, drew inspiration from timepieces originating in the Art Deco period spanning the 1910s and 1920s. While it adheres to a time-only design which may not be entirely groundbreaking, the grey-blue color palette harmonizes seamlessly with its lustrous platinum case. The laser-engraved pattern on the dial also adds a profound sense of depth, utilizing various gradient shades of blue treated with PVD (physical vapour deposition) which comes to life depending on the lighting conditions. It serves as the ideal canvas for the four oversized Arabic numerals and a set of rhodium-plated steel sword hands. I must say, the restraint expressed here is impeccable; Cartier has thoughtfully incorporated just the right amount of design elements, giving the old dial a contemporary appeal for modern wrists. The final touch of the ruby cabochon introduces the perfect contrast for warmth, particularly against the watch's overall cool and serene color palette.
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 is a big reason why I love Cartier. The Cartier Tank Louis is simply a watch that never goes out of style, and especially so with its Art Deco variants, in my opinion. It is discrete and restrained in design but yet always manages to catch the attention of the room in whatever situation. In other words, I am of the opinion that the Tank Louis is very much the go-to Tank, for sure.
Limited to just 170 pieces made exclusively for the European market, this Cartier Tank Louis ‘Europe-only’ is not something you’d see every day, and is deserving of considerable attention from collectors.