The history of Cartier Tank is rather intriguing. Over the years, it has produced many unique pieces, such as the Tank Asymétrique and the Tank Basculante. This time round, the Squelette DNA finds its way into the Tank family line.
During this year’s SIHH, Cartier has launched a few novelties pieces. Among which was a pair of Tank Squelettes which caught our eyes. We have a thing for the skeletonized pieces, simply because it is a mind-boggling blend of minimalism and complexity at the same time. Oh, what an oxymoron.
First up, we will have a look at the Tank MC Squelette (quick fact: “squelette” means skeleton, in French). The Tank MC was launched a few years ago, as a modern interpretation of the Tank family line. The Tank MC is a little more different from the conventional Tank watches; it appears more squarish and masculine. In fact, it looks a lot like the Santos from afar.
When we first saw the Squelette, it reminded us of what the Tank MC stood for. The Tank MC was meant to be modern. The fact that is was skeletonized makes it even more contemporary looking. Perhaps that was what Cartier wanted all along. Something modern for the group of younger collectors. A great juxtaposition with the Tank LC Squelette.
The heart of the watch is powered by Cartier’s Calibre 9619 MC, which is a manual-winding movement. It contains 138 parts and 20 jewels, with a power reserve of around 3 days. Even though it is just a two-handed watch, but aesthetically it is rather complicated. The skeletonized bridges of the watch is carved to form the quintessential roman numerals that indicates the hours and minutes. Every movement is individually numbered as well, and it is engraved on the back of the movement.
The Tank MC Squelette is 34.5mm by 43.8mm in dimension. This version is only cased in pink gold. Albeit the lack of choices, I do think that the watch looks really good in pink gold. If it was cased in yellow gold, the watch would have looked a little too traditional, which is at odds with Tank MC’s design cues. On the other hand, if it was done in White Gold, then it will look a lot like the Palladium version which was launched previously. This makes the decision to case the watch in pink gold rather rational.
Next, we have the Cartier Tank LC Squelette. As per mentioned, the Tank LC follows a more traditional design cue.
One of the greatest differences in terms of the design between the MC and LC Squelette would be the bridge. In the LC, Cartier did not carve the roman numerals onto the bridge itself. There might be several reasons for it. Firstly, we think that the inclusion of the roman numerals would have made the watch looked more modern. Secondly, the reason might be due to the fact that Cartier wants to allow us to enjoy the skeletonized movement. Perhaps, it might be done to further differentiate the LC from the MC. But whatever the reason was, the Tank LC Squelette turned out exceptionally well.
The Cartier Tank LC Squelette is powered by the Calibre 9616 MC movement. Like the Calibre 9619 MC movement that was fitted in the Tank MC Squelette, this one is a manual-winding movement too. The Calibre 9616 MC features 159 parts, and 21 jewels. Similarly, this piece has got a power reserve of 3 days.
From the choice of using white gold for the case to the size of the watch (30mm x 39.2mm) , the Tank LC Squelette was meant to be discreet. This is further emphasized by the indiscernible seconds hand. This watch is not here to steal the show; it is here to compliment a suit or a formal attire. What is amazing is in the little details of the watch, such as the crown and the different kinds of finishing on the watch and the movement.
Both the Tank LC and MC Squelette are really extraordinary. For us, we would have preferred the Tank LC over the Tank MC. There is no doubt that the Tank MC Squelette is an exceptional piece. But the Tank LC Squelette edges out, simply because they have managed to recreate an iconic piece and made it even more special. And that itself is an incredible feat.