Cartier is a name associated with royalty, beauty and exquisite taste. The Maison is known for their work in both jewellery and watches. This year at SIHH, Cartier gave the world a good look at their 2018 collection. Of their line up, the Tank is perhaps one of the brand’s most iconic and recognisable design styles with tradition of 100 years. Today we review the latest addition to this collection – the Cartier Tank Cintrée.
Review Cartier Tank Cintrée
Louis-François Cartier founded Cartier in Paris in 1847. His son Alfred Cartier took over the atelier 30 years later, and thereafter passed on to Alfred’s sons.The brand started to gain high recognition under Alfred’s sons’ leadership. The company was a family-owned business until 1964. Today, Cartier is part of the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA in Switzerland.
The Cartier Santos is a watch with rich tradition and history spanning over a hundred years. The watch was born in 1904 as Cartier’s first attempt at the gentleman’s wristwatch. The history behind the Santos watch includes Louis-François Cartier’ grandson, Louis Cartier and the pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Alberto complained about the inconvenience of the pocket watches during flights. As result, Cartier introduced the well-known square bezel Santos watch.
Another widely loved collection by Cartier is the Tank. The inspiration for the lovely line comes from the unfortunates events of the first World War. To be precise, the inspiration came from the Renault tanks of the Western Front: rectangle or square shaped watch with brancards (vertical sidebars) to fix the strap. The first Tank was presented to General John Pershing in 1917. Throughout the years, the Tank was released in various shapes and sizes, but all kept the key design elements that defined a Tank: crown with a sapphire cabochon, sword-shaped hands and railway chapter ring. The Tank collection is one of the longest-lasting collections in the industry, and still boasts an impressive number of fans. Important names that wore the watch include: Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. More about the history of Cartier Tank can be read in the article of our friend, George Cramer from Revolution Watch: 100 Years of the Cartier Tank, and more about the personalities wearing the Tank in this NY Times article: At 100, the Cartier Tank Transcends Time.
The case, dial and hands
The Cartier Tank Cintrée has not changed dramatically from the 1921 initial release. Cartier explains that the the idea behind the Tank Cintrée is to revisit and bring back the historical roots of the Tank. The 7.2mm slender, slightly curved case measures 46.3mm x 23mm. Cintrée is the French word for curved and fits perfectly this beautiful case. The curvature makes it wear small. The elegant style makes the line between men/ladies watches blur, and indeed even renders it non-existent. The Cartier Tank Cintrée fits exquisitely on the wrist, fitting perfectly both a petite lady’s wrist and a larger gentleman’s one. This piece cannot be accused of being too big or too small. It’s a Tank – a classic piece with its own charm.
The finishes present on the case are a pleasant amalgamation of polished and brushed surfaces. Cartier presented at SIHH three versions of the Cintrée with slightly different approaches. The platinum Tank Cintrée comes with the standard fare for Cartier platinum watches, ruby cabochon. The elegant crown is without a doubt magnificent and is excellently highlighted by the red stone – white metal combination. The Cartier Tank Cintrée platinum matt grey dial is adorned with white gold applied numerals. The chemin de fer (railway) chapter ring, one of the key signatures of the Tank watches, is subtle but present nevertheless. The grey printing is legible and offers an effortless reading of the time in the graceful layout. This version is fitted with black sword hands.
The Tank Cintrée in yellow gold presents another approach in terms of the colour scheme. While the case is identical in all aspects other than the material, the dial is manufactured with a champagne shade on a delicate sunray brushing. The Arabic numeral, the indexes and the minutes’ chapter ring are printed. The blued sword hands go fantastically well with the yellowish background and pairs impeccably with the blue sapphire cabochon of the crown.
For the third and final version of the Tank Cintrée which is presented in a rose gold case, Cartier makes a bold statement – a black dial. For those familiar with the Cartier watches, a black dial is indeed a rare bird. The strong contrast offered by the bright printing on the sunray brushed black background and shiny golden sword hands is appealing.
Cartier decided to go classic even on the choice of the buckle. The Tank Cintrée is fitted with gold ardillon buckle. For the those unfamiliar with this name, the ardillon (the French word for the barb) buckle is the tipped tongue buckle present on many Cartier classic pieces. The buckle is visible on the watch roll clip presented below. While the case is rated for 30m water resistance, it is not recommended to use the watch in a more extreme environment (pool etc).
The movement 8971MC
The Cartier Tank Cintrée has always been fitted with a hand-wound mechanical movement. The first model of the Cintrée was fitted, almost a hundred years ago, with a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement. Cartier stayed true to the roots of the Tank, choosing to go with their historical supplier for this year’s model. All three versions are powered by the 8971 MC, which is in principle the calibre JLC calibre 846 (the movement is used by JLC in many of his small watches, like the famous Reverso).
Unfortunately, we cannot opine on the finishing on the 8971MC since the back case is closed. We can, however, at least expect the usual high standards that we have come to know expect from both brands, Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre. The calibre 8971MC has a balance wheel ticking with 3Hz and a power reserve of 38 hours.
Talking about the Tank is similar to talking about classic watches both vintage or modern, so long as it has a feel of timelessness.
Perhaps the natural direct comparison of the Tank is another famous classic watch, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. Reverso celebrated the 85th anniversary in 2016. This makes it younger than the Tank Collection, but equal in fame. The Reverso collection has had a larger variety of models and sizes over the years. From simple dial, up to Duo Face or complicated calendars and even the Gyrotourbillon, there is a Reverso for every taste and price point. From the simple quartz or two hands hand-wound calibres, up to ultra-complicated pieces, the Reverso can be even personalised with engravings on the back side. The latest model, the Reverso Tribute Duoface in pink gold case, is a partnership with Casa Fagliano, the famed Argentinan bootmakers, and comes with a two-tone cordovan strap.
A beautiful and more “contemporary” watch is the Franck Muller Long Island. This beautiful Art Deco inspired timepiece has a large variety of case materials, dials and movements.
Another fine piece is the stunning Patek Philippe Gondolo. This timepiece’s name is associated with Tiffany & Co., and the watch certainly meets all lofty expectations.
Also from the list of the older collection, we would like to offer the A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret. The noble watch has a strong German flavour with gold applied indexes and numerals. As any other Lange watch, the Cabaret features exemplary finishes.
The Tank Cintrée is a lovely companion. It could be a faithful partner for a business attire, a romantic evening date or any other moment. The wrist feel is amazing. The Cartier Tank Cintrée wears comfortable, it is highly legible and is easy to set and wind.
Cartier has labelled the Tank Cintrée to be the embodiment of: purity, beauty, immortal, classic, lady, cavalier (gentleman) – and it certainly lives up to these ideals. It’s a timepiece that can go easily as a pretty lady’s watch and, at the same time, a powerful classic man’s watch. Going back to the origins of the Tank Cintrée is a lovely initiative which we salute.
Cartier Tank Cintrée Specification and Price
The Cartier Tank Cintrée will be available later this year at a price of S$28,300, US$20,400 or €16,500 for the pink gold or yellow gold versions and S$32,600, US$23,500 or €19,000 for the platinum (a limited release of only 100 pieces).
Calibre: Cartier Caliber 8971 MC
Type: Mechanical calibre with manual winding
Dimension: 5¾ lignes (15.2 x 13 mm, H 2.9 mm)
Components: 93 parts
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, Minutes
Material: Platinum, pink gold, yellow gold
Dimensions of the case: 46.3mm x 23mm
Crystal: sapphire crystal
Water resistance: 30 meters
Dial: Grey (platinum), black (pink gold), golden (yellow gold)
Material: Grey alligator, brown alligator
Buckle: ardillon buckle