Cartier Tank Americaine Mechanique
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Cartier Tank Americaine Mechanique

Why We Love It

The Cartier Tank Americaine is quite possibly the least understood model in Cartier's lineup.

Introduced in 1989 under Richemeont group ownership, the Tank Americaine is in many ways a modern update to the classic Cintree model. With an elongated case featuring a gently curved case back, the Americaine line was designed from the start to be a larger watch to suit American tastes. Initially launched exclusively with quartz movements, the line has expanded in the past decades to include a variety of mechanical variants, as well as sizes, casing materials, and complications that put the Americaine all over the map in terms of value - hence the broad confusion amongst collectors, who don't know where to 'put' the model in the lineup from low to high.

This particular example is a stunning full size model cased in 18k yellow gold, and features the timeless satin silver guilloche dial with printed roman indices that the brand was built on. Fitted with a set of blued steel hands, octagonal sapphire cabochon winding crown, and an absolutely magnificent matching yellow gold bracelet with deployant clasp, this is quite simply one of the most gorgeous (and heavy!) Tanks we've ever had. 

And we saved the best part for last: It has a manual winding movement.

-- Mic drop, walks offstage --

The Story

Despite being a purveyor of haute joaillerie, Cartier has had a long tradition of making watches.

It started in 1907, when founder Louis Cartier made what was arguably the very first wristwatch for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont. In the following years, the brand made a name for itself with its most famous wristwatch, the Tank, in all its multitudinous forms.

Cartier introduced the Tank in 1917, with a run of six pieces - given, or so the legend goes, to American General Joseph Pershing and his staff. The design of the Tank was inspired by the Renault FT-17 tanks Cartier seen on the battlefields of World War I. Cartier took the look of the Renault tank's treads and applied it to the lugs, which were integrated via brancards into the case itself. That first run of six pieces increased to thirty-three by 1920, and by the end of the 20th Century, that number stood well in the hundreds of thousands. In sheer volume alone, the Tank - in all its various models - is Cartier's largest line of watches. 

The Tank Louis was introduced in 1922, following close on the heels of the Asian-influenced Tank Chinoise. The Tank Chinoise, released amidst a mania for jewelry inspired by the Orient, has a square rather than rectangular case and lugs that resemble the portico of a Chinese pagoda.

From its debut, it would see many variations, each in keeping with Louis Cartier’s taste for clean lines and perfect symmetry. Each variant, from the original Tank, Tank Louis or the Cintrée with its flirtatious, curvaceous lines, had its passionate devotees. Rudolph Valentino, that sensual star of the silver screen, insisted on wearing his Tank onscreen in The Son of the Sheik, and Clark Gable, Andy Warhol, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were among those who sported a Tank throughout the years.

 

 

 

Details

SKU: AS03841

18k Yellow gold case is approximately 27mm X 45mm (excluding the crown). Piaget Calibre 9P2 manual-winding movement. Cartier Reference 1735-1. Circa 2000.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing light wear consistent with age and use. Non-luminous satin silver guilloche dial is in as-new condition with printed Roman indices and blued steel handset. Octagonal sapphire cabochon crown.

Includes multi-link 18k yellow gold bracelet with signed deployant clasp. Sized to fit up to 6.5" wrists.

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