78086 Cartier Paris Tank Louis Grande with Beads of Rice Bracelet
The feeling I got the first time I tried on a tailored suit in a fabric I’d picked out was not unlike losing virginity, there was a sense of total opportunity as if the world had just blossomed. This feeling, too, arose when I spent a week learning how wheel offset and sizing worked and I ordered a pair BBS perfectly tailored to get my C63’s stance just right. And I think we’ve all had this sensation the first time we put a Sub or Black Bay on a leather strap or NATO, or ordered a bright green suede strap for a Journe. But this is the opposite case. This is Paris Tank Louis on an extremely rare, original beads of rice bracelet, and it makes you think just what might be possible with Cartiers on bracelet.
Without wishing to be dramatic, the delta between a Tank as we know it and a Tank on original bracelet is huge enough that it feels like an entirely different model, and they’re both perfect in their own way. Bracelets were always available as a not-very-advertised option for most Tanks from the Robert Hocq era onward. For the extremely small part of this audience that’s been to In-N-Out Burger, it’s the secret menu animal style fries of the Cartier world. In fact, Cartier even went so far in iterations of the Tank that came after this to create a very sexy teardrop bracelet only made available to VVIPs as a way of differentiating clients and saying thank you. And just like animal style fries, this packs a bunch. I believe our eyes collectively are so trained to expect Tanks on leather or suede straps that this is just a foreign concept.
The bracelet itself is matching yellow gold with a tightly woven pattern that’s silky smooth in person, I’ve only ever been lucky enough to handle one. The endlinks are also perfectly sized to continue the texture right up to the case profile. These make what is really a quite delicate and small watch wear a bit larger, more like the Cintrée in the sense that it becomes more of a bracelet feel than small watch feel. I’ve just spent today’s post entirely describing how I feel about a bracelet, not even mentioning the underlying 80s 78086 Tank. But that’s alright, because the point of this is to make you consider just how excellent different Cartier cases may look on bracelet. Very excellent, I believe.
And this example is lovely. The Tank case has deep engravings and a very light level of surface wear. The enamel dial shows just the tiniest sign of age a little ways below the A of Cartier, otherwise it is perfect and the overall condition is exceptional, including the bracelet. It comes from a well-regarded collector who goes on Instagram by @dial_log.