Cartier CPCP 2846 Tank Monopoussoir
You may be forgiven for imagining that the Tortue was Cartier’s only design to receive that spectacular THA ébauche monopusher chronograph during the CPCP years. It is not so, but the second Monopoussoir, a Tank, is vanishingly rare by comparison at just 200 examples . . .ever. There are many reasons to adore the Tank Monopoussoir: its obscurity, unique case, and dial design to name a few. But, personally, I adore the ref. 2846 because it is the CPCP king of what I call ‘double take’ watches. This category I define loosely as the following: a watch which, at a glance under 2 seconds long, looks like something you’re very familiar with. Then you pause. And after spending 5 seconds staring in confusion, you realize the watch is something entirely foreign for which you have no precedent. It’s like John Mayer’s famous ‘look closer’ line, but with an additional layer of camouflage.
And you should look closer, because very little here is shared. The case is quite masculine, both in its 34x43mm proportion, but also the thick bevels, strong lugs, and square shape. It’s Tank in feel, but really totally its own thing. Perhaps most striking are the dual Breguet-shaped hands. Then the dial features the familiar rosette guilloché, but in a larger texture than we’re used to. The Tank Monopoussoir was released in the penultimate year of CPCP very quietly, in 100 rose gold examples. Following, in 2008 a final 100 white gold examples, as shown here, were released. That is all there has ever been. But the most special thing about this watch is the movement. Why?
It was architected by Journe, Flageollet (now De Bethune), and Vianney Halter under THA, before they were big names. In the words of Mr. Flageollet, ‘We were young, we had no doubts, and we created incredible objects together that would be difficult to make today.’ The calibre 045 used a clutch system and swivel pin to engage the chronograph wheel. These extra components remove the jolt that the central chronograph hand will experience with a lateral clutch. This was a lot of engineering, a ground-up chronograph redesign for a mono all for the sake of an elegant chronograph engagement. That’s commitment to the brand ethos, a round of applause please. Bridges and plates were decorated with the Cartier logo and finished to a high standard by hand. Cartier created CPCP to take watchmaking seriously. The Tank Monopoussoir embodies that philosophy, perhaps more deeply than any of its peers.
The case on this example is strong, but does show a light to moderate degree of surface wear. It’s been worn, but I see no significant bashes. The dial is perfect. All hallmarks and engravings are deep, I suspect the case is not adulterated. There are very light personal engravings on the back that should be noted. It comes with its white gold deployant clasp but no box or papers from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this Tank Monopoussoir here from A Collected Man for 38500 GBP.