Cartier CPCP Tank À Guichets in Rose Gold
This is a CPCP Tank À Guichets, or as I like to call it the Tankiest Tank. Cartier’s name is sexier, I admit. The Tank À Guichets has always been a limited release in Cartier, from first commission in 1928 until this 100 example run in 2004 over 90 years, it’s only ever been a few small runs of 100 examples or so. Despite being far away from limelight and normal production, it’s something of a cult classic for the Cartier crazy. I think of it as an Art Deco Zeitwerk, and while that could be said about many mid-century jumping hour wristwatches, this is the one they’re all trying to be.
The Guichet was brought to market in 1928 as a commission for VVIP clients, much like the Crash. The name refers to the registers (guichets is French for windows), which ‘jump’ as the time advances digitally (still mechanically powered). I find it quite interesting that while the Louis Cartier Tank was inspired by a WWI Renault FT17, the Guichet is the silhouette which, by far, looks most armoured. Not only that, but its history is downright clandestine. See, despite documented origin and order history, no one seems know just why Cartier chose to go digital or what inspired the design. What is certain is that the design was, and always has been, a special order and highly coveted. It was so coveted that, in period, Duke Ellington and Gary Cooper wore one daily (as well as the Maharaja of Patiala).
Six examples were released after the 1920s originals in 1996. Then, in 1997 and for Cartier’s 150th anniversary, 150 platinum examples were produced. Finally, in 2004 as a part of the masterful CPCP collection, a limited release of 100 examples in rose gold were produced. That’s what you’re looking at here. Technically it’s a 2005 watch, but made 2004. The 96 and 97 releases are distinguished by their slightly smaller crowns. Both utilized a Piaget ébauche calibre 9752 MC and were a discreet 26mm x 37mm. No one knows just how many 1928 Guichets were produced, which throws off estimates, but most seem to believe total production across all decades to be well under 400 examples. That number makes the Crash look like a Sub by comparison. It’s a matter a opinion, but I’d opt for this. In part because it’s such a nerd-cult watch and in part because Kanye never wore one. If you’re reading Mr. West, please don’t. At least until I get mine.
This example is in excellent overall condition with all brushed surfaces minimally scarred. It appears to be on its original strap, not known if its set is included. It comes from a well-regarded Dubai retailer.