Chinese Dial Cartier CPCP Tank Cintrée Dual Time
China has 160 cities with over a million people. Their intense public transport spending has meant the entire country is connected by high speed rail, cars are not needed. China is producing everything for everyone, everywhere. The more mathematically minded, on the spectrum-types are working extremely hard (perhaps at gunpoint?) to not just compete with foreign business, but crush it. And they have. So how does the nation with the fastest growing %1 (China will mint millionaires at least 7x times faster than the US in the next 5 years) rewards its incredibly hard-fought upper crust? This seemed like a pretty great start in 2005.
The Tank Cintrée had been around since 1921, shortly after the 1919 Tank. Wristwatches had only just been adopted by British soldiers in the Boer War for their practicality relative to pocket watches. Post war, those same credentials propelled the Tank and latter Cintrée case to be the ultimate aesthetic wristwear for timeless style. The Cintrée was adopted by Fred Astaire, Steve McQueen and Ralph Lauren. In 1990, CPCP-era ambition collided with the Cintrée to create a beautifully bizarre dual time, incorporating two dial and two ETA 2412 calibres in the elongated 46×23mm case proportion. The dual time, more than most CPCP pieces, was a design and commercial success. But this isn’t any dual time.
In 2005, Cartier wanted a way to say thank you to their Asian (largely Chinese) customers, many of whom had carried their watchmaking arm through years of less enthusiastic markets. With grace typical of the marque, they studied their customers. Instead of making a blue dial or something a bit blasé, Cartier observed that many of these clients were traveling extensively between the East and West. Sure, the dual time met this need. But Cartier went a step further and created a lower dial with Chinese numerals at the quarter hours in an unadvertised 100-example limited edition run.
Discreetly and somewhat accidentally, Cartier had created a watch which spoke directly to the core of many collectors: those who found themselves, either by location or spirit, a hybrid of two cultures. Without necessarily trying, they’d created a watch which bridged those two cultures with complete grace. As a result, these 100 examples have become almost nonexistent in the market in recent years, a true cultural masterclass.
This example has a full case in white gold, strong edges, and little surface wear. Its dial is perfect. It comes from a well-regarded California retailer with a full set.
Find this Asian Market CPCP Cintrée Dual Time here from The Keystone for 75000 USD.