Of all the innumerable iterations of the Tank, the Basculante (literally translates as tilting) is perhaps Cartier’s most spellbinding. This particular Basculante is a mechanique, released after the CPCP iteration and powered by the F. Piguet, gold, hand-wound calibre 610 in 1997 as part of the ‘I Love Cartier’ collection commemorating the manufacture’s 150th. If it is not a Basculante you’ve seen, that’s easily forgiven: the release was limited to just 150 examples.
The reversing case design shown here was released by Cartier just a year after the Reverso, 1932. This was a decade which saw an immense rise in recreational sport, particularly tennis and polo. In order to protect the fragile crystal, the case was capable of bury its face upside-down. Interestingly, Cartier’s flipping mechanism was patented exclusively by Lecoultre, truly the watchmaker’s watchmaker.
Most compelling to my eye, this anniversary version has a central dial guilloché pattern unique to it, set against a blued steel hour and minute hand. Nearly every Cartier wristwatch features a jeweled crown. However, use of ruby has always been reserved for Cartier’s most special pieces. Here, the ruby is integrated in a sort of pull tab for the vertically hinged and articulating case, unique to this design.
This example is sharp. Its case sports full factory proportion, minimal surface wear. The back engravings are extremely deep. Original yellow gold buckle and full set included. It comes from a well-regarded Belgian retailer.
Find this 150th Basculante here from Mr Watchley for 20850 EUR.