If you’re going to opt for the classic Cartier, a Tank, you might as well opt for the variant that looks like its namesake. The Tank À Guichets is perhaps the watch which, in Cartier’s entire range of offerings, stands farthest away from the limelight. This has shifted slightly in the last year or so, but for over ninety years Cartier’s first jumping hour wristwatch has been a domain of the niche. For something with the technical weight of an early Zeitwerk, surprisingly little is known about the conditions which produced this gorgeous silhouette of art deco eccentricity.
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 change. 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). It has remained a limited production release across various iterations over decades since.
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. No one knows just how many 1928 Guichets were produced, but most estimate total production across all decades well under 400 examples.
The earlier 96 and 97 releases are easily distinguished by their crowns, which are slightly smaller in overall size and in their ruby cabochon. Both utilized a Piaget ébauche calibre 9752 MC and were a discreet 26mm x 37mm. In any guise, the Tank À Guichets is a reference perennially on the fringes: a siren waiting to ruin the bank accounts of unsuspecting Cartier enthusiasts who wander into its grasp. Its attraction has proven unwavering to many, including myself, since the I laid eyes on it. Who knew windows could be so sexy?
This example sports an untouched case with minute surface wear to the best my eye can discern. Original clasp, band, and papers are included. The Tank comes from a private collector of Cartier out of Sweden.
Find this CPCP Tank À Guichets available here from @dial_log on Instagram by DM for 96000 EUR.