Cartier’s re-entry to mechanical watchmaking was a strong one. Famed initially for the 1920 mechanical Tank, Cartier was a quick adopter of quartz. By the mid 1980s, 75% of their range was entirely electric (due to some acquisitions/mergers that created quartz vertical integration). In fairness, the technology was suited to the application. The Tank is quite a delicate watch and, though very historically significant, perhaps more fashion-oriented than its competitors. However, by the early 90s, Cartier had seen the writing on the wall. Watchmaking luxury was to be based in mechanics. The result was the founding of a new division, the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP), focussed on re-introducing mechanical haute horology.
Today we have an early example of the work of CPCP. I believe you can still feel the fire of the team’s initial passion in these pieces. This reference 1737 is a take on the Tank Americaine. The Americaine is the more robust, ‘American’ proportion of the classic Tank. The initial intent was to market towards men. However, in today’s world of 45mm grand complications, I think the Americaine is a relatively versatile un-gendered dress piece. This is the modern Tank. Although it was initially a quartz number, by 1993 CPCP had worked their magic on this model. While most quartz Tanks are produced in the thousands plus, CPCP models were very limited. Production runs were in the low hundreds for each model. Recently, collectors have begun to favor the CPCP era, even over classic pre-70s Cartier. CPCP ran for just ten years and created some truly lovely work. If you’re looking for the modern Tank, this is it. There are few more tasteful dress pieces.
This Americaine 1737 example comes with a full set from a well-known seller, S. Song. There is almost no visible wear from since its 1999 production date. I cannot say I’ve ever seen a better condition example. But then again, this is the kind of piece you wear on special occasions—generally speaking. This is near-as-they-come a perfect dress watch for a subtle, smart enthusiast. Or, if you are after a more svelt proportion, check out this rare JLC of similar design.
Find this Tank Americaine here from S. Song for 25000 USD.