This svelte Tank Louis predates the CPCP era in which Cartier were a vertical manufacture . . .and it may just be all the better for it. One of the many joys of Cartier enthusiasm is the extreme depth in their back catalogue. The late 80s and early 90s saw Cartier make a return to serious mechanical watchmaking, just not quite at the extremes of the art which were achieved under CPCP. Moreover, this time saw the Tank become extremely slim due to use of a Frederique Piguet calibre 21, which was for decades the thinnest manual wind movement on market (later dethroned by the .1mm thinner AP cal 2003). Not only are these pre-CPCP Tanks a difficult hunt, but this example comes on the rarely-optioned, full-factory teardrop bracelet.
The FP calibre 21 allowed for a very slight but no less significant case redesign, yes. But the differences between this and the latter CPCP production do not end there. The central rosette guilloché pattern is slightly finer as well, and the elegance of that dial is underscore by the lack of the word ‘Paris’ written underneath. Additionally, the case ‘tank’ treads or brancards ares thinner to accentuate the flat case design. In total, slight visual differences that only few will appreciate, yet spell and entirely different approach to the Tank from the latter CPCP.
The most obvious distinction on this example, however, is that the matched yellow gold bracelet is elegant enough to hold its own. It is believed that in this period of sales, clients were given the option of a strap, beads of rice bracelet, or the teardrop bracelet shown here. Cartier’s BOR style is far more common yet still quite rare compared to aftermarket solutions. This full teardrop link bracelet is said to have been something of a VIP-only offering, even back in the 1990s. This style of Tank and bracelet combination is usually an auction darling, though today appears in the secondary market for collectors to clamor over.
This example sports a case in very strong condition. There is the lightest of wear visible on its brancards although only just. Its all-important bracelet has the just tiniest degree of slack. Its dial is clean with no deterioration visible. It comes recently serviced from a well-regarded Japanese retailer.
Find this Extra Flat Cartier Tank here from Special Dial listed as POA.