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Cartier Tank à Guichets

HighLifeChannel August 6, 2020

The history of Cartier is filled with many incredible watches, often in unique shapes. Over the years, many have become icons of ‘La Maison’ and gathered quite a few fans along the way. Others remain somewhat of a mystery, as they are so rare that they hardly ever come up for sale, and are often not more than a footnote in most books. This is also the case with the Tank à Guichets, with its novel way of indicating the time.

The Tank à Guichets was launched in 1928 and even then only made in very small quantities. Despite this, or perhaps because, it did find its way to the wrist of a celebrity, as it was Duke Ellington’s watch of choice for many years. The fact that he was ‘in a sentimental mood’ over it might also have something to do with the way that the Tank à Guichets displays the time. It was Cartier’s very first jump hour watch, which it combined with wandering minutes. This means that the minute disc runs continuously, and when it completes a full rotation, the hour jumps forward. The windows are rather small, and for the rest, the dial is covered. This gives it a very unique and masculine appearance.

The Tank à Guichets made a brief comeback in 1997 when Cartier included it in its line-up to celebrate its 150th anniversary. These watches can be recognized by the ruby set in the crown, instead of the typical sapphire. Crafted from platinum is it a very substantial watch. It is powered by a manual wind movement, caliber 9752MC, made by Piaget. Cartier created, not surprisingly, 150 pieces of this particular Tank à Guichets. It was followed in 2005 by another limited edition of only 100 pieces. These were made in pink gold. This makes the Tank à Guichets, throughout the history of ‘La Maison,’ one of its rarest watches, yet a true delicacy for collectors.


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