Cartier Tank à Guichets
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.