Best of SIHH: Hands-On with the Cartier Tank Cintrée

The most elegant of Tanks returns in style.
Cartier Tank Cintree platinum 2018-2

With a chief executive who has publicly declared Cartier is returning to its classic styles, the jeweller’s SIHH 2018 line-up was expected to be, well, classical. The resurrected Tank Cintrée is nonetheless a surprise, being a design that harks back to the origins of the Tank, yet isn’t quite a vintage remake.

One of the few amongst dozens of Cartier Tank variations produced only in limited edition runs – including the 2006 remake of 150 in yellow gold and 50 in platinum that’s the closest to this one – the Tank Cintree is like the elegant Francophile sibling to the heavyset, but more widely known, Tank Americaine.

Cartier Tank Cintree platinum 2018-1

Designed in 1921 as one of the earliest variations of the original Tank, the Cintrée translates literally as “curved Tank”, a nod to its gently arched case. Sized exactly the same as the largest vintage Tank Cintree (and also the 2006 reissue), the latest edition is 46.3mm long, just 23mm wide and only 7.6mm high. It’s a slender but still substantial form, and striking on the wrist because of the shape.

Cartier Tank Cintree platinum 2018

The Tank Cintrée is available in three guises: yellow gold with a champagne dial, pink gold with a black dial, and platinum with a pale grey dial.

All share the same dial design that’s familiar, but still relatively novel. It draws heavily on vintage Tank Cintree watches, featuring the same railway track and Arabics at 12 and six, but with baton indices for the rest of the hours.

Cartier Tank Cintree 2018

Like the original Tank watches, the dials have a smooth, as opposed to guilloche, finish. Though rather than grained surface, they have a radial brushed finish that is fine enough to be almost imperceptible, especially on the platinum version.

Cartier Tank Cintree platinum 2018-4

Each version is subtly differentiated in an elegant manner. The champagne dial features brown markings and blued, while the platinum model has a ruby cabochon on the crown, historically a feature of platinum Cartier watches.

Cartier Tank Cintree platinum 2018-3

Of the three the platinum version is the clear winner, starting with its tactile feel. The denser metal gives it a bit more heft, which helps given that the watch is quite insubstantial. The monochromatic grey dial and black hands also give it a dignified bearing, but one that is alleviated by the bright red crown jewel. And best of all it is only 15% or so more than the gold models.

Between the two versions in 18k gold, the yellow gold Cintree is more unusual, and also more attractive. The colours give it a vaguely vintage feel without feeling affected, though the yellow tones of the watch lack contrast with Asian skin.

The Tank Cintrée is powered by the cal. 8971 MC, which is actually a Jaeger-LeCoultre cal. 846. Ovoid in shape with a 36-hour power reserve, the cal. 846 is a smallish movement developed for the small and medium size Reverso watches.

All three are paired with matching alligator straps that notably have pin, or ardillon, buckles, instead of the folding clasp synonymous with Cartier. That’s one factor that kept the retail price reasonable, though it leaves the watch feeling a little incomplete, given that the folding clasp is practically standard issue for Cartier.

Price and availability 

The Tank Cintrée in yellow or red gold is part of the regular collection, and priced at €16,500. The same in platinum is a limited edition of 100, with a price of €19,000. All prices exclude taxes. The trio will be available at Cartier retailers and boutiques sometime in the later half of 2018.


 

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