Cartier Introduces the Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique

Time-only and skeleton.

Cartier has made it an annual tradition to revive one of its iconic case shapes as part of the compact and focused Cartier Privé line, having started with the Tank Cintrée in 2018, followed by the Tonneau last year.

Now at Watches & Wonders 2020, the jeweller has recreated one of its most divergent Tank models with the Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique, in the classic time-only format as well as a contemporary skeleton version.

The Tank Asymetrique Skeleton

Introduced in 1936, the Asymétrique was not conceived as a Tank wristwatch at the time of its launch, and was known as the Parallélogramme or Losange after its case shape. It deviated from a conventional rectangular case literally, with the case brancards offset in opposite directions, transforming the rectangle into a diamond, while the dial was rotated by 30 degrees to the right. A distinctive feature of the dial on the vintage Parallélogramme watches were the alternating Arabic numeral and baton hour markers, probably conceived to improve legibility of the skewed dial.

In the modern day, the Asymétrique was incorporated into the Tank wristwatch line-up when it was reproduced as a limited edition. That happened first in 1996 with a limited edition with a small case size, with 300 examples in yellow gold and another 100 in platinum, both having the same dial style as the vintage originals. (And in 1999 a tiny run of watches was made to commemorate the handover of Macau to China.)

The CPCP Tank Asymetrique of 2006. Photo – Christie’s

Then in 2006 came the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP) limited edition of 150 pieces in yellow gold – along with a tiny number of unique examples in platinum – with a more Baroque guilloche dial and Breguet hands. But this edition had a larger case with a triple lug, making it more suited to modern tastes.

While both editions shared the same silhouette, they differed in almost every other aspect, from the dial, dimension, and even the lugs. The new Tank Asymétrique is a compelling fusion of the two earlier editions, combining the larger case of the 2006 version with the dial design of the earlier model.

Tank Asymétrique 

As with the earlier Cartier Privé models, the watch is available in three metals – platinum, yellow as well as pink gold – each in a limited run of 100 pieces. Predictably, the trio sticks to the case metal and dial combinations established by the rest of the Cartier Prive line, which means elegant, restrained colours.

Accordingly, the dial has a fine, radial-brushed finish that retains the alternating hour markers of the vintage original, but with a refined, serif typeface as well as the addition of tiny dots at six and 12 o’clock to aid readability.

Measuring 47.15 mm by 26.2 mm, the dimensions of the case are identical to the 2006 model, and features the same central lug to keep the strap in place. The case measures just 6.38 mm high due to the ultra-thin movement inside.

As a result of its shape, the case has a tiny volume of usable space within, so the movement is necessarily tiny. It’s the hand-wound 1917 MC, an in-house calibre originally developed for ladies’ watches. Measuring just 2.9 mm high, it is also found in last year’s Cartier Prive Tonneau and has a 38-hour power reserve.

Tank Asymétrique Skeleton

Though Cartier has long offered open-worked versions of almost all of its best-known watches, this is the very first skeletonised Tank Asymétrique. With the exception of a possibly-unique example made in 1997, Cartier has never produced a skeletonised Asymétrique.

The Tank Asymétrique Skeleton is available in pink gold, platinum as well as a bejewelled platinum version, the watch shares the same dimensions as the time-only model with the exception of its height. It’s slightly thicker at 7.82 mm due to the larger movement within.

As is convention for Cartier’s modern-day skeleton watches, the 9623 MC movement forms the dial with its bridges open-worked to form the hour indices. More unusually, the hour markers are engraved and filled with blue lacquer to complement the blued steel hands and to improve legibility.

And as is the with Cartier’s other skeleton watches, the Tank Asymetrique Skeleton is substantially more expensive than the standard version, priced at well over double in all metals.

Key facts and price

Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique
Ref. WGTA0042 (platinum)
Ref. WGTA0043 (rose gold)
Ref. WGTA0044 (yellow gold)

Diameter: 47.15 by 26.2 mm
Height: 6.38 mm
Material: Platinum; pink gold; yellow gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 1917 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator leather

Limited edition: 100 pieces in each metal
In boutiques and retailers from December onwards
Price: 30,800 Swiss francs, or 41,500 Singapore dollars (platinum); 27,200 Swiss francs, or 36,400 Singapore dollars (pink and yellow gold)

Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique Skeleton

Ref. WHTA0011 (pink gold)
Ref. WHTA0012 (platinum)
Ref. HPI01370 (platinum with diamonds)

Diameter: 47.15 by 26.2 mm
Height: 7.82 mm
Material: Platinum or pink gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 9623 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Alligator leather

Limited edition: 100 pieces in each metal
In boutiques and retailers from December onwards
Price: 60,500 Swiss francs, or 84,500 Singapore dollars (pink gold); 68,500 Swiss francs, or 96,500 Singapore dollars (platinum); 96,000 Swiss francs, or 136,000 Singapore dollars (diamond-set)

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