Cartier. An 18k Gold Automatic Wristwatch with Date
Model: Tank Americaine
Case No: 77xxxxCD
Automatic jeweled movement, silvered matte dial, black Roman numerals, blued steel hands, inner railway minute divisions, center seconds, aperture at 6 o’clock for date, secret signature at VII, rectangular-shaped case, sapphire-set crown, case back secured by eight screws, 18k gold Cartier buckle, case, dial, and movement signed
44.5mm overall length
Accompanied by a Cartier presentation box, warranty, and certificate.
Cartier is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, having one of the longest-lasting models in continuous production. A classic watch with a refined square-shaped case, the first Tank wristwatch was released in 1917. Simplistic in form, it combined two sets of parallel lines made of gold or platinum, with a sapphire set in the winding crown, and a leather strap. At the time of its introduction, the first World War was coming to a close – American troops arrived in France, and the British and American armies relied heavily on tanks in the battlefield. The importance of these vehicles led Louis Cartier to name this new watch the “Tank”, inspired by the two parallel elongated sides of the British Mark IV tank. The ends of the left and right sides of the square case were lengthened to allow the strap to be more a part of the whole watch, not just attached to it.
As early as the 1920’s, Cartier would begin releasing different editions of the Tank, mostly varying the shape of the case, as seen in the Tank Cintrée models which had longer and curved cases, and the Tank Chinoise models which more prominently featured the top and bottom lines and was inspired by Chinese temples. Over the next seventy years, the Tank would go through a series of subtle changes in design and movement, but always stayed true to the original design concept with the same key elements.
In 1989, Cartier released the Tank Americaine model, with an elongated and slightly curved case that was inspired by the elegant and distinguished shape of the Tank Cintrée. With advances made in case production, the Tank Americaine cases were made to be water resistant. The model was first released with a quartz movement and in two variations – one with a subsidiary dial for constant seconds and one with a moonphase, but neither version caused much of a stir. However, in 1993 a variation was released with a mechanical movement, and with no other windows or hands, just those for hours and minutes. This variation was also in a much larger case. Sized at 44mm x 26.5mm, it was significantly larger than the traditional Tank, which measured 33mm x 25.5mm. This variation garnered more attention, and by 1998, with the release of the limited edition Collection Privée examples, collectors had embraced the model. Soon after, Cartier released an automatic version, with a date window and sweep center seconds – the reference 1740.