The ''Unknown'' vintage 1970s oversized Cartier Stepped Tank Jumbo XL reference 15716 - 1543 - 471
Nov 09, 2020,07:01 AM
Finding references for some vintage Cartier watches can be difficult,
and the rarer models can be overlooked duo the lack of information. I'm
planning to post some references and knowledge I have on certain vintage
Cartier watches, and I will start with one of my favorite and most
overlooked Cartier Tank Jumbo models.
The oversized 1970s Cartier Stepped Tank Jumbo XL, with the caliber 78-1 Cartier mechanical hand wind movement.
The Stepped Tank was a true Jumbo. The case measured 38x28 mm which was
considered larger than any other Tank model during the 1970s. It was for
example ''8 mm'' larger than its cousin the rare 1970s 'Cartier Tank
Louis Jumbo Automatic'. This watch only measured 30x28 mm compared to
the Stepped Tank which measured 38x28mm.
The Stepped Tank came in three variations depending in which boutique it
was made. It came in three similar (but o.. so different) references,
and I will try to explain the differences.
All three references are rare!
Cartier released these rolled gold Tanks sometime between 1973 and 1976.
This was before the "Must De" era when the NYC store was still
independent of Paris and London. They were rolled gold over brass, not
silver!. It was apparently because of the success of these watches that
Cartier released the "Must De" tanks in 1977 once the separate Cartier
brands in NYC, Paris and London were reunited.
Comparing it on rarity with for example a Rolex Daytona (Paul Newman)
ref: 6239, which produced only 14.000 pieces. The Stepped Tank was
produced in much lower quantities. This was because of the low demand
duo to the oversized nature and design of the case, and because it was
discontinued in late 1976 when the three Cartier boutiques decided to
reunite their three branches into one early 1977. Therefore not many of
these were produced and sold, and are today very scarce and sought
Ref: 15716 (made in New York) - very rare - 14k rolled gold (American standard) - approx 2500 pieces.
Ref: 1543 (made in Paris) - rare - 18k rolled gold - approx 5000 pieces.
Ref: 471 (made in London) - rare - 18k rolled gold - approx 5000 pieces.
This specific model seen above is a PRE-Must De Cartier Ref: 15176 New
York which is the rarest variation of the series. It was the only on
which had a 14k rolled gold on brass alloy back-plate and front case
(The other references had 18k rolled gold cases). It was made between
1973-76 in the Cartier boutique New York. It was also the only reference
with the ''Four Screw'' back-case & unusual large elongated spinnel
cabochon sapphire crown, which was partly integrated into the case
design forming a crown guard. It was also the only reference which had
the true Cartier markings and serial numbers. It had a deep punched
Cartier logo and text in French language, and deep punched serial
numbers starting with the number 12 space followed by its 5 digits
serial number. The other references did not had a serial number and
where lightly engraved with the Cartier brand and text. Only max 2500
pieces of the ref: 15716 were ever made before it was discontinued in
The London ref: 471 & Paris ref: 1543 versions were issued in 18k
rolled gold, unlike the ref: 15716 New York boutique which was rolled
gold in 14k (American standard).
The London boutique version Ref 471 had a Small crown which was Not
integrated into the case and had a push back-case with NO screws and it
had a engraved back case (in English language) with No serial numbers.
Only max 5000 pieces of the ref: 471 were ever made before it was
discontinued in 1976.
The Paris boutique version had Ref: 1543 and also had the Small crown
and a push back-case with No screws and also had a engraved back case
(in the French language) with No serial numbers. Only max 5000 pieces of
the ref: 1543 were ever made before it was discontinued in 1976.
Many of these differences have to do with that Paris & London
boutique were based closer together and they exchanged the same ideas
and stock parts. The New York boutique was a more isolated store and
they came up with their own parts and designs which reflects today back
in these three different variations.
All three variations came with a signed Cartier caliber 78-1 hand wind
movement which was based on the eta 2512. And all three had a slightly
domed curved ''Crystal Glass'' which was level with the case and was not
raised from the case sides.
The dials were hand painted in lacquer and because of this almost all
have aged with a patina to different colors which we consider today to
be tropical dials and many have developed a spider dial (crackling
trough the paint). They came in white, blue, black and brown with gilded
hand painted numerals and sword hands. But the true classic iconic
white Cartier dial with black numerals and matching black sword hands is
maybe my favorite variation (also some times seen with gilded or blue
Overall: These Tank watches can be considered sleepers duo the lack of
information out there and Cartier is not very helpful with releasing
their records. These were produced in very low volumes. The Ref: 15716
New York is the rarest version with a production of max 2500 pieces in
14k rolled gold (American standard), unlike the Paris and London
versions which each produced max 5000 pieces and issued in 18k rolled
In the last 20 years or so I've seen only less than 25 (all three
references combined) of these watches offered or sold and I have seen in
comparison thousands and thousands of Rolex submariners.
The last one ive seen sold in 2019 was by Theo & Harris watches and
it was sold for $3955. And it was not even the Ref 15716 New York
version but it was the London or Paris variation with the small crown
and snap back.
Hope I could help.
Cartier Tank 15716
This message has been edited by India Whiskey Charlie on 2020-11-09 07:07:27 This message has been edited by India Whiskey Charlie on 2020-11-09 07:07:49
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