The Tank Basculante

Apr 07, 2010,15:44 PM

I would like to share with you a personnal view on my Tank Basculante.
As you may know, the Tank Watch was created in 1917 by Cartier. It was inspired by the armored military vehicles, which were used in the 1st World War: a rectangular shape with legs that extend straight beyong the case.
The Tank Basculante is born 15 years later, in 1932. At that time, many other watchmakers were offering reversing watch. We all know the reverso created in 1931, but there were many other models with alternative reversing systems (Remember the Universal Geneve Cabriolet).

Cartier was even one of the first watchmakers to introduce a tipping watch with this very basic model in 1926.
sourced from "Cartier, The Tank Watch" by Cologni

With its case that can turn 360° around its horizontal axis, the Tank Basculante is not only a playful watch, it is a pure sculptural object.
The dial is very pure, very "Cartier" with its Guilloche and Roman Numerals.

The lack of the second hand increases the sculptural presence of the watch.

In addition to the dial, the blue cabochon is another strong signature of Cartier. It ecos nicely the blued-steel hands.
The surface finishing of the stainless stell case alternates satin brushed polish and mirror polish. This nice finishing highlights the harmonious homothecy of the 3 interlinked components.
This high quality of execution contibutes to my perception of: First a sculptural object, then and only then a watch (reason why I won't bother you with mechanical consideration about the manual-winding movement even if it deserves attention).
And when I say a sculptural object...
This tilting model is not the most famous version of the Tank but I thought it was worth presenting it here as it combines successfully a strong design, a playful feature and pure elegance.
Hope you enjoyed it!
This message has been edited by SJX on 2010-04-08 22:23:02

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That is a sublime post

 By: amanico : April 7th, 2010-21:32
The pictures are awesome, the reading very interesting and well documented. As for the watch, I'm rediscovering it throught this post. Certainly an example of elegance. Huge congratulations on this post, my friend. Best, Nicolas

Beautiful pictures and great read

 By: Geo : April 7th, 2010-22:14
Your photos are very nice, a bit more that a usual watch shot, I really like them. The Basculante is a very interesting Tank and may be the flattest watch in the Cartier collection. GEO

Thanks for the great post Marv. I almost landed one recently

 By: SJX : April 8th, 2010-00:02
the millennium version with the "MM" at 12 o'clock but missed it. - SJX

SJ, i found one in Singapore still on sale

 By: Cookies : April 8th, 2010-01:53
PM me if u need to source. It's just sitting in a stall in the city area.

Gorgeous timepiece.

 By: VMM : April 8th, 2010-02:12
It was love at first sight. A bit small for my wrist, but it was one of my favorite Cartier watches when it was released. Thanks for posting. Vte

Great write up on a very cool Tank

 By: Dino944 : April 8th, 2010-07:56
...its great to see an appreciatioon for reversing watches that are not from JLC. Your photos are really a well thought out and I like the use of some historic design sketches. I hope your Tank Basculante brings you many more great years of service and lo... 

so elegant timepiece Cartier makes....

 By: FanFrancisco : April 8th, 2010-08:01
... some weeks ago, there was another post presenting a vintage Cartier Tank watch. this one shows even much elegant with playful design. i was therefore hunting for a vintage Tank. luckily, got my first Tank. will take pics and show it up here soon. cong... 

done, please see my new post.

 By: FanFrancisco : April 8th, 2010-09:03

Great post....

 By: MiniCooper : April 11th, 2010-03:31
and very informative.... what year is this one? Enjoy it.... thanks for posting it.... cheers

The Basculante was made in the years approximately 1999-2003

 By: SJX : April 11th, 2010-05:24
with one edition made for the turn of the millennium in 2000. - SJX

Thank you...::))

 By: MiniCooper : April 11th, 2010-06:32

To all of you

 By: Marv : April 11th, 2010-06:28
Thank you all for your nice words! I am pleased that you like the photos. This watch deserves it. Here comes a last one!...