Cartier Tank Louis XL 3280 "Collaborateur"


The Watch

With vintage Cartier continuing to garner attention, it's easy to assume that all the great collectable Cartier watches were released in the past century. While it's true that the 20th century was very kind to those enamoured with La Maison, numerous modern iterations are fascinating—take this XL Tank, for instance.

At first glance, the watch may seem like your typical contemporary reference 3280, but the dial bears an unusual emblem. The LC logo on the dial indicates that this is a 'Collaborateur' Tank, produced and made exclusively available to Cartier employees. Realised in 18k rose gold, the rounded brancards flanking the entire distance of its 40mm length indicate this is a Tank Louis exterior – the original and most widespread Tank form – along with its beaded crown complete with cabochon. Measuring just 5.1mm in thickness, this reference became the thinnest Tank in Cartier's collection. As arguably one of the most famous pieces of design ever, the exterior of a precious metal Tank Louis is an extraordinary sight.

Perhaps one of the most recognisable watch dials ever, this Tank Louis XL bears all the traditional hallmarks of a piece by La Maison. Black Roman numerals are paired with a central black chemin de fer railroad track, while blue épée hands track the passing hours and minutes. The hidden Cartier signature can be found at VII, while that subtle yet meaningful addition to the dial is at the six position. Sitting within an angled rhombus are the initials LC, a nod to the initials of the Cartier founder, Louis Cartier. All of these conventional and unconventional details are placed on top of a lovely eggshell shade of cream dial base, a sophisticated contrast to the warming hues of the rose gold case.

To complement the logo on the dial, the caseback features an engraving of "Collaborateurs" and the year the watch was produced, 2013.

The Movement

The 430 calibre by Piaget makes this special 3280's 5.1mm thickness possible. A legend in its own right, this 2.1mm thick movement boasts 36 hours of autonomy, 18 jewels, a 3hz frequency, and Cartier-branded decoration.

How It Wears

While the classic proportions of the Tank are well-loved, not every wrist size will feel they can pull off its smaller size. This is where pieces like this 3280 come into play. At 32mm x 40mm, the wrist presence is scaled up, making it an excellent choice for those larger watch fans who are also infected with the Cartier bug. Also of note is its slimness—5.1 mm. This remarkable statistic takes the meaning of 'wrist hugging' to the next level.


This 2013 'Collaborateur' variation of the Cartier Tank XL ref. 3280 is presented in very good condition, only displaying hairline scratches. The watch is sold as a watch only and is fitted with a Mr Watchley taupe strap and a Cartier rose gold pin buckle.


There are seldom watches that require zero introduction, and the Cartier Tank is not only one of them, but it might also just be the one that needs the least. Inspired by Renault Tanks used during the First World War, Louis Cartier released this rectangular watch with rounded brancards, Roman numerals, blue 'Épée' hands, and a crown set with a cabochon in 1917. Since, the watch and its DNA have been re-imagined in all configurations, and its significance to history is profound. Princess Diana, Mohammed Ali, Andy Warhol, Ralph Lauren, Jackie Kennedy; the list of influential Tank owners is endless.

The Cartier Tank has been in production for over a century in some form or another, and throughout its history, the model has evolved to keep up with the times. Take the 1970s, when quartz-powered technology swept over the industry. In an effort to ensure the Tank remained on people's wrists, the Must De Cartier Tanks arrived with silver cases, quartz movements, more playful dials, and a lower price point.

In 2006, Cartier modernised the Tank again with the release of the Tank Louis XL, a larger expression of the epitome of elegance. This paved the way for scaled-up renditions of La Maison's brand vocabulary ever since, causing the maintenance of the brand's global standing as one of the largest luxury houses in the world. During this period, examples of modern Cartier references emerged featuring unusual 'LC' signatures within a rhombus logo. Matching this signature was also 'collaborateur' engraved on the caseback with the year the model was produced. Having been spotted on many different models from the Tank to the Calibre De Cartier, the 'LC' is, of course, a nod to Cartier's founders' initials, Louis Cartier, with watches carrying this signature and engraving being originally and exclusively offered to employees of Cartier.

If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. 

No stock kept on site

Reference 3280 LC
Movement Manual 
Caliber Calibre 430
Dial Eggshell shade of cream
Size (Case) 40 mm x 32 mm 
Material (Case) Rose gold
Bracelet Custom made Mr WATCHLEY
Buckle Original Cartier pin buckle
Condition Mint
Year 2013
Papers  - 
Box  - 
Warranty 2 years


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