Cartier Tank Basculante 2391 - Limited Edition 365 pieces - CPCP full set
CARTIER TANK BASCULANTE 2391
Yellow Gold | Silvered guilloché dial
The story of Cartier started in 1847 in Paris when the luxury Maison was founded by jeweller Louis-Francois Cartier. Over fifty years later, in 1899, he handed the brand over to his three sons who established the company internationally with Cartier becoming a favorite among royalty – named ‘King of Jewellers, Jewellers of Kings’.
Many of the brand’s timepieces have become instant classics, such as the Santos (1904) or the Tortue (1912), yet true horological history was written in 1917 when the Tank was introduced during the Great War – created by the powerful vision from Louis Cartier, the grandson of the brand’s founder. With a heritage that is as compelling as its elegant design, which attracted a top-notch clientele worldwide, the Tank became a watchmaking category of its own.
Cartier wasn’t much enchanted by the Art Nouveau movement raging at the time in Paris and choose a bold and minimalistic approach, harmonizing form and function. Word goes the Tank was inspired by the armoured vehicles debuting in the First World War, the French military’s Renault tanks (considered the first ‘modern tank’, subsequently used during World War II and inspiring many tank designs thereafter).
The alluring timepiece features four dashing lines with two parallel shafts, with the brancards holistically referring to the tracks of the tank and the chemin de fer minute track hinting towards the caterpillar tank tracks. It didn’t take long before Cartier came up with style variations of the instantly iconic Tank.
After the roaring twenties playing sports such as tennis and golf while wearing a watch became more and more en vogue. In 1932 the Tank Basculante was patented (CH162787) as a smart solution satisfying this fashionable challenge. The watch, also coined ‘Cabriolet Reversible’, could be reversed in its case with just one snap – basculante means ‘tilting’ – protecting the bezel, watch’s glass and dial from possible damage.
The Tank Basculante is known as the only luxury watch competing with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso (who was a partner at the time, both models were manufactured by Spécialités Horlogères SA, which was part of Jaeger-LeCoultre). But the Basculante is, unlike the Reverso, flipped vertically through 360 degrees (instead of turning the face on its horizontal axes), making it unique in its use.
Besides being a versatile timepiece with great heritage, the Tank Basculante has proven to be an everlasting style symbol. Therefore, it is of no surprise that a reedition of 365 pieces was launched in 1999, paying tribute to the 1930’s model, commemorating the new millennium as part of the highly sought-after Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP, 1998-2008) – known for its mechanical movements and haute horlogerie designs inspired by Cartier’s vast archive.
This manual-winding Basculante is a special edition, produced in a limited number of 365 pieces (in 1999-2000-2001). Its symmetrical, rectangular 18k yellow gold case measures 38 mm x 26 mm and has an elegantly thin proportion, thanks to its 2.1mm thick caliber – making it possible to rotate 360 degrees on its vertical axis while being protected in its main body. The straight lines and rounded corners of the case are playfully discontinued by the winding crown, placed at the top of the case, below the blue signature crystal of Cartier (the cabochon) that is used to lift the case out of its frame to flip it over.
The Spade-style hour and minute hands are made from blued steel, matching the cabochon. The silvered guilloché dial, signed Cartier Paris (a characteristic of the Collection Privée-collection and a reminiscent of the early twentieth century), with bold painted Roman numerals, inner railway minute divisions and a secret ‘Cartier’ signature at VII.
The attention to detail in this timepiece goes beyond the Cartier standard, with beautiful finishing inside and out. The inside of the ‘shell’ of the case is, for example, decorated with a ravishing Cartier pattern. On the flipside of the watch the original engravings refer to the birth year of this limited edition, with a Cartier-engraving underlining French refinement. The caseback of the watch also carries some authentic engravings: one could read mécanique above the serial number and reference code.
While being flipped, the Basculante can also stand upright with the frame laid flat, giving it the character of a desktop or travel clock. The timepiece comes with a Cartier alligator leather strap and a 18k yellow gold Cartier deployant buckle. Dial, case and movement are signed.
The Cartier Tank Basculante 2391 is powered by the hand-wound mechanical 060MC caliber, also used in many other models of the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP), featuring a lever movement, a monometallic balance, flat balance spring, shock absorbers and is being adorned by 21 jewels.
This Cartier Tank Basculante 2391 is in NOS condition and has excellent functionality. It comes as a full set, with signature red Cartier box, original unworn alligator strap, unworn blue saffiano strap and complementing papers.
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|26 x 38
|Blue Saffiano and unworn original croco