Cartier Tank Basculante 150th Anniversary



The Cartier Tank was born in 1917 and became a true icon of many worlds.  Subsequently, evolutions of its core DNA were created. The Basculante was one such model which came on the scene during the 1930s. This was a time when partaking in recreational sports was on the rise with the likes of tennis, golf and polo becoming immensely fashionable amongst certain circles. Of course, one’s wristwatch had to remain on during such sports, so a piece that was able to provide protection from impacts and potential damage became quite desirable.

The Cartier Basculante (which translates to ‘tilting’) is a vertical flipping watch that sits within a genius case architecture while maintaining its traditional Tank aesthetic and structure. Due to the flipping motion happening within the case in a cradle-like motion, the watch can comfortably be positioned face up, face down or vertically upright making for a handy bedside clock. Of course, this isn’t the only watch that was birthed during this time to combat sports based activities as the Reverso from Jaeger Le-Coultre has a similar origin story. However, the difference lies in each watch’ reversing action. The Reverso is a slide-out and horizontal flip of the dial rather than a vertical one. The story gets even more fascinating though as the patent for the Basculante flipping motion was supplied by none other than Le Coultre, César de Trey of Spécialités Horlogers in Lausanne and Jaeger in Paris. This was an exclusive patent for Cartier, further drawing parallels between two of the most iconic watchmakers who are known for championing the rectangular watch case.

To celebrate Cartier’s 150th anniversary in 1997, Cartier released a couple of limited models, one of them being this particular Cartier Basculante. These extremely exclusive watches have remained just as timeless and immensely desirable as you’d expect from such a charming and important brand as La Maison.

The Watch 

Almost all Cartier creations are inherently special by default, however, the example we have available today turns up the heat just a little more than most. Released in 1997, the piece you’re looking at here is limited to just 150 examples worldwide. Despite the watch offering all of the quintessential Cartier Tank characteristics, this Basculante has managed to interpret the design language in a mighty impressive and truly special manner.

A precious metal case, roman numerals, sword heat blued hands, cabochon crown, a guilloche dial, and conservative sizing are the traditional textbook features of a Cartier Tank; and this Basculante delivers. To start with, its impressive case construction is complete in 18k yellow gold with various finishes throughout including polishing, vertical brushing and even perlage inside the heart of the case where the dial and movement sits. This beautiful piece of art is elegantly sized at 23mm in width, 37mm in length and just a staggering 5.8mm thick. The framework of the horizontally oriented system houses a ruby red cabochon which, when the watch is forward-facing, sits opposite the 12’o clock positioned crown. Although traditionally a blue stone, this deep red, lustful cabochon is the first sign this isn’t any normal Basculante.

Moving through to the dial and you’ll notice the archetypal design features are impossible to ignore as the roman numerals command the surround of the rectangular dial. Pinpoint accurate epée hands are thermally blued and sit on top of a uniquely detailed flowing two-tone silver guilloché dial. Appropriately signed ‘Cartier’ & ‘Paris’, the dial of this Tank is truly something to behold. The Basculante’s beauty is one that is wrapped up in coherence with the right amount of luxury sprinkled on top. Luxury isn’t brash, it isn’t obvious and it certainly isn’t overstated. It’s elegant, coherent and by all means, shows an unrivalled level of commitment to the cause, while maintaining the utmost sophistication. In that case, this Cartier Tank Basculante is arguably the definition of luxury from the watchmaker who epitomises the term.

The Movement

As you might expect, for such a special watch a similarly special movement has been chosen. The Cartier 161 manual wind movement, based on a Piaget 40P caliber, powers this watch. The 19 jewels movement beats at a frequency of 21,600 VPH and has an approximate power-reserve of 36 hours. 

How It Wears

Thanks to its suitable and appropriate proportions, the Basculante wears beautifully on the wrist. Its slim case profile, considerate width and balanced length ensure the Basculante doesn’t get lost on the wrist in an overtly elegant fashion. Thanks to its neat case architecture, the aperture for the dial is actually quite petit, maintaining the understated and refined nature of an expertly crafted creation from La Maison.

Condition & set

This Cartier Tank Basculante is in fantastic untouched condition. The watch comes fitted to a Saffiano Taupe Mr Watchley strap. The original box, papers, and yellow gold buckle are included, making it a rare and stunning full set. 

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

No stock kept on site

Reference Basculante 150th Anniversary
Movement Manual
Caliber Cartier Caliber 161
Dial Silver archetypal Guilloché 
Size (Case) 23 mm x 37 mm
Material (Case) Yellow Gold
Bracelet Mr Watchley saffiano Taupe
Glass Sapphire
Condition Very good (NOS Condition) 
Year 1997
Papers Yes
Box Yes
Warranty 2 years

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