Cartier Tank Louis Automatique "Jumbo" - 1970's - White gold - Full set



Bringing the finest creativity to the world since 1847, Cartier is that show-stopping, sparkling solitaire amongst jewellers and watchmakers. Unique, original and continually captivating, the Cartier name has a weight to it that inspires a sense of exception, quality and above all - beauty. A name, a family with a sixth sense for divine creation, the Cartier story began with Louis-François Cartier (1819-1904).

As with any family business, success almost always involves striking that perfect combination of vision, talent and management. Add to that an inclination for taking the right risks, a good deal of grit, an abundance of hard work and of course, a fair few strokes of luck. Not at all elements that often and easily unite. Yet for the Cartiers, those bright stars of the midnight blue Parisian skyline would align.

Louis-François began as an apprentice to a jewellery maker, Monsieur Picard. In 1847, when M. Picard announced he would be vacating his workshop in central Paris that very first stroke of luck struck. With a small dose of financial leniency from M. Picard, Louis-François was able to take over that workshop and lay the very first brick for the foundations of the House of Cartier. Louis-François, eventually joined by his son Alfred, would continue to lay those foundations - jewel by jewel, piece by perfect piece. Yet it would be his grandsons: Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who would complete the construction of the House of Cartier, building it up to the dizzying heights of international fame and success. They would provide the structure and composition that would allow Cartier to weather any storm, to withstand the test of time. And the crowning crest that they gave to that spectacular house? The Cartier Tank.

A watch that sent shockwaves through early twentieth-century high society with its radical, masculine and definite lines - Cartier's Tank took inspiration from the aerial view of that new and innovative machine that fundamentally changed how war was waged. It, in turn, would fundamentally change how time could be told and remains to this day as robust, as iconic, as exquisite and as desirable as ever.

The watch

When a vintage Louis Cartier Tank appears, the desirability dial ticks nicely upwards. When a vintage, exceptionally rare Louis Cartier Tank - in quasi-immaculate condition - appears, the desirability dial takes a hiatus. The arena of 'off the charts' desirability is entered, which is exactly where we are with this exquisite 1970s Tank Louis Cartier Automatique „Jumbo“, Also known as the vintage Tank XL.

Louis-Joseph Cartier (1875-1942) was a designer and businessman extraordinaire, with an impeccable sense of style. Designer of the Tank, the piece presented here is an example of the version of the watch that he deemed worthy to carry his name. With smoother and softer case lines than the design of the very first Tank that preceded it, the Tank Normale (1917), the Tank Louis Cartier (1922) is the blueprint for that understated yet unmistakable Cartier elegance.

It is one of the most popular, desired Tanks in the Tank family. Understandably so with its clean, superbly chic lines and subtle but instantly recognisable sophistication.

Throughout the years Cartier have played with the design's dimensions and dial configuration but one aspect of this precious timepiece has never been touched - the Tank Louis Cartier is only ever produced in precious metals. Ranging from its classic measurements of 24mm x 30mm to the considerably larger 34.9mm x 40.4mm of a version released in 2012, Cartier has certainly moved to accommodate the modern taste for a larger case size. For those interested in vintage LC Tanks however, larger case options are almost non-existent. An exception being the particularly special timepiece at hand. 

During the 1970s, Cartier produced this 28mm x 34mm 'Jumbo' Louis Cartier Tank in yellow and white gold. Its reference number is 17002. Taking into consideration the era of its production, it is likely that no more than a few hundred pieces of the 'Jumbo' exist. Not only is the size of the timepiece presented here a rarity for the vintage period but also the precious metal from which it is fashioned - white gold. Yellow gold was by far the dominant precious metal of the vintage era and therefore when a 'Jumbo' does appear on the market, it is more often than not the yellow gold version. The cool, white gold case of this timepiece propels it into a whole different league of rarity and exclusivity.

A pure white lacquered dial is completed with Cartier's traditional black printed Roman numerals and fine, elegant, blued steel sword hands mark the hours and minutes. The dial is signed at the 12 and just below the 6 sits 'Paris'. This dial is clean, elegant and classic Cartier chic. Turning to the back of the watch, the beaded, sapphire cabochon complete crown is passed and the unusual design of the caseback is revealed. A raised, circular central piece, which hides a novel feature of this LC Tank - its automatic movement. The engravings on the back of the watch include 'Cartier', 'Paris' and the watch's reference number plus serial number. A serial number which signifies that this particular piece would have been one of the first to be manufactured.


Another unique feature of the 'Jumbo' Louis Cartier Tank is its movement. It is the only LC Tank that is powered by an automatic movement, Calibre 170. The calibre is an ETA movement and the raised, circular back of the piece is as a result of the automatic movement that it houses.

 How it wears

With the innate grace and elegance of any Tank Louis Cartier. Upon first glance, the caseback style of this watch may raise a few eyebrows. The well-trained Cartier eye has come to expect an ultra-flat caseback when a Louis Cartier Tank is presented. Yet the reality is that when on the wrist, this design difference is imperceptible - the watch sits perfectly and looks incredible. The ease and straightforward elegance of its design, as well as fit, make it a very attractive, everyday dress watch. An everyday dress watch with a wonderful slice of historical exclusivity.

The set & condition

Sold in 1973, the almost perfect condition and in complete factory original condition, this timepiece is an absolute delight - and rarity - to see. The engravings on the caseback are still remarkably clear and deep, suggesting that over the years this piece has not been excessively polished.

In addition to its superb condition, this very rare vintage timepiece comes with its box, papers and an extremely rare 18mm white gold Cartier folding buckle of the era. Recent service papers from WEMPE are also included and  Cartier alligator strap. A Mr Watchley Madras blue strap has also been custom made for the piece and is included in the set.

If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. No stock is kept on site.

* Every watch is delivered in a Mr WATCHLEY Membrane Protection Box for a safe transportation in addition to its original set *

Reference 17002
Movement Automatic
Caliber Cartier 170
Dial White lacquered dial 
Size (Case) 28 mm x 34 mm 
Material (Case) White golf
Bracelet Custom made Madras Blue
Glass Plexi
Condition Very good
Year Sold in 1973
Papers Yes
Box Yes
Warranty 2 years


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