Cartier Tank Louis Rouge



The colour of Cartier? Red, Cartier Red. A mention of the illustrious French jeweller's name and the images that most likely come to mind are brilliant diamonds, the Tank and that bright, beautiful, simply sumptuous red that is synonymous with Cartier.

This rare Cartier timepiece combines two of those iconic images. This is the rather extraordinary Tank Louis 'Rouge' from the 1980s. 

The Tank Louis Cartier is understandably a particularly prized piece within the Tank family, if not the most prized of all. Louis Joseph Cartier (1875-1942), grandson of Cartier's founder, was an all-round talent - he had an exceptional flair for design, an exquisite way with diamonds and excellent business acumen. He was the driving force that would lead Cartier to world-renowned fame, the significance of his contribution to the evolution and direction of Cartier can hardly be underestimated. Louis launched his namesake Tank in 1922 and it followed the very first Tank, the Tank Normale, in its principal design. However, the Tank LC would have real flashes of a jeweller’s touch. The rectangular frame would be softened, its angles and lines curved, introducing an elegant aesthetic flow. The Tank LC was, and still is, only produced in precious metals: gold or platinum. For a connoisseur of diamonds, one would expect nothing less. 

A Cartier collection beautifully shrouded in mystery, little is known about the background and history of the 'Rouge' collection. It is known that the set originates from the early 1980s and the book White Cartier by Osvaldo Patrizzi elegantly presents the four timepiece models that were given this 'red touch': the Santos Dumont, two Tank watches (one being the Tank Louis Cartier) and a Rectangulaire, which was placed on a bracelet. It is reputed that very few of each model were produced, with the Santos Dumont the number of Rouge pieces is estimated to be between just 20-30. With the Rouge-models, we are very much in the realm of terrifically exclusive Cartier.

The watch

A simply striking piece that immediately catches the eye. The Tank LC is very much the go-to Tank, with its sublimely smooth, contained and elegant construction. The case of this exquisite Tank Louis 'Rouge' measures 28 x 21,8 mm and is entirely pure polished platinum, apart from the caseback, which is brushed. The caseback is clean and beautifully uncomplicated, the small screws that hold the case together can be found in the sides of the case, four on each side. The 'Cartier' signature sits centrally in the upper half of the caseback and in the lower half sits 'Paris' followed by 'Platine', both perfectly centered. Each engraving is distinct with its own font, style; each of the three key elements is given its deserved prominence. 

Turning to the dial and the dazzling ruby red printed Roman numerals and railway track minute marker captivate our attention, enhanced by their contrasting white backdrop. Moving further into the detail, sunflower-esque petals can be seen enclosing the centre of the dial, which is entirely decorated in rosette guilloché. A slight border is left between the Roman numerals and case edge, allowing for the printed 'Paris' below the 6, and a certain level of subtle restraint on the dial. A secret signature is located at 10. 'Cartier' is printed, always in ravishing red, at the centre point between the dial and 12, the white/red colour palette being broken only by the deep black épée hands. A platinum crown befitting of royalty completes this splendid piece. It is finely beaded and holds a ruby cabochon, elegantly complementing the ruby red of the dial.


This Tank Louis 'Rouge' is powered by the manual-wound 021MC caliber, based on the Frédéric Piguet 21 and designed as the thinnest watch movement on the market with a diameter of 20,4mm and 1,75mm thickness. The 90-year-old movement is still produced today.

The 021MC has a power reserve of 42 hours and contains 18 jewels. The movement originally oscillated at 18,000 A/h but has been escalated to 21,600 A/h.

How it wears

There is a real feeling of something quite special with this Ladies' Tank. The cool platinum case sits flat and smooth on the wrist, its minimal height and slimline construction allowing it to fit with complete ease under any style of sleeve. Unobtrusive yet fabulously distinct in its appearance, it is an absolute delight to wear. 

The set and condition

This wonderfully unique piece of Cartier comes with its original buckle and box. Recently service by Cartier, the service papers are included as well. 

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 Cartier Tank Rouge
Movement Manual Wound
Cartier 021MC
Dial White
Size (Case) 28mm x 21,8mm
Material (Case) Platinum
Bracelet Custom made Mr WATCHLEY strap
Glass Plexi
Condition Very good
Year 1980's
Papers Cartier service papers
Box Yes
Warranty 2 years

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