So besides the fact that an in-house motion has become increasingly more significant, Cartier realised very well that to become really reliable and successful in the sphere of high-end watches they had to create not only their own calibers, but also as many components as possible, such as the instance, springs, rotors, dials, hands, glass etc.Cartier constructed, during the Collection Privée period, a big — over 30.000 square meters — manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds (see our coverage) and began to use a chosen group of watchmakers on a follow up project to be started in 2008, all led by Carole Forestier-Kasapi, the genius watchmaker which was hired in 2005 and had worked at Audemars Piguet (Renaud & Papi) and van Cleef & Arpels. This very contemporary and luxury manufacture is currently together with the Rolex manufacture, the biggest in Switzerland!The first outcome of Cartier’s high-end watchmaking premiered in November 2007. Unfortunately, the opinion was set in a 47mm oversize Ballon Bleu instance, following the large watch trend.Since the launch of that Flying Tourbillon, Cartier didn’t rest on their laurels. While other leading brands such as Audemars Piguet were taking it quietly and pleasing the watch fanatics with ‘Offshore’ after ‘Offshore’, year after year, Cartier made over-hours and devised new substances, new calibers and surprised the press every January in the SIHH with real novelties. Back in 2009, and in 2012, Cartier even encouraged over a hundred journalists from all over the globe and flew them into La Chaux-de-Fonds, to show the ID-ONE and ID-TWO watch at their own manufacture. Two prototype watches that would not hit the market, but were created for research and — of course — to demonstrate the media how far ahead Cartier was in fine watchmaking.
Inspired by the newly invented armoured vehicles of the First World War, the Cartier Tank premiered in 1917 and has been in production since, making it once of the longest lived wristwatch designs ever. To mark its 100th anniversary Cartier has introduced a suite of new models, including the elegant and spare Tank Cintrée Skeleton.
Narrow, slim and slightly curved in profile, the Tank Cintrée is arguably the most elegant of Tank wristwatches. Conceived as a skeleton watch for the first time, the anniversary limited edition is available in platinum or pink gold, each limited to 100 pieces. A smaller run in platinum with a diamond-set case will also be available.
It’s powered by the hand-wound cal. 9917 MC, a newly developed, in-house movement that is slightly curved to match the shape of the case. Constructed to have a near symmetrical layout running vertically, the cal. 9917 MC has the barrel at 12 o’clock, balance wheel at six, and the gear train in between.
Price and availability
The Tank Cintree Skeleton in pink gold (ref. WHTA0008) is priced at US$61,000, while the same in platinum (WHTA0009) is priced at US$65,000.
And the version in platinum set with diamonds (ref. HPI01123) is US$95,500.