Cartier, famous for its shaped watches, made some incredible models that are now the darlings of serious collectors. Among them are the Crash, the Cloche, and the Tank Asymetrique. The Crash watch, that was re-released by Cartier London, and that finds its way to collectors bit by bit, has been discussed endlessly here. So in separate articles, we will highlight the other two timepieces, to start with the Tank .
At first glance, a Tank Asymétrique appears distorted and crooked, but once on the wrist, the model, that dates back to 1936, offers a comfortable angle for viewing the time. Also known as the Tank Oblique, the Asymétrique was produced in different sizes and with different lug constructions. What they all have in common is that slightly turned dial, making it unnecessary to bend the forearm to read the time.
The Tank Asymetrique or Losange wristwatch as it was called during the first years of its lifespan, is one of those rare Tanks that don’t come by every day. It is also a Tank that’s not everybody’s choice due to its particular shape, but it certainly one of the beloved pieces among collectors and watch journalists. The diamond-shaped dial, where the number 6 and number 12 are placed in the corners, give the watch a unique look. Something where the user really needs to get used to, but once on the wrist and especially when driving a car or a bike, reading the time is not only very comfortable, but also very easy to do.
Just 150 pieces in yellow gold were produced in 2006, of the enlarged (47.1×26.1mm) model. This was the largest and the last Tank Asymetrique that Cartier had produced, and the one for a long time that featured the smart-looking three-lug construction,
besides the above-featured piece Unique in platinum with blue numerals, that was sold at ‘Auction House Dr. Crott’ in Germany, just a few years ago.
But there were many more models, all produced in very small runs. In 1999 Cartier released for instance a limited edition of 2 x 99 pieces for Macau, it is like all others, a smaller version.
This Asymetrique model was released as a left- and as the right model and it is one of the rare examples where Cartier used Arabic numerals, mixed with Roman numbers on the dial of a Tank watch. A nice detail is the extra applied number 9 in 18K gold.
But there were quite a few more in the 23x32mm dimensions, like the platinum skeleton version in 1997, a yellow gold or platinum version with (readable) Arabic numerals in 1996 and a platinum model with the C A R T I E R P A R I S spread out under the twelve numerals,
a design feature that Cartier had done earlier with the above-featured Tank Louis Cartier in platinum, with a salmon dial.
Whether a watch like the Tank Asymetrique or the Cloche will come back remains the question, but a fact is that these pieces would fit the current and more modern looking Cartier Privé line very well.