The Tank Chinoise created in 1922 has only once been available in the collection sporadically and when it was, it was always in small editions, what made the Tank Chinoise a timepiece for a small audience of mainly connoisseurs and collectors.
When this square and exotic Tank Chinoise made its début, it was quite unique that the form of the piece was inspired by the architecture of Chinese temple porticos. In counterpoint to the brancards, two horizontal bars straddle the watch face and protrude slightly on either side, mimicking the interplay of interlocking lintels left in full view.
The balance of the form shifts and re-centers on the square. In its devotion to clean, pared-down lines, Cartier saw beauty in this geometric style. There was also a rectangular version of the Tank Chinoise, which sometimes pops up at auctions, but it is absolutely rare, but never the less it never became sought after.
The last time that the Tank Chinoise was available, for a limited period only, was during the CPCP period (1998-2008) when Cartier re-released the model with a slightly larger case, a see-thru back and a 430MC caliber by Piaget.
At that time the watch came in platinum as well as in pink gold and was completely sold out when CPCP came to end in 2008. Since the model is that stunning looking and so typical Cartier, I wonder if this could be the next release for ‘Cartier Privé’, the current line for its great Classics with high-end calibers, from Cartier’s own Manufacture or borrowed from sister companies.
The Chinoise itself has a lot to love for, it’s shape is unique with that Asian touch, it is very well made and it is an easy fit on the wrist. The watch could easily be worn with casual clothes as with a formal outfit.
If a new version of the Tank Chinoise will make it to the new collection ‘Cartier Privé,’ is probably easy to answer, but the real question is when.
From what we have seen in previous years, Cartier adds just one model a year to their prestige Cartier Privé collection and there are quite a few other models that would fit this exclusive collection too. Think about the Tank Normale, or the Ceinture watch, two iconic models that we, unfortunately, missed in the retired CPCP collection. Or a limited edition Santos Dumont on a bracelet in platinum would be something, enough possibilities. Let’s see where ‘La Maison’ will come up with.
In just a few more months, the SIHH will next year be held in April, and then we’ll know which classic model will join the Crash, Tank Cintrée, and the Tonneau that made it already to ‘Cartier Privé‘.