Tank Américaine; An Alternative For The Tank Cintrée?

Between 1917 and 1935, Cartier created most of their amazing different Tank watches. Many of these vintage Tanks are adored by collectors and are often seen as the ultimate Cartier watch to have, especially the Tank Louis Cartier and the Tank Cintrée are highly appreciated. Both had a very different life cycle. The Tank Louis Cartier has almost always been available, in various sizes, various colors of gold and even platinum. And the watch is tremendously popular among men and women, of all ages. From a price point of view, the watch is also very well accessible, since Cartier had the ‘Must de Cartier‘ Tank in the ‘70, in shape and size a twin of the classic Tank LC, but with different dials and Cartier launched the Tank Solo, now 16 years ago. Different in size, steel case and the first batch with a quartz movement. This all helped to bring the Tank Louis Cartier to a larger public. 

– Tank Américaine, CPCP version from 1998 –

But the ‘Tank Cintrée‘ was handled differently. Cartier treated the watch with more respect and…. as a real gem. La Maison released once in a while, usually a small numbered edition and always in yellow gold or platinum and quite recently also in pink gold. The watch was never released in a non-precious metal and as far as I know, the models were never supplied with a quartz movement. These are all factors that keep the price up to and the watch, that’s currently available in the BTQ’s, has a price tag of US$ 19600.- and is still is a piece for the serious collector. In 1989 Cartier released a new Tank model, the ‘Tank Américaine‘, a watch that was very much inspired by the ‘Tank Cintrée‘.  And to clear up a misunderstanding ride away; an early example of these watches at auctions, cannot be found since they simply don’t exist, even the name ‘Tank Américaine‘, was newly created and never used before.  The new ‘Tank Américaine‘ and especially the later model, has all the charm of an early piece Tank, and it can even be seen as a modernized version of the ‘Tank Cintrée‘.  The ‘Tank Américaine‘ has that same slim and curved look, but was definitely more butch and masculine, with its wider case.

– The first two Tank Américaine models from 1989 –

The first two Tank Américaine‘ watches that were released in 1989, were not too large, one model came with a sub-seconds at 6 o’clock and the other one with a moon phase. Both timepieces had quartz movements, what was not much of a problem yet at that time, but still, none of the two created a craze.

– Tank Américaine Large model in yellow gold from 1993 –

The real wow factor came in 1993 when the large ‘Tank Américaine‘ with the mechanical 430MC movement was globally launched in yellow- and in white gold. It was for that time a really large watch, with an impeccably clean vintage looking dial, without a date window and third hand. A real statement and I remember that I had one myself in yellow gold and my colleagues at my work, looked at it if it came right from space. Surprisingly it was actually just a larger classic watch. But let’s not forget that at that time Tank watches were about 33 x 25,5 mm and the new ‘Tank Américaine‘ measured a hefty 44 x 26,5 mm, a size that’s today seen as ideal.  

– Tank Américaine in platinum CPCP 1998 –

For ‘Collection Privée, Cartier Paris‘, the model was re-released in 1998, in yellow gold and in platinum, in exactly the same case, same movement but…… with Paris underneath the brand name. And that vintage touch was an absolute winner for collectors, but the dial was still without the sweet flower rosette, in the center, that most watches from the CPCP series had after the first year. Since the ‘Tank Américaine‘ is produced in much larger numbers, than the ‘Tank Cintrée’, the model is easy to find new or second hand and this Tank is also much more affordable than a ‘Tank Cintrée’.

So when you have decided to keep the ‘Tank Cintrée‘ in mind for a later stage, the ‘Tank Américaine‘ could be a great alternative, especially as a daily wearer. The watch has the same stunning classic look, with its curved case and is a little less Dandy and less eye-catching than the slimmer ‘Tank Cintrée‘.

– Tank Américaine with automatic movement –

And to make the decision even more simple, the model is since 2017 also available in steel with an automatic ETA caliber and sweep seconds, for around Euro 5750.- at the BTQ’s and AD’s around the world. In contrary to the mechanical Tank Americaine, these automatic versions do not have that curved case back. Due to their automatic caliber, the back of the case is flat. Another difference is the dial, the steel versions have a brilliant sunburst-finish dial, while the mechanical Américaine has the more traditional guilloche. 

Or grab one of the last ‘pre-owned ones available, from the legendary ‘Collection Privée, Cartier Paris’, this stunning platinum model, with PARIS underneath the brand name and mechanical 430MC caliber, will set you back about Euro 10K and can still be found when you do a search on the net. This version in platinum and without a date window and third hand is the one that we see as the ultimate ‘Tank Américaine‘.

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