With over 20 years active in the watch world, a great many specialized in Cartier, among others, you would expect that I have seen it all. Guess again! Even after all this time, it seems that the chances of discovering a piece you have never seen before in the metal are never-ending. This happened recently when I was shown the Tank Must Amsterdam Boutique Edition by WatchWorks Haarlem.
At the turn of the millennium
In the year 2000, Cartier moved their boutique in Amsterdam to its current location at the PC Hooftstraat. A stone’s throw away from the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, it holds an essential place at what is one of the most important luxury shopping areas in the Dutch capital. This makes it perhaps all the more frustrating that I have never seen this piece for real, as I was born and raised in The Netherlands. Granted, in the year 2000, I was still in my late teens, and my steps in the world of watches didn’t include Cartier yet, but one would expect that one of these watches would have come up in the two decades after it was launched.
I can think of a few reasons why it hasn’t; first, Cartier only made 100 pieces of this Tank Must. For a brand with the scale of Cartier, this is quite limited. As it is a Tank Must, it was priced very competitively compared to the rest of the collection. While I wouldn’t call it cheap, one can easily see people pick up such a unique and distinctive Tank Must, especially one dedicated to your country’s capital city.
Details that stand out
Another reason why most people probably hang on to their Tank Must is because Cartier went all in to make something exceptional. I wish that all brands would make such an effort when creating a limited edition. First of all, the brand didn’t just insert a logo or added/changed some color. Instead, they created a completely different dial.
What usually is a rectangular railroad track is now replaced with one shaped like a crest. In the middle, we find three subtle so-called Saint Andrew’s crosses placed above each other, forming the coat of arms of the city of Amsterdam. Quite a unique feature in a Cartier, in particular, because the Roman numerals follow the shape of the railroad track, making the ones below more stretched. While I regret that Cartier maintained the date function on this watch, the “Must de Cartier” name is elegantly tucked away at the six o’clock position.
Like all other Tank Must is also the size of this one relatively modest, measuring 25 x 33mm. Nothing to be worried about, as it easily compensates with a generous dose of character. An added advantage of this size is that you can still see a decent amount of the strap, as it doesn’t cover the whole top of your wrist. This most certainly adds to its timeless appeal. The case is made of Sterling silver, with its back secured by no less than eight (!!) screws.
Here we also see that Cartier even took the effort to number all the watches individually. Most brands, Cartier on occasion as well, cut corners and mark limited editions with the mere words “One of …..” I recently even saw this engraving on a watch, not a Cartier, costing close to a €100K and limited to just 12 pieces. I know that individually numbering watches is a hassle, as well as an extra cost, and you have to deal with people wanting a specific number or avoiding numbers like 13, but in the end, I think that it is an essential part of exclusivity.
Unfortunately, the watch in these pictures is already sold by WatchWorks Haarlem, and for the record, not to anybody at Troisanneaux. As it is unlikely that more pop up anytime soon, it was a memorable occasion to handle what is one of the rarest Tank Must.