Cartier Tank Asymétrique WHTA0011 'CPCP'

Head turner or head tilter? One of Cartier’s most elusive designs has received a tantalizing update.

Museum Piece
Cartier  Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s jewellery workshop in 1847.
Head turner or head tilter? One of Cartier’s most elusive designs has received a tantalizing update. The Tank Asymétrique—or Tank Oblique or Losange as it was known during its early days—came out in 1936 as a driver’s watch. Due to its parallelogram shaped case and slanted dial, the Asymétrique would be oriented upright when one would have their hands on a steering wheel. The Tank Asymétrique is one of the rarest of Cartier creations with very few of the original Asymétrique known to exist. The Asymétrique was revived in the mid-1990s as part of Cartier’s exclusive and limited “Collection Priveé Cartier Paris” (CPCP) line. Since then, the Asymétrique has seen a handful of releases, each time in very small production runs. The CPCP line originally ran from 1996 to 2008, but was reintroduced a few years ago. And, it is fitting that this new Privé Collection offers a contemporary reinterpretation of the Asymétrique as well. Introduced in 2020, these new Asymétrique Skeletons were made in three sets of 100 pieces in platinum, platinum with diamonds, and rose-gold. This ref. WHTA0011 is one of the 100 rose-gold versions. The 18k rose-gold case features a parallelogram shape with a bold three lug construction to accommodate the torsion effect caused by the skewed case. Unlike the rather small vintage versions, this Privé Collection edition is contemporary sized, with 47.15 mm x 26.20 mm dimensions. While previous Asymétriques featured slanted ivory dials with Cartier’s iconic Roman (and in some versions Arabic) numerals, the ref. WHTA0011 completely forgoes a dial in favour of an exquisitely open worked movement. To maintain the legibility of the watch—one of the key features of the original Asymétrique—Cartier’s design team opted to make the hour markers part of the movement bridge along with elongated Arabic numerals at the 6 and 12 o’clock positions. Moreover, the clever linear positioning of the balance and the mainspring alongside the 6 to 12 o’clock axis infuses the complex skeletonized movement with a pleasing sense of harmony. This limited edition ref. WHTA0011 is in like-new condition and comes on its original grey alligator-leather Cartier strap and 18 rose-gold Cartier Ardillon buckle. The watch runs on the in-house caliber 9623 MC manual winding movement and is accompanied by its original box and papers.
Cartier  Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s jewellery workshop in 1847. Over the years, his sons and grandsons inherited the family business and expanded the brand by opening shops in New York and London. King Edward VII of the United Kingdom granted Cartier a prestigious royal warrant in 1904, calling the brand “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers.” Such was the renown of Cartier, that royal warrants soon rolled in from all over the world (among which, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Siam, Spain, Portugal, and Russia). While Cartier is known primarily for its jewellery, it also has a storied history in watchmaking. Cartier’s first foray in watchmaking came in 1888, offering exclusively ladies models. In 1904, Louis Cartier gave his friend and Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont a watch to wear during his flights. Until then, wrist watches were worn exclusively by women and men opted for the traditional pocket watch. The ‘Santos-Dumont’ was not only the first wristwatch geared towards men but also the first pilot’s watch.