Cartier Tank Basculante 2480Sold
Cartier Tank Basculante 2480
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The Tank Basculante was released in 1932, a time when gentlemen of leisure needed a watch that could be protected during pursuits such as polo and tennis. The tilting-action of the Tank Basculante is very similar to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso, which was released just a year earlier. That’s neither a coincidence nor a sign of shady business practices. Cartier and LeCoultre, in fact, had a long-standing business relationship, owing to an exclusive agreement for LeCoultre to provide watch movements to Cartier. This close relationship also extended to cooperation on watch designs, as Spécialités Horlogères SA (the LeCoultre subsidiary responsible for the Reverso) made the Basculante for Cartier. Like the Reverso, the tank Basculante was designed to be flipped over so that the crystal and dial could be protected during sporting and other activities that could damage the watch. The name Tank Basculante means exactly that in French: the Tilting Tank. This tilting action is made possible thanks to a nifty mechanism that allows the face to be flipped upside down in a swinging frame. And, because the Basculante can be rotated 360 degrees, it can even be rested upright and used as a little table clock! Like many of Cartier’s interwar designs, the Basculante never made it into regular production and the model was relegated to the archives until it was reintroduced in the 1990s. This ref. 2480 is a magnificent and luxurious execution from the 2000s. The watch features an 18k yellow-gold case with factory-set diamond brancards that measures 25 x 39 mm. The white dial sports Cartier’s well-known painted black Roman numerals, painted railroad minute track, and blue sword hands. The watch comes on a red alligator-leather Cartier strap with an 18k yellow-gold Cartier folding clasp.
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. Tank The Cartier Tank was designed as a tribute to Allied troops and their Renault tanks during the Great War. The first prototype Tank was presented in 1917 to General Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I. The watch became available to the public after the war was over in 1919. The Tank is easily recognizable due to its angular case with its vertical crossbars (known as ‘brancards’) and noticeable crown topped with a sapphire cabochon. Over a hundred years old now, the Tank has known many illustrious owners, among which Andy Warhol, Jackie Kennedy, Yves Saint Laurent, Frank Sinatra and Calvin Klein. It belongs among the most important watches in watch history and is still one of the cornerstones of Cartier’s collection.
- SKU 6556
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