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Review: Cartier Tank Anglaise

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Cartier Tank Anglaise, Medium size, Stainless steel

 

Cartier_Tank_Anglaise.jpg

 

The Cartier Tank is one of the most iconic single watch designs in history.  First released in 1917, its Art Deco styling was inspired by the Renault tanks that saw battlefield use during the First World War.  Louis Cartier created a watch that was both square and rectangular by incorporating the lugs into the case in what are the model line's signature "brancards" (French for "stretcher").

 

cartier_tank_1917.jpg

 

Over the years, Cartier has tweaked, refined, and just toyed-with the Tank formula, creating dozens of different variants on the theme.  At SIHH 2012, Cartier introduced a new Tank: the Tank Anglaise.  Like the Tank Américaine and the Tank Française, the Tank Anglaise is named after a country which hosts a significant Cartier boutique.  (New York, Paris, London)  The Tank Anglaise differentiates itself from its cousins by being flouting the traditional Cartier thinness, being nearly 11mm thick, and by continuing Cartier's obsession with streamlined design by incorporating the crown into one of the brancards, which now resembles a wheel in a battle tank's tracks.

 

renault_tank_ww1_500_3_jpg_w_500.jpg

 

Personally, I had always admired Cartier designs and have owned some gens in the past.  I always sold them off because they were always too dressy for me.  The Anglaise's increased size and heft, though, made casual (or, at least, business casual) wear more possible.   I tried this (and the large size version) on at a Cartier boutique and loved it, but wasn't quite in the market for a new watch at Cartier's prices.  When I saw this on Toro's site, I had to order it.

 

Hereby follows my review of the replica of the Cartier Tank Anglaise, medium size, in stainless steel.

 

The Case

 

The case is chunky for Cartier and wafer-thin for nearly everyone else. It measures 30mm by 39mm and is less than 11mm thick. The case is a nice mix of highly polished and brushed surfaces and, in this, the rep maker has been very diligent, finishing the area between the lugs as well.

 

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The caseback is solid, secured with 8 screws.  It is waterproofed via gasket, though Cartier has never been well-regarded for their water-fastness.  The engraving is deep and crisp, with accurate markings.

 

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The sapphire crystal is clear and free of AR, as per gen.

The unique crown is probably the most talked-about feature of the Tank Anglaise.  It's a two piece crown.    For lack of better terms, I will refer to them as the "rim" and the "hub".  When the hub is in the standard "in" position, turning the rim winds the watch.  When the hub is pulled out to the first or second positions, turning the rim does nothing, but turning the hub sets the date and time, respectively.  However, actually using the crown is another matter.  Even the gen feels fiddly since the rim does not extend over the top of the brancard, so winding it can be a chore.  The rim is highly polished and slightly dished so that when the hub is pressed all the way in, only the Cartier-signature cabochon extends beyond the brancard.  The synthetic spinel cabochon of the hub is nicely faceted is the dark-but-not-too-dark blue of the gen.

 

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The Dial

 

The dial on this is excellent.  The silvered dial is a mix of opaline and flinqué textures, crisply executed.  The traditional Roman numerals and the Tank's chemin de fer chapter ring are on separate opaline rings.  The enameled numerals are glossy and ever-so-slightly domed.  The Cartier "secret signature" in the VII is clear and legible.  The date window aperture is nicely beveled.  

The hands are traditional blued sword hands.  Obviously, there's no lume anywhere on the dial or hands.

 

The Movement

 

The movement in this is an Asian 2671 movement.  The gen has a Cartier caliber 077, which is just a Cartier-finished ETA 2671.  It is a simple, robust and veteran movement.  The plates and rotor are decorated with Geneva stripes, and the rotor is signed Cartier.  It keeps excellent time, so far.

 

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The Bracelet

 

I will be honest: I do not like Cartiers on bracelets, excluding the go-go 80's Santos.  I bought this fully intending to buy a nice Cognac-brown alligator strap for it.  (20mm lugs)  However, for the sake of the review: the bracelet is very good.  It is thin and low-profile for slipping under a fitted shirt cuff.  It is 18mm wide and non-tapering, composed of two-piece links, secured via double-head screw bars.  It has a simple pressure-fit butterfly clasp which is bead-blasted.  Its engravings are deep but, like you see so often, also has "Acier/Au750" (Steel/18 karat gold) engraved on it.  I wish someone would tell the rep makers what this actually means because there is no gold to be found anywhere on this piece.  Oh, well.  The bracelet is completely (and very well) polished and looks quite flashy.  Also, because it's completely polished, it will get swirl marks like nothing else.  The clasp was very tight and required a little sanding down to open and close with a reasonable amount of effort.  The end links fit very well, without gaps or play.

 

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How it Wears

 

My beef with previous Tanks I have owned (Tank Louis Cartier, Tank Solo) have always been the stubborn insistence on being completely flat.  However thin the watch was, the perfect flatness made it uncomfortable.  This case is curved and is far more comfortable.  It is only 39mm by 30mm, but before you think that it is a small watch, it is not.  It wears considerably larger because of its square shape.  In my opinion, the larger Tank MC and large-size Tank Anglaise are too large and look slightly ostentatious on me.  However, I have a small wrist (6.5") and will admit that the larger size Tanks are probably suited for gentlemen (or ladies) with...ahem...girthier wrists.

 

Since the watch is made of steel and is not dress-watch thin, wearing it with a polo or even a nice t-shirt in a more casual setting doesn't look as odd as wearing a traditional Tank does.  However, I don't know that I would consider this a full-on dress watch in the same way as the traditional Tank is, because of its larger size and thicker profile.  (Here's a comparison between it and the IWC Pilot Mk. XVI, which is considered a reasonably thin watch.)

 

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Since it's steel and not gold, it is a great "stealth wealth" watch.  If you're not the kind of person who wears a lot of gold for whatever reason, This does not necessarily seem gaudy.  Rather, it's the sort of watch where someone asks you the time or to just see your watch and you get a "Geez.  That's a Cartier!"  I feel obligated to wear a clean shirt and good shoes when I'm wearing the Tank.

 

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Final Thoughts

 

This is a piece I'd been anticipating for a long time and the rep does not disappoint.  For people who've been longing for a good Cartier Tank rep, this is it.  Its accuracy with respect to the gen is spot-on and a lot of work went into this.  Cartier may not be known as paragons of haute horologie, but they are definitely known for their flawless finishing, so this rep had a tall order to fill, and I believe it did.

Toro was, as always, excellent to deal with.  Completely painless and very fast.  Full rose gold or yellow gold and two-tone versions are available through all TDs. As is typical for Cartier, they can (and will) make a piece in all combination of all possible metals; nor have they ever met a watch they won't ice out with pavé precious stones.

 

The larger size Tank Anglaise rep looks similar from the front, but unfortunately has a open caseback and a new in-house movement, so it will never be as accurate as the medium size rep.

 

Thanks for reading this if you made it all the way through.  This turned out to be longer than I thought it would be.  Sorry for the picture quality.

 

tl;dr Synopsis

 

+ A truly great Tank rep
+ Solid movement
+ Beautiful dial
- Bracelet is a swirly magnet with too-tight clasp
- Crown design is incredibly fiddly

- Large size rep has an open caseback and inaccurate movement

Edited by atomic_doug
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A great review of a great replica - I have been, for some time now, trying to locate and purchase a rep of either (or both) this and the standard tank. However, to date I have been unsuccessful.

The quest continues.

 

Regards,

 

Camperman.

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Nice I have a gen looking more like that old pic you posted much to small for my 8.5 now got in the early eighties (ah but then I could wear!) from my then soon to be wife, was an antique then.

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The movement in this watch is an asian 2688 not 2671. I bought this watch from Toro last week thinking it had a 2671, but when my watchmaker opened it he could tell straight away that it wasn't a 2671. The movement holder was too large and date wheel did not line up with window on dial when I tried to install a gen calibre 077. I am now forced to buy the $500 version from puretime with a 2671 to complete my franken project. It states on Toro's site that this has a 2688, but for some reason it was stuck in my head that it was a 2671 after reading this review. 

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I see a lot of versions of tank and it's hard to find a good review about them. Thanks for this great review.

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The movement in this watch is an asian 2688 not 2671. I bought this watch from Toro last week thinking it had a 2671, but when my watchmaker opened it he could tell straight away that it wasn't a 2671. The movement holder was too large and date wheel did not line up with window on dial when I tried to install a gen calibre 077. I am now forced to buy the $500 version from puretime with a 2671 to complete my franken project. It states on Toro's site that this has a 2688, but for some reason it was stuck in my head that it was a 2671 after reading this review.

Does the one Saeed offers have the better movement? Where's the best place to get the one reviewed from?

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Great review! I tried the gen today at my local AD, you're review has convinced me to get the rep. Thank you!

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