Cartier Tank Basculante Mecanique


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The famed Cartier Tank comes in all shapes and sizes, perhaps none of them as unique and compelling as the Basculante. With its elegant guilloché dial and unique reversible case, the Tank Basculante is unique among Cartier’s Tank models. Released in 1932, a year after the Jaeger-Le Coultre Reverso, it certainly shares design similarities with that famed watch: the case in which the dial is housed pivots inside an outer case, much like the Reverso’s. However, unlike Jaeger-Le Coultre’s design, which only uses a single track, the Basculante employs a swinging frame. When deployed, the inner case looks as though it’s on a seesaw. Hence the name, which comes from the French bascule, or seesaw. The Tank Basculante may seem a pale imitation of the Reverso, but the subtle differences set it apart. (And, to be fair, Cartier was making rectangular wristwatches before JLC.) But it’s small details like the crown at 12 o’clock and the subtle guilloché of the dial (in which Cartier’s hidden their signature inside the Roman numeral at 7 o’clock) that make the Basculante truly original. Unfortunately, even though Cartier released the Basculante within the famed Collection Privée, it spawned an independent collection, and was discontinued sometime in the last decade. This particular Basculante is a Mecanique version, powered by the Calibre 610 hand-wound movement. Its 25. 5mm stainless steel case – which is well sized for both men and women, by the way – is in excellent condition, as is its white guilloché dial with Roman numerals and elegant leaf-shaped, blued steel hour and minute hands. The hinged reversing mechanism and cabochon-encrusted pull tab are likewise in excellent condition. Going with a Tank is always a formula for dress watch success – but choosing the Basculante, with its unique reversible design, signals a particularly refined level of taste.