8,6 / 10
Caliber 96 (Piguet 21)
#96019.xxxx is a nice and rare example of Tank Louis Cartier Extra Plate from the mid 1970s, in very good condition. On the basis of its serial number, it could one of the very first examples of this reference.
It is equipped with the 96 manual-winding Cartier caliber, based on the famous Piguet 21.
The hallmarks indicate that the watch has been made in Switzerland (one can see the Elvetia Head engraved inside the caseback, mandatory at the time for 18k solid gold cases). The case manufacturer was Adea Fontan (identifier: 27).
About the model
Cartier introduced the Tank in 1917. The design of the Tank was inspired by the Renault FT-17 tanks: Cartier took the look of this tank’s treads and applied it to the lugs, which were integrated via brancards into the case itself.
Plenty happened with Cartier and the Tank during the middle part of the twentieth century, and it would be impossible to write an exhaustive history of every Tank variation here. The Tank Louis Cartier was introduced in 1922, and it represents the quintessence of all the Cartier Tanks.
This model was not immediately named after its maker, Louis Cartier. It was first named “Tank à Bords Arrondis”, but probably for simplification purposes, it was renamed Tank Louis Cartier or Tank LC in 1924. With its frank Art Deco appearance, handsomely-aged rectangular dial, crisp Roman numerals, and blued steel sword hands, this model is the benchmark for all Cartier Tank models.
During almost 100 years, the Tank Louis Cartier has been fitted with many different movements, including European Watch & Clock calibers at the beginning (EWC was a joint venture company created by Cartier and Edmond Jaeger in the 1920s), Jaeger Lecoultre, ETA, Audemars Piguet, Frédéric Piguet…