Certain recent high-profile auction results – such as the record-breaking sale of a Cartier Crash example – are proof that the watch collecting zeitgeist is starting to truly embrace Cartier’s watchmaking oeuvre. In the latest installment of our series What Is On My Wrist, Craft + Tailored’s CEO Cameron Barr treats us to a close look at a Cartier Tank Louis ref. 96065 from his personal collection, and explains exactly what he finds so enchanting about this particular watch, the Cartier brand, and why he couldn’t bring himself let it go once it came into his possession.
The reference 96065 is the classic Cartier Tank Louis, and it offers the timeless aesthetic of the original Tank model, but in an elegant extra-thin format. While the ref. 96065 is hardly a large watch, it is considered to be the full-sized version and features a yellow gold case that measures 23mm wide by 30mm long. Inside it beats the Cartier cal. 96, which is based upon the ultra-thin Piaget cal. 21, and affords this watch its extra thin case profile. Just as you would expect from a model known as the “Extra Plate” or “Extra Thin” version, the entire watch measures in at just 4mm thick – giving it the ability to effortlessly slip under the cuff of a shirt, regardless of whether you choose to wear it as a proper dress watch with formal attire or as an upscale everyday piece.
Part of what makes this particular example so special is that it is a full kit and still has its original Cartier box and brown alligator leather strap, plus its original retail paperwork that shows it was sold directly by Cartier in Paris and is appropriately fitted with a “Paris dial” that has the characteristic “Paris” signature appearing below the 6 o’clock location, along with the hidden Cartier signature at 7 o’clock. Additionally, Cam’s personal Tank Louis ref. 96065 even has its original service papers that show it was overhauled in 1996 by Cartier in Dallas. While Cam is hardly a stickler when it comes to whether or not vintage watches have a full set, the fact that this one is still accompanied by every single bit of its history makes it even more special – and it is ultimately part of the reason why he felt compelled to make this particular watch part of his personal collection.
Despite the fact that Cartier is arguably best known for its jewelry, the brand is also a serious player in the world of luxury watches. Cartier has been producing wristwatches for more than a hundred years, and from a purely brand-recognition standpoint, it is one of the very few names in the world that can rival the immense global fame of Rolex. Additionally, regardless of the fact that many Cartier watches offer somewhat unconventional designs and have non-traditional case shapes, the core appearance of iconic models such the Tank have barely changed throughout the decades, making them staples that fit into virtually any watch collection — including Cam’s very own personal one.
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