The Cartier Tank series replica watches have existed in a truly bewildering range of variations and sub-variations over the years since it was first introduced in 1917, and yet surprisingly enough almost none of those variants make use of skeletonized, or openworked, movements. Cartier certainly has sold an enormous number of openworked pocket and wristwatches over the years, but it was not until the introduction of the Tank Louis Cartier Noctambule (part of the Collection Privée Cartier Paris collection) in 2004 that an openworked Tank appeared. This was followed by the Tank MC Skeleton, in 2013, and then the Tank LC Sapphire Skeleton in 2014, which was widely critically praised and generally regarded as a very successful outing ( it was joined that year by a skeletonized version of the iconic Crash, which likewise became a critic’s darling though of course, that model isn’t a Tank). For the 100th anniversary of the Tank, quite a few new models have been introduced, and for the occasion we have the very first ever, skeletonized version of the Tank Cintrée, an early variant of the Tank that was first sold by Cartier all the way back in 1921.
The Cartier Tank Cintrée fake watches have appeared in several different variations over the years, but its very dramatically elongated case (“cintrée” means bent, or curved) has never before held an openworked caliber, and the reason why is probably that in order to get a pleasing effect, you really do need a rectangular movement that fits the case well, and which follows the curvature of the case. In earlier models you would have probably found either a round movement or a standard-issue rectangular or tonneau movement drawn from a movement supplier’s existing inventory; such an extreme movement shape would not have been part of any movement supplier’s standard catalogue and would have been expensive to produce for a single watch – maybe prohibitively so. However, the new Tank Cintrée Skeleton has a movement specifically intended for the purpose, with much more satisfying results than would have been possible with a supplied caliber.
In the original versions of the Cintrée from the 1920s there were several different movement diameters used, which corresponded to relatively longer or shorter models (across the longest case dimensions) with 7, 8, and 9 ligne movements (the ligne is a traditional watchmaking unit of measure; 1 ligne is equal to about 2.2558mm and the unit is still alive in modern watchmaking, as well as in, of all things, button and ribbon-making). The vintage Cintrée models had a very distinctive minutes track.
The minutes track is basically a modified rectangle and as you can see, the movement created for the openworked Cintrée – caliber 9917 MC machinal movement copy Cartier watches– uses that minute track as the structural basis for the hand-wound movement.