Unveiled during the Baselworld 2012 trade show, the hand-wound Cartier Tank Folle (ref. WJ306017) is a reincarnation of the (almost) legendary Cartier Crash from the late 1960s. Influenced by Salvador Dali’s “liquid” clocks, the original watch was a morbid homage to one of Cartier of London senior managers who died (actually, was incinerated alive) in a car crash. His wristwatch was deformed by fire to a degree of melting and some other member of staff happened to be crazy enough to take the destroyed timekeeper as a source of inspiration. Now, eat your heart out, Stephen King.
The original Cartier Crash first appeared in the brand’s catalogs in 1967. Twenty-four years later, Cartier offered it as a limited-edition collection. I couldn’t find any information about how commercially successful was the watch from 1991, but apparently, the French jeweler managed to make some serious cash out of it since it decided to give the “molten watch” another go, this time — as a model designed for ladies.
This new Cartier Tank Folle, too, comes as a limited edition model with a total run not exceeding 200 pieces. This may make you sad, especially if you are reading this brief review (you may call it an overview) article after the whole lot sold out to the lucky few. However, the relatively small run also ensures that the watch will instantly become a ‘collectible’ after it dries out of Cartier’s boutiques around the globe.
The Tank Folle features the iconic heavily deformed H-shaped body crafted from 18-karat white gold. Its bezel, lugs, and even the winding crown are decorated with 51 white diamonds weighing more than 1.6 carats.
Being just 34 millimeters long, 30 millimeters wide, and just 7 millimeters in height, the watch is compact enough to look good even when strapped to a miniature wrist.
What I really like about this watch is its (seemingly) silver dial. Warped like a sheet of paper to match the distorted design of the body, it makes a stunning impression.
The uneven surface of the dial, which is decorated with a sunray pattern and 12 black Roman numerals is further underlined with a pair of perfectly flat sword-shaped hours and minutes hands. Made from blued steel, the hands look especially classy when combined with the white gold of the body.
The timepiece sports their own Caliber MC 8970 hand-wound movement.
Still no information regarding the price, but there is a good chance that MSRP will be more than impressive*. It is Cartier, after all.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
* UPDATE ON PRICE: It is reported that the watch will retail for roughly €39,000 when it hits the stores.
Cartier Tank Folle (ref. WJ306017) specification
Price: €39,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Cartier caliber 8970 MC, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 18 jewels
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 36 hours
Case: 18-karat white gold
Bezel: Set with 50 white diamonds, 1.6 carats
Crown: Set with a diamond
Dimensions: 30.00 mm x 34.00 mm
Case height: 7.00 mm
Dial: Silver, sunray motif
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Blued, sword-shaped
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black silk strap with an ardillon buckle in 18-karat rhodium-plated white gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective