Cartier’s Tank Asymétrique returns to the brand's Privé collection

The Parisian maison, known for its distinctive case designs, revises the 1936 Asymétrique with a contemporary rework

The original design-led dress watch was actually influenced by function as much as form 

14 May 2020

Not for nothing did King Edward VII call Cartier 'the jeweller of kings, and the king of jewellers.' From Grace Kelly's engagement ring to Elizabeth Taylor's 'La Peregrina' pearl necklace, the brand has created some of the world's most recognisable jewellery pieces. Its watches have often been as equally groundbreaking.  

The Santos de Cartier, created for aviator Alberto Santos Dumont, for instance, was the first purpose-built, series-produced wristwatch for men. The Cartier Tank, one of the most iconic watch designs ever created, was worn by the likes of Andy Warhol and Princess Diana. The Privé Collection, which originally ran from 1998 to 2008, was another showcase of classic Cartier designs.

Since 2015, Cartier has presented new versions of the Crash, Tonneau and Cintrée collections. For 2020, the jeweller has reintroduced the Asymétrique as part of its updated Privé Collection. First designed by Cartier in 1936, the watch was unique from the off with its asymmetrical case and dial. Supposedly, the whimsical design was to ease the telling of time – if you raise your wrist, the part of the lozenge marked with the number 12 is at the top. The design has become cherished among collectors for its rarity. 

The new Asymétrique watches are available in platinum, pink gold or yellow gold – 100 of each are being made – with the characteristic Cartier cabochon-set winding crown. Cartier has also released a skeletonised model showcasing the new 9623 MC movement at the centre of a bare structure. The skeleton watch comes in red gold on a brown or grey strap, in platinum on a blue or black strap, and in a gem-set platinum version on a black or glossy blue strap – again, in a limited edition of 100 pieces per model. 

Price: $26,400 (yellow gold and pink gold); $30,100 (platinum)
Price: $61,000 (pink gold); TBD (platinum and diamonds); $70,000 (platinum)

The Movement: Cartier Tank Asymétrique

Caliber: 1917 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes
Dimensions: 16mm x 12.95mm
Thickness: 2.9mm
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Jewels: 19

The Movement: Cartier Tank Asymétrique Skeleton 

Caliber: 9623 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes
Dimensions: 32mm x 21.1mm
Thickness: 4.2mm
Power Reserve: 48 hours
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
Jewels: 22

Available from December 2020; cartier.com