No announcement yet.

The Never-Ending Search -or- Why am I never quite satisfied with a Tank?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Never-Ending Search -or- Why am I never quite satisfied with a Tank?

    For two decades now, I have been attracted to rectangular watches. I owned a couple 1920s hand-wind tanks (a Bulova I should have kept and a Mercer-Langendorf). I loved the style, but their fragility, size and need to wind (and lack of a date) all conspired to make me feel there was something better out there.
    The result hasn't been a conscious search for The Perfect Tank, but that may be the result.

    The aim was to find a square/rectangular watch with these requirements:
    • Steel (most likely, though other non-yellow metals are acceptable)
    • Automatic
    • Durable (>30m WR, sapphire, etc.)
    • Classically styled (although I did consider a Jorg Hysek)
    • Of a decent size (not huge, not tiny)
    • Readable (hands not too small or delicate or monochromatic; some tasteful lume is a plus)
    I started with this (so long ago, I only have flatbed scans):

    A darn nice watch, but a tad small, a tiny movement, and I fell out of love with it. It has style, but not Presence (sometimes un-definable). Out it 1999.
    Note that Daniel JeanRichard stole this case design for the Paramount line a few years later.

    Next was a real stunner:

    This has a LOT going for movement, very thin, rare (in the USA, Zenith was not available then), curvex-like.

    But two major drawbacks:
    Movement didn't keep excellent time (fixable, with service) and all that polished metal made it too shiny and risky for me (I guess I could have had it brushed).
    Out it went, ca. 2003 (Tyler really wanted to buy it, but didn't).

    Next was something really special:

    TANK defined. Limited-production, larger than the bracelet version, stunning.
    I think it would have been great on a vintage-style bracelet. I fell out of love with it...out it went ca. 2010.

    Briefly, I tried something completely unconventional:

    Dunhill DM7.
    The less said about this dark time in my history the better.


    I've considered tanks by Paul Picot, Gevril, Hysek, Girard-Perregaux, so many I cannot recall.
    I keep coming back to one...that I've never been able to find when I'm in a buying mood:

    Hamilton Trent automatic.
    They made this model in small numbers around 2004, I think. I handled one at a Hamilton dealer back when they could be had new for $800 or less. I thought "I'll buy one used when they start hitting eBay." They never seem to come up on eBay or the sales boards, though I see chronographs and quartz versions all the time.

    I don't expect it to be the be-all-end-all, but I love Hamilton, and think this could bridge the gap between too dressy and too modern.
    Still, I'm happy to head other recommendations!
    Last edited by Watch Carefully; 05-22-2019, 11:22 AM.

  • #2
    Of all those, I like the Cartier 'Tank', and I would like the last one, the Hamilton, if it were in 18K gold with gold hands and indices as well.

    I need a new watch


    • #3
      Originally posted by TKite View Post
      Of all those, I like the Cartier 'Tank', and I would like the last one, the Hamilton, if it were in 18K gold with gold hands and indices as well.
      I shall probably regret selling the Cartier. It's a model that is very hard to find, and is simply lovely.
      If it had two changes, I might find it to be unbeatable:
      1. Some lume, subtly applied, and just enough to be useful at night
      2. A bracelet, a little more understated than what comes on the mid-size Carter Tank Francaise.


      • #4
        Henry Kissinger wears a Cartier. I saw it when I gave him my seat one night at a town meeting. He's old as dirt and was using a cane so since there were no seats I let him have mine. Anyway, he was wearing one like this:
        Last edited by TKite; 05-21-2019, 04:05 PM.

        I need a new watch


        • #5
          First of all, tank you for this post

          I enjoyed the trip. Perhaps the closest I ever got to owning a Tank was a Heuer Monaco, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I also had a truer Longines tank that was absolutely stunning with blued hands. Both were chronographs.

          I like that Hamilton. It has interesting lugs too. That's the thing about Tanks. They manage an elegance that never escape it, when dressed up or down.

          They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.


          • #6
            Look for the Girard Perregaux 2550. I think it only comes in gold. There was a white gold version. Obviously not on the low end of the price scale. It has a raised (acrylic?) crystal, looks very old school. A co-worker had one years ago. I thought it must be a family watch, not a modern (or fairly modern as this was probably 15, maybe 20 years ago) watch. I had a GP tank from their vintage collection. Loved it. Traded it for something else I loved. If you want to go back to the Eterna I have one.


            • #7
              Wearing this now...

              "So Many Watches / So Little Time"


              • #8
                hmm I think the only ones are the Reverso or Universal square chronos from the 30's or exploded numbers Moesler & Ce


                • #9
                  Ack, have to wait until I get home to see the pics! Consider a good vintage Doxa Grafic too. I've purchased more than a few and if you are interested in them hit me up, looking to clear some out. A good 50's design, very stark, and legible.


                  • #10
                    Love the Cartier and the Hamilton too - and Kurt's Bedat. Funny, I was helping a friend who is managing an estate sale today and I checked out a bunch of watches for her. There were about 50 watches, mostly Invictas, Crotons, Stauers, Sturhlings, and other fashion brands. But, I did get a couple of them in exchange for changing some batteries and providing information on the value of the watches.

                    Got a Rotary Le Mechanique Swiss Manual Wind. ETA 2084-2 movement, 38mm, so a good size, and a nice guilloched dial with blued hands. No lume though and certainly not as nice as the ones you posted, but I like the size and the look.

                    Also, not a tank, but was able to pick up an Android Virtuoso Tungsten Tourbillon. It's an actual Tourbillon and not just an open heart. Not exactly my style, but a cool piece nonetheless. Love watching the movement.


                    • #11
                      That Rotary looks great on you.
                      "So Many Watches / So Little Time"


                      • #12
                        Thanks, Kurt - it's actually much better looking in person.


                        • #13
                          Two great pick ups there Mike. I agree, you could definitely own that Android just to watch the movement.


                          • #14
                            Thanks, Tim - we'll see if it gets worn, or just ogled.


                            • #15
                              I have always liked Rotary watches.

                              I need a new watch