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Incoming - Cartier Tank Solo XL


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I ordered this a couple of weeks ago and was finally able to pick it up from the AD today.  I had been vaguely interested in them for quite a while but as you probably know I was preoccupied with something else. However, recently, the more I looked at my long stated grail, the more I began to realise that it probably wasn't the right choice for me. I have often said on here that I like my watches to be simple, and this was far from simple. The main problem was that when I looked at an almost identical watch I couldn't really see a lot of the indications. I was also slightly troubled by the overall cost. Time to think again.

Simple, elegant, slim, with a timeless quality that has a slightly old-fashioned aura about it? There are plenty of choices out there, but suddenly I found myself looking much more closely at Cartier. The Tank Solo is, admittedly Cartier's entry level watch, but I found myself preferring it to all except possibly the Tank Française and the Santos. On my first visit to the AD I looked at the so-called Large model, but I found it too small. Added to which it was quartz, there was no date (not a problem) but I felt that I would miss the lack of a seconds hand. The Solo XL looked and felt a much better size, though I did not want the bracelet version. I'm sure the bracelet was very well made, but I'm not a fan of them.

I rather enjoyed the AD experience. All very calm and unhurried and the coffee and biscuits were excellent! Nespresso, I wouldn't be surprised. As well as Cartier this shop does the R-O-T trinity as well as Breitling, Bremont, Tudor, JLC and P-P. I had a great nosey around. Saw the new OP...gorgeous. Admired the workmanship and solidity of Bremont, despite not liking them. Drooled over a Calatrava!

Anyway, revenons à nos moutons, as the French used to say in the Middle Ages. The outer box is a bit flimsy, and the inner one, although quite solid, is not up to the standard of some of the beautiful wooden boxes we see from some manufacturers. The corners of the inner box are chamfered which may well help to prevent the dents we often find on CW boxes. Also worthy of note is the fact that the box is padded inside at the top so the watch is not going to rattle and bang around inside. Presentation is not quite the best, but perfectly good. The literature looks very solid until you realise that it is in 13 languages! It's not particularly extensive. But then, it's a simple watch so it doesn't need to be.

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And so to the beast itself…

The case wears surprisingly large. It measures 31mm without crown by 40.85mm including the "brancards". Cartier's word for lugs means stretchers in French. Casualty Clearing Station, please Corporal. There is absolutely no downward curve on the lugs so it does sit a little proud of the wrist bones. Nothing I will not get used to. Despite the fact that it contains an automatic movement, the height is only 7.65 mm. Think halfway between the Nomos Tangente and the CW Slimline.

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The dial itself measures 23mm by 27mm, and of course it is a classic. Not everyone's cup of tea, I know. To me it's just wonderful – those huge Roman numerals, the sword hands and the lovely railroad track. The date is smallish but readable. It has a sapphire crystal and is very easy to read – lots of contrast.

The movement is a Cartier 049, which is in fact based on the ETA 2892 ébauche, a very slim auto. It has a lovely winding action, the rotor feels like it is going around very easily, and I love the cabochon on the crown. At this level it is a synthetic sapphire, but when the light shines through it it is rather pretty.

The alligator strap is a little creaky at first, but it feels very soft and the whole watch is extremely comfortable. The deployant is unusual because the strap has no holes and two pointed ends that fit a little like the CW Bader clasp, tucking under a pair of horns or tabs. It's a bit difficult to explain but you can achieve a very fine fit. The clasp itself takes a bit of practice to open and close but I am getting used to it. It feels very secure.

I will update after a few days, when I have seen what performance is like, but overall I must say I'm very pleased. (Understatement)

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Thanks for reading! :thumbsup:

Edited by AVO
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