More than maybe any other watch brand, Cartier has mastered the art of creating timeless watch designs. While not as well known as the Santos or Tank, the Asymétrique is an ageless wonder that looks as great today as it did decades ago. The example shown here is a one of one hundred Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique reference WGTA0043 in rose gold.
When the Asymétrique was introduced in 1936, it was not included in the famous Tank watch line. However, upon reintroducing the model, Cartier decided that the Asymétrique should be officially considered a part of the greater Tank collection. A testament to how natural a fit the Asymétrique is in the Tank line up is that the design has changed very little with the move. If you were to hold up this modern example next to the original “pre-Tank” versions, there would be no doubt the two were the same watch model.
This latest Privé Tank Asymétrique collection was introduced in April of this year in three limited—100 per metal—variations all powered by the manual wound 38-hour reserve caliber 1917 MC. With versions made in yellow gold, pink gold, and platinum, this example in pink gold is my favorite. The shades of pink gold and grey harmonize in a way you don’t often see. It hits the sweet spot between the more classical yellow gold model and the distinctly modern platinum one. It’s a color combo that works so well because it perfectly balances bold and simple elements, much like the watch’s overall design.
Features like the unique case shape and the grey sunburst finish on the dial can’t help but draw your attention, but the timepiece overall is very minimalist. Displayed are just two hands, even-numbered Arabic numerals, and the word Cartier just below twelve. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.
The unconventional dial stands out, but its purpose is more than to be different. It’s intended to make reading the time more comfortable and natural. When one raises their wrist to check the time, they rarely make an effort to ensure their forearm is perfectly horizontal in front of them. The slight dial angle adjustment on the Asymétrique allows the arm to rest in a more comfortable position and have the time display oriented in an easy to read layout. But because it’s Cartier, they can’t help but implement this design in a gorgeous and original way that stands out in a sea of standard round and square cased timepieces.
The case measures 47.15mm x 26.2 mm and only 6.38mm thick, meaning it should easily slip under a dress cuff. While the case shape takes center stage, the three lugs are another stand-out characteristic. This feature goes all the way back to the original, but there have been variations without it. Overall I think it helps the model stand on its own design-wise and further asserts the quirky style of the watch, however it will obviously limit one’s strap choices. You’ll also notice the classic Cartier sapphire cabochon crown. This was not on the original Asymétrique, but it’s a welcome addition and helps the watch fit even more naturally into the Tank line. Plus, there is just something so special about that little pop of blue on a Cartier.
Intriguing but still elegant, this pink gold Privé Tank Asymétrique is in a league of its own. No other watch combines such bold design elements while maintaining such a high level of class. This Asymétrique is the embodiment of what Cartier does best, refined, timeless, avant-garde design.