A Tank fan gives us the lowdown on his collection.

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A Tank fan gives us the lowdown on his collection.

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As 33-year-old horology enthusiast Timothy Yong takes us through his collection of Tank watches on the day of our shoot, he says: “To me, what makes Cartier so special is its designs.” While the Tank might seem like a surprising object of interest for this “serious” watch fan – who mainly focuses on collecting vintage Rolex time pieces – he sees the model as a design icon that’s both “classic” and “cool”. Yong’s collection ranges from vintage pieces from the 1970s to modern editions such as a Tank Louis Cartier (not pictured) from 2009 that he bought for his wife. He shares his thoughts on these six special Tanks.


“People call this the Bamboo because of its case shape. It’s a great example of what makes Cartier special – its case design is so out there. It’s hard to find a men’s size; I’ve seen a few in the ladies’ size. I believe this is from the late ’70s. About four or five years ago, I bought it from a collector friend in Hong Kong who was getting out of collecting, and was selling a lot of his stuff .”


“This was one of two watches I got in New York in the early 2000s. Many small shops set up stalls at flea markets on the weekends, and that’s where I got them from. It was accessible (to me as a college student then), maybe around US$2,000. I like the stepped-case design because it’s Art Deco-ish. It’s gold-plated, as were many Cartier models made in the 1970s.”


While this model dates back to 1936, “this is from around 2000; it’s a modern limited release in yellow gold”. He says: “To me, it’s the epitome of a modern interpretation of a case design that Cartier is famous for. The classic design married with the new guilloche dial is cool.”


“This is from the 2000s, although the model was introduced in the 1930s. It’s an interesting watch that’s kind of like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso in that its case can be flipped. I got this at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong three or four years ago. Even though it wasn’t very expensive – around $5,000 – I believe I overpaid for it because it was my first time bidding with Sotheby’s then, and I thought it would be auspicious to win the first time I bid with them.”


“I recently acquired this yellow gold Cintree at auction at the Phillips Spring 2017 Geneva Sale for about 26,000 Swiss francs (S$36,000). I was quite happy to get it – it’s a sought-after vintage model because it’s a classic, and the case size is larger and wears like a modern man’s watch. You wouldn’t be able to find it at any dealer or shop just off the bat here but, globally, in the vintage watch world, they’re not terribly hard to find.”


“I got this in New York as a gift for my wife – this was before we got married – when I was in college in the US. It’s a pretty old manual-winding watch and it’s gold-plated; the enamel dial has cracked slightly and it’s faded. Generally, these watches don’t keep their condition very well because their cases are not waterproof. So wear and tear gets to them a bit. But I think they’ve got character.”

My Reading Room
My Reading Room
Watch enthusiast and Tank fan Timothy Yong.