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Article: How to Authenticate a Cartier Tank

How to Authenticate a Cartier Tank

Learn how to authenticate a Cartier Tank

It's easy to spot a fake Cartier, but it's hard to know if a Cartier watch is genuine.

In this blog, we will show you how to authenticate a vintage Cartier Tank.

This watch was sold in Brussels on 27 February 1988.

Cartier watchmakers have been working on Cartier watches for over 20 years.

They have the knowledge and experience to appraise both vintage and new watches.

When authenticating a Cartier piece, it is important to pay close attention to every detail.

And knowledge and experience.

In this blog, we will discuss authenticating Cartier serial numbers, brand marks, and vintage boxes and papers.

We would love to hear your knowledge and experiences in the comments section at the end of the blog.

How to Authenticate a Cartier Watch (Highlights)

A Cartier watch can be authenticated by checking the following points:

  • Is the serial number correct?
  • Are the brand's logo and icons engraved on the case back and lugs?
  • Is the brand logo and icon engraved on the movement?
  • Are highly refined parts used in the movement?
  • Does the buckle have the Cartier brand logo?

The authenticity of a Cartier watch requires careful observation.

You need to ensure authenticity as well as the quality of the sculpture.

Fake Cartier watches are engraved with logos and icons just like the real thing.

To the untrained eye, the quality and positioning of the carvings appear to be identical to the real thing.

A trained Cartier watchmaker can spot a fake watch by carefully observing these details.

In this blog, we will explain in detail how we authenticate a vintage Cartier Tank, showing actual photos.

This Vintage Must de Cartier Tank

This watch has the following specifications:

  • Reference number 3 66001
  • Case size 20mm x 28mm
  • Time display function
  • Vermeil case (solid silver, gold plated)
  • White dial (two-tone finish)
  • Crocodile Leather Straps
  • Vermeil original buckle
  • Full set (box and documents included)
  • Released in 1988
  • Movement Quartz

Here's how I authenticated a beautiful 1988 Cartier Tank in 5 steps.

Must de Cartier Tank Price

The purchase prices for Must de Cartier Tanks range from 1,000 euros to 220,000 euros if diamond-set.

The average pre-owned Must de Cartier Tank costs between 1,000 and 5,000 euros .

The Must de Cartier Tank 3 66001 is no longer in production.

Cartier watches are rising in price.

This watch is currently being sold on the market for between 1,300 and 1,800 euros depending on its condition .

Prices for new Cartier Tanks

The new Cartier Tank watches for women range from 2,500 to 102,000 euros .

The Tank Solo is the least expensive, while the diamond-set Cartier Tank Cintrée is the most expensive.

The average price is around €6,000 to €7,000 for a tank model.

Step 1: Check the box and certificate

First, we check to see if the original Cartier box and certificate are all included.

Vintage boxes and certificates are very difficult to authenticate.

The main reason for this is the lack of information available.

In 1988, even Cartier did not issue all the certificates.

It's also not circulating on the Internet.

Luckily, Cartier's watchmakers are true experts.

He has seen over 1,000 Cartier watches.

And we know which boxes and certificates were issued during which era.

They know how the Cartier shop stamp, authentic box and certificate have aged.

Box and card

The full set of Cartier Tank comes in a red outer box and with a red booklet holder.

The booklet consists of an international warranty and an instruction manual.

Check the following:

  • If the red outer box contains a genuine international warranty card
  • If you have a red booklet holder
  • If you have a genuine instruction manual
  • How to authenticate a box: Our watchmakers have over 20 years of experience working for Cartier (authorized dealers) and are familiar with the feel and smell of the outer and inner materials of the box.

We have confirmed that the box is appropriate for the period in which this watch was sold (February 27, 1988), and therefore is authentic.

In very good condition.

  • How to authenticate the internal guarantee
We know what the materials are, what fonts are used, what kind of branding is on the warranty.

The paper has "Cartier" written on it in light grey letters.

We checked the authenticity from various angles, including the stamps used, the aging of the paper and ink, and the quality of the paper and cover.

Full set with box and papers
The red outer box contains the watch (top center)
Cards and card pouch (bottom left from center) International warranty card (bottom right)

Step 2: How to authenticate your Cartier Tank serial number

A serial number is a unique number used on every Cartier watch to track each individual watch.

It is a five-digit serial number that you are probably familiar with.

It is located on the case back.

For a full set, the following checks are performed:

  • Please check the serial number on the bottom back of the case .
  • Check that the international warranty card also contains the correct serial number .
  • Observe the quality of the serial number engraving.
Check to see if it is engraved in accordance with the quality and finish applied by Cartier tools.
This would be quite difficult unless you were an experienced watchmaker.

Unfortunately, this does not include watches sold in 1988.
Watches sold after 2019 come with a limited international warranty.

Vintage Must de Cartier Tank serial numbers begin with "92".

The base features the reference number "3 66001".

Step 3: Quartz Movement

Identifying a movement is really complicated.

Many forums have photos of vintage Cartier basic movements.

This is something that scammers often use in their fake watches.

However, Cartier's movements used to be a bit basic as well.

Especially the pre-1970 movements.

In 1988 the standards were a little higher.

The engraving has improved and now also shows the number of jewels used.

And the movements began to be numbered.

Take a closer look at the following points to determine if it is genuine:

  • Verify that all parts are genuine Cartier parts .
  • (Looking at the quality of the finish, the brand, the use of fonts, the use of the correct materials, etc.)
  • Ensure that your quartz complication is built correctly.
  • They verify that the movement number 66 is engraved on the watch and certify that the watch is fitted with the correct movement.
  • Check that the quality of the engraving is correct.
  • The movement parts are free of dirt and damage.
We also verify that the movement is in good working condition.
  • Does your watch have an Energizer battery?


Equipped with a 6 jewel quartz movement, the number "66" is engraved on it.

Step 4: Case and Buckle

This is the certificate of authenticity when both the case and buckle were disassembled.

This allows for a better look at the glass, its condition, any damage or incorrect finishes.

Genuine Cartier watches have a blue stone set in the crown of the watch.

This blue stone is called "blue synthetic spinel."

This part is often replaced, and sometimes counterfeit parts are used.

We look closely at things like:

  • Observe the quality of the finish on the case and lugs , including the materials used, the sharpness of the edges, the crown, and the logo on the back.
  • Observe the quality and finish of the dial , including the word "Cartier" embedded in the Roman numeral "X" at 10 o'clock.
  • Observe the quality and finish of the buckle (the pins, the materials used, the finish on the bracelet, the lettering on the inside, etc.).
  • Observe the condition of the glass and the adhesive used to attach the glass .

We look specifically at whether the watch meets high quality standards.

Most luxury watches are finished to a high standard.

The more counterfeit the product, the harder it is to tell the difference in quality.

That's why you need an expert to appraise your watch.

A close-up of the dial and case.

Give the case a unique look.

Case back highlighting specific engravings.

Step 5: Timekeeping Test

This quartz movement uses the quartz motor test.

This machine tests whether the pulse from the battery is still strong enough to power the time display.

We made sure the battery was fully charged and measured the clock to make sure it was accurate to the minute.

Must de Cartier Tank quartz motor test

Conclusion on authenticity and quality

This watch has new glass and battery and was sold as a vintage watch.

Based on authentication and quality assessment, we have determined that this Cartier is authentic.

After the purchaser was issued with a certification and quality report, the watch was delivered to the customer in the Netherlands.

Cartier watches are your guide to happiness.

Can I authenticate my Cartier watch myself?

If you are a Cartier watchmaker or Cartier expert and have the tools to open the watch and dismantle the bracelet, you could authenticate it yourself!


If not, you won't be able to follow these steps:

  • Open the case back to see the movement
  • Disassemble the bracelet and examine the case and buckle.
  • Experience is required to conclude whether the materials used are correct.
  • Determine if the correct Cartier finish is present.
  • Determine if the card and box are correct
  • Check that the movement complications and build-up are correct.
  • Determine if the watch has aged correctly.
  • etc...

So my advice would be to always get it appraised by an experienced Cartier watchmaker.

Where to Buy an Authentic Vintage Cartier Tank

Want to buy an authentic Cartier Tank?

We recommend using luxury watch marketplaces such as the Relleb marketplace for private sellers, eBay, or Chrono24.

And then have your watch appraised by an expert.

Many certified pre-owned sellers like Chronext and Watchfinder&Co are often much more expensive.

They have more overhead and provide service for all their watches.

However, buying from a private seller carries risks, so we recommend having your watch appraised by a Cartier expert or watchmaker.

Is the Cartier Tank watch waterproof?

The Cartier Tank watch is not waterproof.

It is possible to wear it for short periods in the rain.

However, we recommend that you do not swim or shower while wearing the Cartier Tank.

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