According to Franco Cologni in The perfect replica Cartier Tank Watch, commercial production of the Basculante began in 1932, one year after the Reverso. The Basculante used a unique cabriolet system (French for convertible, like a Ferrari 355 Cabriolet, what’s up?) to flip the dial upside down. Pull on the tab at 12 o’clock – contemporary super clone watches online have a blue cabochon here – and arms extend, allowing you to rotate the caseback right side up.
Keep the arms extended, and the Basculante even makes a decent desk clock (like in the header image above).
You might also see early models referred to as the “Tank Cabriolet,” “Reversible Basculante,” or some combination thereof, especially in older auction catalogs. When luxury replica Cartier started producing the model again in higher quantities in 1999, it standardized around the name Cartier Tank Basculante fake for sale.
Meanwhile, you’ll also find vintage Cabriolet models that use a similar flipping system but with a different case design than the Swiss movement copy Cartier Tank Basculante.
This flipping mechanism was developed by Spécialités Horlogères, which also developed the top quality fake Cartier Reverso’s horizontal sliding case and was effectively integrated into JLC soon after (the company also developed another favorite of mine, the Movado Ermeto purse watch).