The Cartier Tank will never go out of style. This much can be promised.
It’s been an entire century since Louis Cartier first put the original Tank on the wrist of General John Pershing, an officer in the American Expeditionary Force, and yet, here it remains an icon of style and genius. Inspired by Renault tanks that Cartier saw on the Western Front, the watch was meant to integrate the lugs and case together seamlessly – a novel design at that time. When it was finally released to the public in 1919, the sleek aesthetic of the watch became a crowd favourite. Cartier aligned itself with the popularity, constantly adding more to the collection, bringing in new lines such as the Tank Chinoise, the Tank Obus, the Tank Basculante, the Tank Américaine and the Tank Française. A century later, the collection and its many lines are still loved by watch enthusiasts.
What then is the key to the continued success of the Tank?
The answer lies in simply how identifiable the watch is.
If there’s anything writing for men (and being men, of course) has taught us, it’s that we’re suckers for validation – and there’s nothing more gratifying than having someone point out the watch on your wrist as one he’d like to have. The Cartier Tank is one of the few timepieces that a watch lover can spot from a mile away.
To celebrate this milestone, Cartier has revitalised some of its favourite timepieces from across the years. While the Tank Américaine was one of the later iterations of the collection (only launched in 1989), it has a slightly different appeal to the Tank. Taller and slimmer than its counterparts, the Américaine is a subtler dress watch in the same design. This year, Cartier launched three versions, a small in quartz for the ladies and a medium (pictured below) and large with mechanical movements and automatic winding.
Clad in a steel case (the current Américaine collection only sees 18k pink gold cases) with an accompanying blue leather strap, the curved Américaine is a perfect choice for the man who wants a Tank that does not visually dominate the wrist, complementing an outfit rather than being the centre piece.
We can’t say the same for the Tank Louis Cartier (another reason why it’s our favourite Tank). It’s an imposing piece and this year’s large version (pictured above) is contained in a pink gold case with the manual winding 8971 MC movement powering it, perfect to catch the attention of any watch lover around.
The 100th anniversary of the Tank also welcomes the return of the Tank Cintrée. Incidentally, the watch is the inspiration for the Américaine. The new Cintrée is a unique skeletonised piece available in pink gold or platinum (below) that maintains the hallmarks of the Tank. The pair of brancards hold the bare essentials of the piece such as the hands, the chemin de fer and the gears in the background, all held within the curved case of the Tank Cintrée.
As the brand’s archives have proven, there is a Tank for everyone. And now with 13 new references added to the line, Cartier is extending the legacy of the icon further, for generations to come.