Cartier’s Tank watch began as powerful vision, the culmination of a lengthy design process that resulted in a revolutionary timepiece that shook up the industry. The Tank swept aside traditions and ushered in a new era of modern designs and workshops.
It was destined to become a watchmaking icon. A hundred years later, the Tank is newer than ever. It is a universal symbol of style and elegance for free spirits of every age. We celebrate the Tank’s centenary with a look at the classics—the Tank Louise Cartier, the Tank Française, the Tank Américaine and the Tank Cintrée—that have been making waves across different eras. The legend of the Cartier Tank is an illustrious and storied one. Louis Cartier distanced himself from the popular Art Nouveau style and went on to pioneer the Art-Deco style in watchmaking. He saw that in a time of pocket watches, a wristwatch would cause a sensation and shake the very foundations of the industry. The booming trade in Cartier watches at the time was the perfect opportunity for Louis to cement his place in the history books.
A few years later, the introduction of the Tank caused shockwaves once again. While everyone else was perfecting designs of circular watches, Cartier broke conventions with a square frame and minimalistic details. The story goes that Louis Cartier modelled the watch on the top view of a tank, with the vertical sidebars inspired by tank treads, and the case representative of a tank’s cockpit.The Tank is a universal watch with a shape that is not square yet also not rectangular. The Tank asserts that freedom and elegance has no gender, as it is at turns both masculine and feminine. Loved by men and women of all ages, it is the ultimate eternally contemporary watch.
The newest model of the Tank Louis Cartier offers two new faces, both powered by the 8971 MC mechanical movement with manual winding. The elegant pink gold model is incontrovertibly Cartier, while the models with diamond-set pink or white gold brancards are
also available for those looking for something more dazzling. The brancards feature taut lines with softened corners and horns incorporated into the case. Clear lines and a strict, measured composition are the marks of Cartier’s pure, enduring and timeless designs.
Created in 1996, the Tank Française brought on refreshing new stylistic features. The case was attached to a metal bracelet, thereby recon guring the design of the side brancards. Other features include a dial with Roman numerals, a “rail-track” minute circle, sword-shaped hands and a faceted winding crown adorned with a sapphire cabochon.
The aesthetic is completed by a curved case and the bracelet, creating a seamless continuity of lines, volume and material. The newest model comes in steel, set with brilliant-cut diamonds, and is powered by a quartz movement.
The Tank Américaine was introduced with a more compact rectangular frame and rounded brancards. The slightly convex form made it a classic that combined watchmaking expertise with style. It played with geometry, alternating between soft and hardened edges, straight lines and curves, rounded corners and angles. It was also the rst Cartier watch to offer to feature a curved water-resistant case. The updated Tank Américaine retains its robust proportions, while introducing a new folding buckle. Now manufactured in steel, the Tank Américaine is truly a classic that holds its own regardless of time period.
The Tank Cintrée was one of Cartier’s first watches. Its rectangular shape and curved design were a functional and aesthetical exercise that would come to inspire the creation of the Tank Américaine. Its powerful shape is delimited by a pair of brancards that frame the timepiece.
The new release of the Tank Cintrée comes in pink gold and platinum. Its transparent design reveals a skeleton movement that follows the curves of the case. Only the bare essentials—the hands, the chemin de fer and the overlapping gears in the background—are found in the distinctive curved case.