Apr 27, 2017 46

Cartier Tank

Hallmark of Sophisticated Elegance

The lugs blend seamlessly into the bare edges of the flat vertical brancards, giving the watch its unique aesthetic. The clean, crisp lines have proved hugely popular with a free-spirited, elegant clientèle.

  The now-iconic Tank watch has inspired countless variations, yet managed to preserve its distinctive identity. 

History of Cartier Tank 

The Tank de Cartier collection is inspired by the iconic "Tank" watch which echoes the harmony and structure of its namesake. The clean lines and elegant shapes of the collection are focused on colored gemstones and take on a timeless quality that are rendered in yellow or white gold. The first Tank wristwatch was created in 1917 and was inspired by a simple idea: four lines, with two parallel shafts made from gold or platinum, a sapphire cabochon atop the winding crown and a leather strap. With its infinitely refined and timeless design, this revolutionary square watch took shape and forever changed the world of watchmaking. Yet the story of the Tank has only just begun.

The Tank is a very historic timepiece that dates back to the early 1900s. Although there are many watchmakers that hung their shingle centuries ago, there are few that have continued to produce the same model for such a lengthy period.

General John Pershing

Louis Cartier designed the original Tank in the year 1917 as a gift for General John Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force two years before it hit the public marketplace. When creating the timepiece, Cartier drew inspiration from the Renault tanks that he saw on the Western Front. It was a novel creation because, unlike most timepieces of the day, it managed to seamlessly integrate the lugs into the vertical brancards of the casing. It was an instant classic due to its hard edges, crisp lines and clean aesthetic appeal.

A year after presenting its prototype to General Pershing, Louis Cartier announced his newest timepiece and took it to market in early 1919 where a limited run of just six Tank watches were available for sale.

A Renault Tank that inspired the watch

The public interest grew and soon the Cartier Tank was the watch of royals. In 1921, Cartier introduced a second model called the Tank Cintrée which was the slimmest timepiece on the market with curves that were unheard of. By 1922, Cartier introduced yet another new model called the Tank Chinoise followed by the Tank Louis which proved to be equally popular. Not to be outdone by other watchmakers, Cartier introduced yet another collection in 1928 called the Tank a Guichets which was the first model without hands. Then came the odd Tank Obus one year later in mid-1929. In 1932, Cartier who often partnered with other experts including movement designers at LeCoultre created the Tank Basculante, which was designed in similar fashion to the JLC Reverso and intended for use while playing sports. More and more collections were born over the years with a significant new model called the Tank Américaine collection introduced in 1989. Then, in 1996, Cartier announced yet another pinnacle of the current collection, this time, called the Tank Française. Since then, new models have continued to grace the boutiques and stores that sell fine timepieces to the world’s most discerning gentlemen. Unlike most watches that have been around for significant periods of history, the Tank has managed to maintain its unique appearance with every model focusing on the key features that identify the unique timepiece.

Cartier, a Pioneer in Modern Watchmaking

Precision mechanisms made with passion, a style that stands out from all others. Follow the amazing history of Cartier watchmaking.

Fine Watchmaking

Cartier is a pioneer in watchmaking style, expertly blending boldness, passion and elegance. In addition to creating the first wristwatch, Cartier also revolutionized watchmaking design in the early years of the last century with the rectangular dial. Cartier watches are the mechanics of passion, a fusion of cutting-edge technology and character.