Cartier's Iconic Tank Watch Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary
18 October 2017

Cartier’s Iconic Tank Watch Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

Cartier’s iconic Tank watch celebrates its centenary this year, so let me take you through its evolution. In 1904, founder Louis Cartier introduced the wristwatch for the first time, dedicated the early years of the 20th century to research, because he sought to design a wristwatch that broke away from the conventional circular watch face, that became the norm during those times, and so, in 1917, the Tank was born. But why was it called a “tank”? Apparently Louis Cartier modelled the design of the watch based on what we’d see if we were to take an aerial snapshot of the tank: the brancards represent the treads while the watch’s casing resemble the cockpit of the vehicle.

Since its introduction, the Tank has been released in several other variations: Tank Américane, which was designed in 1987 and launched in 1989, which comes in a more compressed rectangular shape and a slight convex casing, taking inspiration from the 1921 Tank Cintrée  – the first Cartier watch to offer a curved water-resistant casing;  the Tank Française, the Tank Louis Cartier created in 1922. To commemorate its 100th Anniversary this year, the Maison has introduced several new releases.

First up, the  Tank Louis Cartier offers 2 new faces, both powered by the 8971 MC mechanical movement with manual winding, in either pink or white gold with diamond-set brancards for women (above), or a more classic pink gold version (below). All of these new variations come in both small, and large sizes.

The Tank Française, first introduced in 1996, now comes with a curved case, metal steel bracelet, and diamond setting in either a small or medium size.

This 2017 edition of the Tank Américaine comes in steel with quartz movement in a small size only, (left of pic), or mechanical movement with automatic winding (medium and large sizes). The watch also sports a new folding buckle in place of the original mechanism that has been in place since 1910.

Last but certainly not the least, is my favourite of all, simply because skeleton watches are my weakness:  the Tank Cintrée Skeleton Watch (Limited Edition). Choose between platinum or pink gold (I’d definitely opt for the pink gold!), both of which utilise mechanical movement with manual winding, and each limited to 100 pieces. 

Although I’ve always been more of a Santos girl (particularly the Santos 100 series because ya’ll know I like my watches chunky), it’s undeniable that the Tank has certainly proved itself to be a timeless icon in its own right – it’s still as relevant today, as it was literally a hundred years ago.

Images courtesy of Cartier