The Tank watch was born in 1917 of a powerful vision, the culmination of a lengthy design process. It was a timepiece which swept aside tradition, shook up habits and ushered modern design into the workshops, destined to become a watchmaking icon.
Now 100 years old, the Tank watch has never been so new. For free spirits from every age, it is a universal symbol of style and elegance that has taken an unprecedented path spanning an entire century. While bridging different eras, it gives rise to a resolutely modern way of life centred around three cult models: the Tank Louis Cartier, the Tank Américaine and the Tank Française.
Tank Louis Cartier
First created in 1922, the Tank Louis Cartier symbolises the quintessential Tank spirit. In a distinctive design that spans the century, the Louis Cartier watch features brancards with proud, taut lines, softened corners and horns incorporated into the case. Clear-cut lines and a strict, measured composition forge the powerful style and character of this pure, enduring and timeless creation. Today the model offers two new faces, both powered by the 8971 MC mechanical movement with manual winding: a choice of pink or white gold in a women’s watch with diamond-set brancards or a fine, elegant pink gold model, a chic, incontrovertibly Cartier creation.
When created in 1996, the Tank Française transformed the stylistic features of the Tank watches. The case was attached to a metal bracelet, thereby reconfiguring the design of the side brancards, dial with Roman numerals, “rail-track” minute circle, sword-shaped hands and faceted winding crown adorned with a sapphire cabochon. The shape asserts itself in the curved case and bracelet, which form a seamless continuity of lines, volume and material. Its geometry is simultaneously softened and strengthened by bevelled brancards and the concave curves of the links: radical lines produced by watchmaking finishes. This practical yet attractive wristwatch has now been liberated, free to combine the purity of steel with a diamond setting.
case of the 1921 Tank Cintrée watch: the rectangular shape becomes more compact, while the brancards are rounded. The power and elegance of its elongated, slightly convex form make it a classic – a smart watch which asserts its strength. It can be seen as an homage to the very first Tank watch given to General Pershing. Combining watchmaking and style, it plays with geometry, alternating stark and softened edges, straight lines and curves, rounded corners and angles. The Tank Américaine was also the first Cartier watch to offer a curved water-resistant case.
With its robust, generous proportions and emphatic beauty, the watch introduced a new folding buckle that allowed the strap length to be precisely adjusted to the wrist size, replacing the mechanism employed by Cartier since 1910. The new Tank Américaine embodies the spirit of the original Tank in its contemporary, understated aesthetic. Showcasing clean lines and a strong presence on the wrist, the eternally elegant model makes an utterly modern statement in presenting steel as a precious material.
Tank Cintrée Skeleton
Hesitating between square and rectangle, Cartier chose a rectangular form for one of its first watches – the Tank Cintrée, whose curved design hugs the wrist. A functional and aesthetic exercise, this watch was a precursor of the Tank Américaine of the 1980s. Its powerful shape is delimited by a pair of brancards that structure the whole. With this watch, Cartier achieves a true watchmaking prowess. Two versions – in pink gold or platinum – reveal a skeleton movement that follows the curves of the case. Its transparent design only preserves the bare essentials: the hands, the chemin de fer and the overlapping gears in the background, all contained within the distinctive curve of the Tank Cintrée. Conceived like a work of art, this watch juxtaposes the elegance of a bold aesthetic with a singular, uncommon calibre.