Ten Essential Luxury Watches

Ten Essential Luxury Watches

by Michael Weare

Ten Essential Luxury Watches – Watch Number 5
Cartier Tank

Many Swiss watch brands have a long and illustrious history, but the Cartier Tank must be one of the longest running wristwatch collections. First released in 1917, in the early days of wrist watches for men, the iconic Cartier Tank has been an important part of the Cartier collection ever since. The reason it’s called the tank is because when Louis Cartier created it in 1917 he was influenced by the design of the Renault tanks that were busy ploughing up the fields of France in the most vicious war mankind has ever known.

Nowadays it’s must easier to gaze upon the lines and proportions of a Cartier tank than a Renault tank. Since its introduction, the watch has been featured both as a square and a rectangular shaped watch. Its strap is seamlessly integrated into vertical sidebars known as ‘brancards.

Tank Louis Cartier wristwatch Cartier, 1925

Tank Louis Cartier wristwatch Cartier, 1925

The Tank is a diverse watch indeed, it has had to be able to adapt in able to last the course. There have been countless variations of the watch have been released by Cartier. The Tank Louis released in 1922, the Tank Americaine in 1989, and the Tank Francaise in 1996 are but a few examples. So although it may be thought that a Cartier Tank is a popular choice, there are several editions to look out for. There are however some distinguishing features that makes a Tank instantly identifiable. The defining features include its bold Roman numeral dial with a chemin de fer chapter ring, sword-shaped blued steel hands, and a sapphire cabochon surmounted crown.

Louis Cartier, who died in 1942 during the second World War, was instrumental in perhaps the earliest wrist watch design when he created the Cartier Santos for his friend, aviator Alberto Santos Dumont. Although created in 1904 the watch did not go on sale until 1911.

Modern Cartier Tank

Modern Cartier Tank

Cartier Tank types

The entry level Tank series is known as the Tank Solo range, and to make this popular model accessible to all there is even a quartz version.  This range comes in a variety of choices, gold, steel, a pink dial, and a panther or python motif.

Other variations include the Louis Cartier model so called because the designer wore this model himself. In this edition the tops of the lugs are rounded, embodying the contribution made by Louis Cartier to the modern style later known as Art Deco. There are size choices too including small, extra flat, large and extra large to suit all size of wrists.

  • Tank Anglaise which comes in in a choice of no less than 18 models, features a winding mechanism seamlessly incorporated into the case.
  • Tank Americaine has a more pronounced curve while alternating between rounded curves and angles.
  • Tank Francaise features a case boldly set right at the centre of the bracelet to seamlessly mimic its lines.
  • Tank MC gives a number of interpretations to the famous Tank theme with skeleton versions in pink gold and palladium.

So which Cartier Tank to choose? The look has been a design classic for over 90 years so it’s really a matter of taste and budget. The iconic look of the Tank has been much imitated over the years and is probably the most famous rectangular watch within the entire watch world.

Prices vary significantly from the entry level Solo range that start a comparatively modest $1,800 for the quartz version to over $100,000 for the Tank Anglaise in 18ct pink gold with diamonds embedded along the bezel.

King Edward the VII described Cartier as the king of jewellers and the jeweller of kings, so a genuine Cartier Tank should certainly form a part of your essential luxury watch collection.

Ten Essential Luxury Watches – Synopsis:

1. The Rolex Day-Date President
2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore “Bumblebee”
3. TAG Heuer Monaco
4. Omega Seamaster 300 M Co-Axial 41MM
5. Cartier Tank
6. Breitling Chronomat 44 Flying Fish
7. Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days – 47mm PAM 00514
8. IWC Da Vinci Automatic
9. Patek Philippe Calatrava
10. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711

    Author Bio

    Articles by Michael Weare


    Michael Weare hails from an international advertising agency background where he handled several well known and highly desirable watch brands; handled, but sadly never got to keep. However it's this exposure that gave him a lasting fascination for watches. Michael was Editor of Click Tempus for over 2.5 years and is now in the same role at Watchuseek, the web's largest watch forum.