The most famous rectangular watch in the world – Cartier Tank

Good afternoon, watch lovers and readers of my blog!

The dream of any designer, regardless of the object, the main task and, in a sense, the dream is to create such an object that so ideally “balances” between impeccable appearance and maximum functionality that it would remain modern after many centuries and would never lose its relevance.

Swiss Louis Cartier Tank watch in rose gold

Swiss Louis Cartier Tank watch in rose gold

And few have succeeded in doing it like Louis Cartier , whose designs not only became one of the most successful , but also one of the most resistant to time , accepting numerous improvements, corrections and experiments without losing their “personality”.

Perhaps the best example of this is Cartier’s brilliant creation – Tank, which, dear readers, I will tell you about in today’s article.

Fine and neat Cartier Tank wrist watch on the wrist

Fine and neat Cartier Tank wrist watch on the wrist

The prototype of the model first appeared back in 1917 and was called the Tank Normale . The watch was not the first creation of Louis, but, rather, was something based on previous works , but, at the same time, radically modified.

The most significant and noticeable change was the body of a fundamentally new shape – a large and thick square shape was visually stretched to rectangular .

Original Cartier Tanks of 1919
The most famous rectangular watch in the world - Cartier Tank

Original Cartier Tanks of 1919

According to a rather romanticized version, told by Louis Cartier himself, the form of the French Renault FT-17 tank, or rather the view from above, prompted him to create such a thing.

In addition to the distinctive shape, the FT-17 presented the new watch with an idea – simplicity and nothing superfluous , as well as the name – “Tank”. This story became an integral part of the model when Cartier presented (and donated) the prototype to the American General John Pershing .

The Renault FT-17 tank itself

The Renault FT-17 tank itself

In 1922, the Tank Louis Cartier saw the light of day , which became the “base”, with beautiful original proportions of the case and rounded corners . In the same year, following the fashion of the exotic Far East, Cartier presented Tank Chinoise ( Chinese tank ) – slightly modified model that resembles the outline of a traditional Chinese temple .

1925 Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
Cartier watches Tank Chinoise

1925 Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

And the decade as a whole became extremely productive for the model, showing the world the Tank Aloignee in the same 1922, the Tank Savonette and the Petite Tank Rectangle ( one of the few exclusively female versions ) in 1926, and the Tank Obus towards the end of the 20s.

Of course, not all of these models have found success and remained in history, but such a number of new products could not but play a role in the fame of the Cartier Tank.

1929 Cartier Tank Cintree
The most famous rectangular watch in the world - Cartier Tank

1929 Cartier Tank Cintree

The same can be said about the period from the 1930s to the 1940s . The onset of the Great Depression , as far as can be judged, did not stop Cartier at all, but on the contrary – gave some impetus to creativity and, as a result, sales.

During this period, the little-known Tank Forme Baguette, Tank Etache, Tank 8 Jours appeared ( with an amazing 8 days of power reserve !). The latter, by the way, due to their rarity, are in great demand among collectors, and the price for them easily reaches $ 100,000 +.

Cartier did not forget about athletes from high society. The Tank Basculante model, like the JLC Reverso, allowed the watch to be turned upside down with a steel case , allowing the wearer to confidently and comfortably enjoy playing tennis or polo.

The Cartier Tank Basculante watch itself

The Cartier Tank Basculante watch itself

The last significant variation on the model, before Louis Cartier’s own death in 1942, was the rather unusual Tank Asymetrique , raising both aesthetic and functional standards even higher . Featuring a 45-degree rotated case and notches, the asymmetrical watch was designed for drivers to follow the angle of the wrist on the steering wheel.

A modern interpretation of Cartier Asymetrique

A modern interpretation of Cartier Asymetrique

After the death of Cartier, the original Tank did not undergo significant changes , in fact, remained the same as its creator intended. Good or not – you decide, however, as for me, there is nothing better than an original idea.

The model, as you know, after almost 100 years since its inception, continues to be produced and is a real icon and legend , as well as the basis of the Cartier watch collection .

The most recent incarnation of the Cartier Tank is the Must

The most recent incarnation of the Cartier Tank is the Must

Of course, today’s Cartier Tanks bear little resemblance to the historical original , in particular, in their movement. Due to progress, at least a quartz model has appeared, and mechanical movements have obviously changed a lot over such a serious period of time. On the basis of “Tanks” they even created very interesting Sapphire Skeleton in 2012.

Among the famous people who preferred to wear this, without a shadow of a doubt, beautiful and unusual watches were: Princess Diana, Gary Cooper, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Alain Delon, Jacqueline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Steve McQueen, Duke Ellington and, of course, Louis Cartier himself.

How different can be a Cartier Tank

How different can be a Cartier Tank

I’m not a fan of square and rectangular watches, but the Cartier Tank is, in my opinion, the most striking example of the successful use of this formula . Created almost 100 years ago, this watch still remains fresh and at the same time austere . The Cartier Tank is one of the few watches to which, in my opinion, the term ” timeless classic ” can be applied .

At first glance, there is absolutely nothing of the kind in these watches, but this is what attracts them.

A neat elongated case with elongated vertical sides, a laconic leather strap, a small crown with a branded blue stone at the end, a pure white dial with Roman numerals and one single inscription – Cartier.

This watch can hardly be described better than its name, Tank, does.

Quite bright Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Quite bright Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Thanks for reading!

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