The Cartier Tank is an iconic, symbolic standard for contemporary design. It was one of the first wristwatches conceived for style over function. The aesthetic of the model draws inspiration from the Renault tanks produced by the French during the First World War. With over 100 years of production, there have been countless variations of the Tank, each iconic in their own right. Buying a Cartier Tank watch means owning one of the most instantly recognizable and significant watch designs of the modern era. Explore our vast inventory of exceptional used Cartier Tank watches for sale.
In the early 1900s, most watchmakers focused on function over form. Louis Cartier, the brand’s founder, wanted to do something different. He wanted to design a watch with style, something striking and unforgettable. Cartier followed his instincts and desires, and in 1917, a new creation was born: the Tank.
The initial 1917 Tank was a prototype that Cartier gifted to General Pershing of the American Expeditionary Forces. Two years later in 1919, they reproduced the model in a limited edition of six pieces, called the Tank Normale. A year later, the Tank’s production was up to over 30 pieces. Over the course of the next 50 years, Cartier made approximately 6000 pieces.
The Tank showcases a notably geometric and angular design. It features distinct proportions and strong, straight lines. These elements draw from the Renault FT-17 Army Tanks produced by the French during WWI. This inspiration doesn’t stop at the case. The unique bracelet with seamlessly integrated, flat, vertical bars known as brancards resemble the caterpillar tracks of the army tanks. Another distinguishing feature of the Tank is its blue steel and sword shaped hands. These have since become an iconic feature of all Cartier watches.
In all its decades of production, the Cartier Tank has evolved in the form of numerous variations. Some of the most notable iterations include the Tank Solo, Tank Americaine, and Tank Louis Cartier. Arguably, one of the most popular Tank models is the Tank Francaise, which Cartier first introduced in 1996.
In 2017, the Tank celebrated its 100th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, Cartier debuted a diverse range of offerings. The first was the lavish Tank Cintree. It features a skeleton caliber and platinum or rose gold case, produced in a limited quantity of only 100 pieces. Next, a new version of the Tank Americaine in three size options. Then, finally, the Tank Louis Cartier offered in two sizes.
A year later in 2018, Cartier continued to build upon both the Tank Cintree and Tank Louis Cartier iterations. They launched the Cintree in three new editions. Cartier also added a rose gold variation of the Tank Louis Cartier with a matching bracelet and upgraded movement.
The Tank doesn’t just hold a significant place in the history of the Cartier. It holds a significant place in our culture. Icons, from Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana to Andy Warhol and Muhammed Ali, have worn the Tank. The Tank knows no gender or time or place. It’s timeless and defies trends. It’s a watch for everyone.
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