First introduced in 1917, the Tank was designed by Louis Cartier, who drew inspiration from the Renault Tank used by the French military during World War I. Modern and elegant, its design flaunted a square face and an integrated strap held in between two straight parallel brancards or vertical bars, which recalled the armoured vehicle’s silhouette as seen from above. Marking a major shift from the traditional round watch, the Tank’s revolutionary clean and minimalist design was a breath of fresh air at the time.
The Tank soon became a true icon of luxury and elegance, and over the decades, many iterations were launched, including the Tank Must, Tank Francaise and Tank Solo, among others. One of the most interesting incarnations was the Tank Asymetrique. When it appeared in 1936, the watch defied the established order of things. Everything on the dial was shifted 30 degrees to the right. The rectangle of the original Tank became a diamond, with the 12 placed in the case’s upper right corner and the 6 on the opposite. In place of Roman numerals were Arabic numerals in even digits, all separated by indexes. The watch’s torsion effect was so unique that a specific strap had to be created for the watch. In 2020, the chic Tank Asymetrique made a comeback as the fourth watch in the Cartier Prive collection. Available in platinum, yellow and pink gold, the new model boasted a refined volume with the Manufacture 1917 MC movement, redesigned Arabic numerals and indexes. Of course, in true Cartier style, a skeleton version was introduced as well.
Another worthy mention is the Tank Americaine. Introduced in 1988, it became a powerful symbol of modern times with its curved case and generous lines. Re-imagined in 2023, its updated slimmer guise makes it more ergonomic and stylish than ever.