The Tank Française steals the show

A rightful heir to the iconic Tank by Cartier, the Tank Française makes a resounding comeback with a new line-up of seven revamped variations. Over the years, the timeless style of this Cartier best-seller has earned it praise from the biggest stars. It simply has a certain je ne sais quoi. So, what’s new for this icon of the French brand?

By Chloé Redler

The Tank Française was introduced by Cartier in 1996 and stood out right away with the bold design of its metal bracelet. It acts as an extension of the straight, angular lines of the case to form a coherent and ergonomic whole. The watch was an immediate success and today’s model is a testament to its timeless charm.

A worthy heir to the 1917 Tank, the Tank Française shows a rebellious streak with its bold, angular lines.

Legendary design

Following the success of the Cartier Santos, launched in 1904, Louis Cartier started to make a name for himself in the creation of “shape watches”. In 1917, the innovative, pioneer artist made a complete departure from the conventional round models and designed a rectangle-shaped case, like an army tank seen from above. The image of the tank inspired the design of the timepiece’s various parts: the brancards look like caterpillar tracks while the case recalls the hull of the armoured vehicle. The Tank was born. It caused quite a stir in the watchmaking world and was ceaselessly updated, keeping up with the times and trends. Cintrée, Chinoise, à Guichets, Asymétrique, Must, Américaine, Anglaise, it then became the Française in the 1990s, reaffirming its French identity. The Française is now back into the spotlight, more desirable than ever.

The Cartier Tank, a successful facelift

The case and the bracelet fit seamlessly into each other to form an unbroken line.

The Tank Française remains faithful to the original and retains the well-known identity of Cartier watches. It’s all there: railroad minute tracks, sword-shaped hands in blued steel, Roman numerals, and even the maison’s secret signature, hidden in the V of the VII. And let’s not forget the delicate blue sapphire or diamond cabochon (depending on the model) that adorns the winding crown.

The jewellery version of the Tank Française.

The 2023 version underwent a few subtle changes, that will not escape the keen eyes of astute collectors. The dial now has a sun-brushed finish and is housed in a satin-finished case, with slightly curved brancards for a more comfortable fit. This is enhanced by the links of the bracelet, now closer together to form a flexible chain that perfectly hugs the wrist. The inlaid crown was integrated into the caseband, creating a seamless and harmonious effect. 

The new Tank Française enjoys a softer geometry with its bevelled brancards and slightly concave chain links.

One watch, many possibilities

The seven variations of the Tank Française.

Beyond a simple time-keeping instrument, this geometrical marvel is an objet d’art in its own right. The artisans of the Cartier manufacture had a field day with this model and its seven variations. Four pieces – two small models and two mediums – were crafted in yellow gold, two of which are jewellery versions.

Lovers of fine mechanical pieces are sure to be drawn to the automatic steel version.

The three other pieces are stainless steel and come in small, medium, and large editions. These truly gender-neutral classics are powered by a high-performance finely crafted Swiss quartz movement. The large steel model houses a high-precision manufacture self-winding calibre.

A star-studded cast

Catherine Deneuve, the embodiment of chic à la française.

Star among the stars, the Tank Française should be represented by a figure both simple and sophisticated, masculine and feminine, unique and legendary. The watch plays the leading role in a short film directed by Guy Ritchie for Cartier, featuring Rami Malek and loyal ambassador of the maison Catherine Deneuve. The film is an ode to timeless elegance, and takes place in Paris, the quintessential city of French chic.

Rami Malek starred in Bohemian Rhapsody as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

A new stage

The transformed Tank Française enjoys a beautiful new stage for its performance. It is available at Cartier’s flagship boutique, located at 13 rue de la Paix in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. This prestigious establishment houses the maison’s most exquisite creations. 

Entirely renovated, the boutique on 13 rue de la Paix is also known simply as “13 Paix” to the initiated.

See our technical specifications for the Cartier Tank Française.


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