New Cartier Tank Must

What is one of Cartier must-haves? The Tank, of course!

In the kingdom of iconic watches, few of them possess such a great aura. Worn by major celebrities, the Tank is without a doubt the star of Cartier. Now, the new versions of the Tank Must carry on the legacy with the redesign of the original model.

By Nicolas Yvon

Created with a square dial in 1917, the Tank asserted its difference from the rounded timepieces of that time… an even more significant difference considering that pocket watches were still more common than wristwatches. 
But this was not the first time that Louis Cartier broke with the rules of aesthetics and with tradition: in 1904, he drew the square case with rounded edges of the Santos for his aviator friend Alberto Santos-Dumont.

La Tank de Cartier, modèle historique de 1919
One of the first Tanks from Cartier (1919) – Image credit: Cartier archives.

Tank, a name for a shape

The name and the shape of the Tank are inseparable. Indeed, Louis Cartier was inspired by the plan view of a tank to draw it: the brancards represent the treads and the case represents the turret. Needless to say that it all happened in the middle of World War I.

A drawing of the Tank from the Cartier archives.

During the years that followed the creation of the prototype in 1917, and after the first real models of 1919, the shape of the Tank stretched to become more rectangular like the ones we know today. Especially, the “Louis Cartier” model from 1922, which has become the model “signature” and which inspired the design of the Tank Must.

Tank Must, a match for its original model

Thin case, rounded brancards, new dial proportions… and an absolute respect for Cartier’s identity: the Tank Must is an example of classicism. 

La Tank Must existe en différentes versions en acier
The Tank Must displays the signature of Cartier’s watchmaking style.

Cartier fans will be happy to find the distinctive features of the brand: a blue cabochon-cut sapphire surmounting the winding crown, blued steel “sword” hands, “railway” style minute track, and black Roman numerals. 
And let’s not forget Cartier’s secret signature hidden on the number X, or V of VII, depending on the version.

Innovative technology and traditional looks

Designers have reworked its shape but the Tank Must has also evolved thanks to watch engineers. The technical innovations occurred on the quartz models (€ 2,550 and € 2,680). First on pieces animated by a highly efficient movement with 8 years of autonomy. Then, and especially, with the “SolarBeat” versions powered by the eponymous exclusive movement operating with solar energy.

Iconic but also eco-friendly

Sure, the Tank Must SolarBeat is not the first solar-powered watch in history but you have to recognize that its designers are incredibly ingenious. On one hand, they’ve managed to develop a system with a battery that lasts 16 years! And the other hand, they have perfectly dissimulated the solar panels into the iconic design of the Tank. Indeed, the Roman numerals have small perforations to receive solar light. 

Cartier Tank Must modèle SolarBeat
The SolarBeat watch is a clever combination of cutting-edge technology and traditional watchmaking. 

Yes, if you look at the SolarBeat you won’t see anything that seems different from the other versions… another great asset: its vegetable leather bracelet. We have explained everything in our article about the Tank Must SolarBeat.

Cartier Must Solarbeat: € 2,550 and € 2,680.

Also a beautiful mechanic 

Lovers of beautiful mechanics can be reassured: Cartier didn’t forget about them. Indeed, the collection has now two extra-large models powered by the 1847 MC self-winding movement (28,800 frequency/hour, 40 hours power reserve), which can be found on other iconic watches from Cartier.

En version automatique , la Tank Must se destine plus aux poignets masculins
The bigger version of the Tank Must is a three-hand-date version powered by the 1847 MC self-winding movement.

Created in 2015 for the Clé de Cartier, this movement perfectly combines cutting-edge technology, tradition, precision, and chronometry. The movement is also regularly improved, for example its resistance to magnetic disturbances has been increased by the manufacture (read our article about the Pasha). Some may be disappointed that the inner workings of the 1847 MC are not visible since the Tank Must displays a brushed steel back. 

Price: € 3,650 and € 4,000.

Read our detailed data sheets on the Tank Must watches for men.
Read our detailed data sheets on the Tank Must watches for women.

The Tank: more than a watch, a work of art?

Not only the Tank displays a classic and timeless aesthetic, it also shows the creativity of Maison Cartier. Shiny, artistic, or technic, it explores or rediscovers other ways of expression. 

Andy Warhol and his Tank – © Arnold Newman/Getty Images The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./2011 ProLitteris, Zurich.

The Tank was also a favourite of Andy Warhol who wore it only for show and refused to wind it: “I don’t wear a Tank watch to tell the time. Actually, I never even wind it. I wear a Tank because it is the watch to wear!”

Diamonds, monochromatic dials and interchangeable bracelets: that’s what this watch is about!

Another artistic references to the 1980s with these three refined monochromatic and lacquered dials (red, blue and green), and matching leather bracelets (€ 2,800).

Bleue, rouge ou verte, les trois versions monochromes captent le regard
On some Tank Must models, Cartier plays with monochromatic colours to better highlight the emblematic design of its iconic case. 

And let’s not forget the usefulness of a stainless steel bracelet that can be changed in a quick and safe way. Some pieces of the collection shine like nothing else, set with diamonds on their brancards they are true jewels on which you can read the time (€ 6,000 and € 6,850). 

Certains modèles féminins se parent de diamants sur les brancards
Cartier, “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”, would never launch a new model without creating other shiny versions set with diamonds. 

With all these versions and features, the Tank Must shows a never ending will to bring innovations into tradition, which is something that sums up perfectly the Cartier’s spirit.


Read also:

See also: