The New Cartier Tank Collection Turns A Timeless Icon Into Unique Masterpieces

One of the most fabled stories about the Cartier Tank revolved around the American pop artist Andy Warhol, who was never seen without his watch. But whenever he took a gander at his Cartier Tank, it was not to check the time. “I don’t wear a Tank watch to tell the time,” the artist once famously said. “Actually, I never even wind it. I wear a Tank because it is the watch to wear!” Warhol’s staunch refusal to use his Cartier Tank as a watch gave it unrivalled cachet as a style tribute that not only continues to this day, but grows stronger than ever before.

The new collection fuses key design elements of the Tank Louis Cartier with Must de Cartier, a 70s signature for the maison.

So absolutely pure and refined only the most essential lines were permitted to construct its elegant silhouette, the Cartier Tank is as much the icon as it is the iconoclast. The slim, perfectly proportioned case was completely avant-garde when Louis Cartier unveiled it in 1917, a time when round watches were unequivocally the norm. That the oldest Cartier brother drew inspiration from a military combat vehicle is a tale as old as time – and one worth retelling over and over – yet there is no hint of aggression anywhere in this watch, only harmony, sophistication, and precision.

Andy Warhol famously wore a Cartier Tank which he never wound. Photo: Getty

Some of the Cartier Tank’s cherished hallmarks have followed it from the early 20th century till now. First and foremost, the twin parallel brancards seen on the most classic Cartier Tanks. Next, Roman numerals are found on nearly all models with very few exceptions, as is the railway track minutes scale. Then the winding crown with beaded or rounded sides is always set with a sapphire cabochon stone, and the lugs always follow through to the straps in an uninterrupted straight line. Whether square or rectangular, cambered or asymmetric, coloured or completely transparent, these signature touches ensure that you will always be able to recognise a Cartier Tank.

But these signatures serve also as guideposts to the maison’s design studio in creating the latest variations of the Cartier Tank. With every new collection comes a dexterous balance of past and present, as seen with 2021’s new Tank Must. Reviving a concept started during the 70s, Cartier brings a heady dose of colour and dandyish style to the mix, along with a welcome breath of fresh innovation.

Designed by Louis Cartier, the Cartier Tank broke away from the traditional round shape of watches.

Says Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director of image, style and heritage: “The Must watches are part of the maison’s heritage and legend… They have withstood the test of time thanks to their instantly recognisable style, but also their excellent craftsmanship, which Cartier applies to all its creations right down to the smallest detail.”

Les Must de Cartier was a complete collection of timepieces and luxury objects introduced in the 1970s.

Paying homage to the popular lacquered and ornamental stone dial models with gold vermeil cases, Cartier presented new minimalist Tank Must with vibrant dials in blue, green, and red. The Tank Louis Cartier also gets an update with blue or red highlights, plus gold rail tracks for a glamorous finish. Meanwhile, the Tank Must with solarbeat photovoltaic movement puts the iconic timepiece two steps forward in the technology and sustainability department. Its zero-waste vegan leather strap makes it eco-friendly and the wonderful solarbeat photovoltaic movement keeps time for 16 years, which is incredibly handy if like Warhol you never bother winding your watch.


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