The Cartier Tank

The Cartier Tank: An Iconic Watch with a Rich History

The Cartier Tank | This iconic watch has stood the test of time thanks to its timeless design, impeccable craftsmanship, and cultural significance. Since its introduction in 1917, it has undergone several design changes, but its signature rectangular shape and minimalist dial has remained constant. The Tank has been worn by many famous people over the years, cementing its status as a symbol of luxury and sophistication.

If there’s one watch that has stood the test of time and remains relevant today, it’s the Cartier Tank. With its sleek and elegant design, the Tank has been a favorite among watch enthusiasts for over a century.

Origins of the Cartier Tank

The Cartier Tank is a watch that has stood the test of time, remaining one of the most iconic watches in history. With its clean lines, rectangular shape, and bold Roman numerals, the Cartier Tank is instantly recognizable and a symbol of elegance, refinement, and luxury.

Birth of the Tank

Louis Cartier designed the Cartier Tank in 1917, inspired by the military tanks used during World War I. Its unique rectangular shape and clean lines were a departure from the more ornate styles that were popular then, and it quickly gained popularity among Parisian high society.

Tank’s Evolution

Over the years, the Cartier Tank has undergone several design changes while maintaining its signature shape and aesthetic. In the 1920s, the Tank became more streamlined and refined with the addition of the Tank Cintrée and the Tank Chinoise. The 1930s saw the introduction of the Tank Basculante, which featured a reversible case, and the Tank Asymétrique, which had an off-center dial. In the 1950s and 60s, the Tank became bolder and more colorful with the introduction of the Tank Américaine and the Tank Française.

Iconic Design of the Cartier Tank

The Cartier Tank is characterized by its rectangular shape, reminiscent of the tanks that inspired its creation. It features a clean, uncluttered dial with bold Roman numerals and a simple, elegant crown set with a sapphire cabochon.


The Cartier Tank’s rectangular shape is one of its most distinctive features. It was designed to resemble the treads of a tank, with the vertical bars on either side of the case representing the Tank’s tracks.


The Cartier Tank’s dial is also a key element of its design. It is typically minimalist, with Roman numerals and a railway track minute marker. The hands are usually sword-shaped, adding elegance and simplicity to the watch.


The Tank’s crown is often set with a sapphire cabochon, a feature that has become a signature of many Cartier watches. It is also typically small and understated, in keeping with the watch’s overall design.


The Cartier Tank has traditionally been paired with a leather strap, adding to its classic and timeless appeal. However, the watch has also been available with metal bracelets in recent years, giving it a more modern edge.

Different Variations of the Cartier Tank

Over the years, Cartier has produced several different models of the Tank, each with its unique features and design elements. Some of the most popular models include:

  • The Tank Louis Cartier was the original model and featured a simple, elegant design.
  • The Tank Francaise has a more modern, sporty look and is available in various materials and sizes.
  • The Tank Americaine is elongated and curved, with a more feminine design often set with diamonds.

The Cartier Tank is a true watchmaking icon with a design that has remained virtually unchanged for over 100 years. Its timeless elegance, minimalist design, and association with some of history’s most famous and influential people have made it one of the world’s most recognizable and desirable watches.

Special Editions of the Cartier Tank

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cartier Tank in 2017, the brand released many special editions of the watch. These included limited edition models with diamond-set cases and a range of colorful straps made from materials like alligator leather and silk.

The most notable special edition, however, was the Tank Cintrée Skeleton, which featured a transparent case that allowed the wearer to see the intricate inner workings of the watch. This model was a departure from the traditional design of the Cartier Tank but still maintained the brand’s signature elegance and sophistication.

Why the Cartier Tank is an Iconic Watch

Timeless Design

The Cartier Tank’s timeless design has ensured that it has remained a popular choice for over a century. Its clean lines, classic dial, and understated crown and strap make it a watch that can be worn for any occasion.

Impeccable Craftsmanship

Cartier is known for its exceptional craftsmanship, and the Tank is no exception. Each watch is meticulously handcrafted, carefully considering every detail to ensure it meets the brand’s high standards.

Cultural Significance

The Cartier Tank has also become a cultural icon, appearing in numerous films, TV shows, and songs. Its association with famous wearers and its status as a symbol of luxury and sophistication have helped to cement its place in popular culture.

The Cartier Tank in Pop Culture

The Cartier Tank has also made its mark in pop culture. It has been featured in several movies and TV shows, including “The Great Gatsby,” “Mad Men,” and “The Crown.” It has also been worn by countless celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling, Mohammad Ali and Bradley Cooper.

Over the years, many famous people, including royalty, actors, and artists, have worn the Cartier Tank. Jackie Kennedy was often seen wearing a Tank Française, while Princess Diana was a fan of the Tank Louis Cartier. Other notable Tank wearers include Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and Yves Saint Laurent.


What inspired the design of the Cartier Tank?

Louis Cartier was inspired by the military tanks used during World War I, so the watch has a unique rectangular shape.

Who are some famous wearers of the Cartier Tank?

Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, and Andy Warhol are just a few famous people who have been seen wearing a Cartier Tank.

What is the Cartier Tank’s crown typically set with?

The Tank’s crown is typically set with a sapphire cabochon, a feature that has become a signature of many Cartier watches.

What is the Cartier Tank’s strap typically made of?

The Tank’s strap is typically leather, although metal bracelets are also available.

Why has the Cartier Tank become a cultural icon?

The Tank’s association with famous wearers and status as a symbol of luxury and sophistication have helped cement its place in popular culture.

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