Cartier Tank

Cartier Tank is a series of watches of the brand Cartier .


A Renault FT tank.

The first model was designed by Louis Cartier in 1916 1 or 1917 2 . In 1918 , after the First World War , Cartier offered the first copy to General Pershing 3 , then the watch was marketed from 1919 .

This is a square wrist watch , like the Cartier Santos created in 1904 . Its shape, along with the “stretchers” (the horns) in the prolongation of the casing, bring it closer to the appearance of a tank of assault of the time, and in particular of the tank Renault FT 3 seen from the top: the stretchers Represent the caterpillars and dial the cockpit 4 .

Despite the martial inspiration, it is thin and light 5 , and for both a male audience that female 4 .


Over time, the range is enriched by several models. The Tank Cintrée, of rectangular form, was introduced in 1921. The Chinese Tank, inspired by the porticos of the Chinese temples, was created in 1922, as was the Tank Louis Cartier, with more rounded corners. Louis Cartier, always, created in 1928 tank wickets which, as its name suggests, displays the hour and minutes using machines instead of needles 4 .

The Tank Basculante out in 1932, a year after the Jaeger-LeCoultre , which has a similar complication 4 . The mechanism used for the tilting is more complex than that of the Reverso and makes it possible to use the Tank Tilting as a table watch, putting the dial at the perpendicular of the bottom 6 .

In 1936, a model named Asymmetric Tank was renamed Tank Oblique in the 1960s. As its name suggests, the case is in the form of a rectangular parallelepiped and the dial is slightly turned, setting noon and six hours in the corners farthest and the crown at two o’clock 4 .

A thick Tank Rectangle model comes out in 1952, very ostentatious with a case and a gold dial. In contrast, the 1960s saw the arrival of more discreet “mini” models, intended for the female public: Mini Tank Allonge, Mini Tank Louis Cartier. In 1977 the fate Tank Must de Cartier, whose dial, devoid of any figure, is a solid color reminding jewelry 4 .

In 1989, Cartier launched the American Tank, taking up the elongated format of the Cintrée Tank. In 1996, the French Tank was launched, with a square strap and a metal bracelet, and in 2002 the Tank Divan, in a rectangular format, this time horizontal. Finally, the English Tank goes out in 2012 4 .

In 2016, the production models are English Tank, Tank Louis Cartier, American Tank, French Tank, Tank ™ and Tank Solo, each with several variants 2 .

Personalities who wore a Cartier Tank

  • The General Pershing received the first copy of this watch in 1918, a year before its release on the market 3 .
  • In 1926 Rudolph Valentino wears a Cartier Tank in the film The Son of the Sheik , having convinced the director George Fitzmaurice to let him keep it on 7 .
  • From the 1940s, the Tank became popular in the artistic circles. For example, Duke Ellington , Gary Cooper , Clark Gable , Stewart Granger , Andy Warhol , Alain Delon and Yves Montand had four .
  • In 1973, Truman Capote offered a Cartier Tank to a reporter, telling him that he had “at least seven at home! ” 4 .


  • Caroline Cox ( Cameron Silver pref. ), Luxury in Heritage: Secrets of Big House Workshops , Dunod ,( 1 st  ed. 2013), 285 p. ( ISBN  978-2-10-070551-1 ) , “1847: Cartier”, p.  86-91
  • Franco Cologni, Cartier, the watch Tank: Icon of the time , Flammarion ,, 216 p. ( ISBN  978-2-08-128189-9 )
  • ( In ) Franco Cologni and Dominique Flechon, Cartier, the Tank Watch , Flammarion ,, 263 p. ( ISBN  978-2-08-013633-6 )

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Cologni 2012
  2. a and b According to the official website.
  3. a , b and c Cologni 1998
  4. a , b , c , d , e , f , g , h and i A tank is a tank is a tank is a tank – Saga of a legendary watch:” A tank joined Cartier “ [ archive ] , On The Cote des Montres
  5. ↑ Cox 2014 , p.  89
  6. ↑ ( en ) « Five Reasons The Cartier Tank Tipping is not ‘The Other’ Reverso [ archive ] , about Hodinkee .
  7. ↑ ” The Sheikh’s Son: Rudolph Valentino is wearing a Cartier Tank [ archive ] , on Luxury Watches .

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