Cartier’s Tanks roll into town - Esquire watch columnist James Gurney gives his verdict.
Inspired by the first Renault tanks deployed in 1917 during the First World War, Louis Cartier’s iconic square-faced Tank is a design classic. Unlike many watch-makers, who rework their most successful models, the French marque has produced few variations on the original. But this year, Cartier revealed three new additions to the family, and they’re worthy ones.
The Tank Anglaise — notable for its rounded brancards, stepped bracelet shoulders and integrated crown — marks the final instalment of a trilogy started by the Tank Américaine (1989) and the Tank Française (1996).
The Tank Solo, meanwhile, is purer by comparison and has a sharper feel. With its flat front and edges, it’s closer in look to the legendary Tank Louis Cartier. As Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s Director of Image and Heritage, says: “The new Tank Solo is stretching out, getting longer, more robust, more masculine.” In short, it’s a watch to be reckoned with.
Tank Louis Cartier XL (above)
Originally unveiled in 1917, the Tank Louis Cartier is the jewel in the French watchmaker’s crown. Elegant, understated and perfectly proportioned, it has formed the template for all subsequent Tanks.
With its richly rounded edges and masculine heft; the Anglaise is a very contemporary take on the classic model. Available in white or pink gold, it might be worth holding out for the stainless steel version.
A slick, clean-lined interpretation of the Tank, with a close affinity to Louis Cartier’s Original, the Solo is our pick of Cartier’s 2012 releases, not least because it’s one of the most affordable in the range (and quite possibly the smartest).