The Bespokesman - Cartier Tank Americaine

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While there’s a plethora of watches designed for almost every facet of a man’s life, from deep-sea diving to attending black tie parties via mountain climbing and playing golf, there are very few that look right with country clothes.

I discovered this surprising fact over the course of a five-year search for a watch that would complement my tweed jackets. Colour is the biggest problem; while a utilitarian watch, like a steel Rolex Air-King, appears to be the answer in fact the silver jars with the colours of tattersall shirts, cords and tweed jackets. The other obvious possibility is go for a chunky sports watch, like Omega’s Seamaster, which is rugged enough to resist the knocks and moisture that it’ll inevitably be subjected to.

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The theory’s fine, and the durability undeniably a virtue, but what works perfectly on 007 looks a bit over-specified in the shires. I know of only one timepiece specifically made for country wear, it’s produced for Purdey by Panerai and it’s a very rare hunter watch – meaning that it has a cover to protect the face. However, between the 44mm case size and the florid engraving of a wild animal on the cover, it doesn’t sit very comfortably with Britain’s low-key rural aesthetic.

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And that was where my half-decade search for the perfect country watch ended, in apparent failure. I’d stopped looking when I stumbled upon the answer, a Cartier Tank Americaine, on the wrist of a flamboyant London PR man (albeit his has a turquoise leather strap).

The French brand doesn’t have to push its classic Tank watches, which Louis Cartier introduced in 1917 and which took their cintrée (curved) form in 1921, and I’m embarrassed to say I was hitherto unfamiliar with the sublimely simple Tank Americaine (large model), one of the most beautiful watches on sale today.

In rose gold on a brown crocodile-skin strap the colours are perfect for the country, complementing brown and olive tweeds and the leather of good brogues, while the hands and the sapphire on the winder pick up the blue of shirts and the over-check on a couple of my shetland jackets. While I wouldn’t wear it to garden in with a 30m-water resistance it’s more than up to the modest physical challenges posed by an elegant country life, but far more importantly it’s also up to the sartorial challenges.

£8,250. www.cartier.co.uk

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