Cartier Tank Buying Guide | Crown & Caliber

Video Transcription

NATHAN: Another day another buying guide. Hey everyone, it’s Nathan with Crown & Caliber. And we are back, as I said, with another buying guide, and today we are going to be looking at Cartier. Now specifically we’re going to be looking at the Cartier Tank. And it is worth mentioning that often when people are getting into watches or thinking about maybe getting another watch Cartier can be overlooked and I believe this is because Cartier as a brand is so often associated with jewelry and the fashion side that people sometimes forget that they have watches. And this is why we’re really nailing down on the Tank. To us when we think Cartier, we think Tank, and there are other watches definitely worth talking about. I think most notably the Santos, but today we are looking at the Tank, and I say the word iconic a lot, but this is a place where it absolutely carries weight. The Cartier Tank is about as iconic as it gets. We’re talking watch that has been around for over a century and more or less, design wise, has remained unchanged and that’s iconic. So today in the Cartier buying guide we’re going to make a case for the Cartier Tank. All right so as we begin exploring Cartier and specifically the Tank it is also worth mentioning that Cartier is a French brand which means they’re going to be a number of French words and if you’ve been around this channel at all you know how great I am with pronunciations.

CLARK GRISWALD: Bad French, and more bad French…

Cartier Tank History

Louis Cartier

NATHAN: So, join me in the exploration of Cartier and the Tank. So up first, as we do in most buying guides, we’re going to have a quick history. And we think history is super important in regard to the Cartier Tank because of its heritage. So, the Cartier Tank was first invented in 1917 by Louis Cartier himself and then it was finally released in 1919. Now the story goes that this was actually based off of the design of a tank and there’s folklore and speculation. Was it the treads of a tank? Was it the tank itself? What tank model? But all that to say is Louis Cartier was a visionary. Like can you just imagine in 1919 seeing the rollout of the original Cartier Tank. I mean it’s a watch that we still have today and i mean 100 years ago it came out and I mean I can’t… I just… I can’t imagine what that would have been like.

Cartier Tank Louis

Tank Louis

So, the first Tank model that we want to talk about is the Tank Louis. Now the Tank Louis is named after Louis Cartier himself and is probably the purest representation of the Cartier Tank. Now when it was first released in 1919 it was known as the Tank Normale. And it was a few years later in the 20s it finally became known as the Tank Louis. Now a few quick pointers about the iconic design of the Tank. The sides of the case, known as the flanks, or the brancards transitioned straight into the lugs of the watch and going from the Normale in 1919 to the Tank Louis in the 20s the case design elongated to arrive at the Tank Louis that we think about today. On top of that it also retains the sapphire cabochon in the crown. Some of the other design elements are the blued sword-shaped hands and the art deco roman numeral dial. And we want to drill down on a couple things about this roman numeral dial. For starters the roman numeral 4 normally represented as an IV is going to be represented with four IIII. Now this is done because there is visual weight in that that creates symmetry with the other side of the dial, and we think this speaks just further to the design philosophy of Cartier. And even further down that point is the Cartier Tank dial has the Cartier brand inscribed on one of the straight lines of every roman numeral, and it takes a sharp eye to find it, but again underscores this design philosophy that function follows form when it comes to Cartier watches.

Cartier Tank Americaine

Cartier Tank Americaine

So, the next Cartier Tank that we want to look at is the Americaine. So, we’re going to go from the 1920s all the way until 1989 with the release of the Cartier Tank Americaine. Now this design is even more elongated than the Tank Louis and also a more curvy design and ultimately you end up with a design that hugs the wrist a little bit better and is more slim in its proportions but it still retains those classic design elements. So, the blued hands, the art deco roman numeral dial, the brancards that turn into lugs and the cabochon in the crown. Another cool feature of the Tank Americaine is the ability to have complications. So, you can have a time only but you can also have a Tank Americaine with something like a chronograph.

Cartier Tank Francaise

Cartier Tank Francaise

All right so continuing on chronologically in our Cartier Tank buying guide brings us to 1995 and the release of the Cartier Tank Francaise. Now the Francaise was Cartier’s attempt to make a more sporty and contemporary Cartier Tank design. Now it maintained a lot of the design elements. It had the art deco roman numeral dial, had the blued steel hands, had the sapphire cabochon in the crown, but where things started to differ was the brancards. They were much more angular and created a much more sporty design and that pointy angular design continued both through the case and also into the bracelet. Now the Francaise bracelet is a very angular design and it is said that the inspiration was drawn from tank treads. So, a cool nod to the history of the Cartier Tank and its original inspiration ends up in the bracelet design on the Francaise.

Cartier Tank Solo

Cartier Tank Solo

All right so we jump from 1995 in the Tank Francaise to 2004 and the release of the Tank Solo. Now the Tank Solo to the untrained eye looks essentially like a Tank Louis, but there are some differing elements. The brancards are much flatter than the Tank Louis, which is just an easier production element, and often they are housed with quartz movements. So, it is basically the entry level into the Cartier Tank line and what better way to be introduced to the Tank than a design that draws from the Tank Louis.

Cartier Tank Anglaise

Cartier Tank Anglaise

So up next in our Cartier Tank buying guide is the Cartier Tank Anglaise. Released in 2012 this was a very curvilinear design. So, if we look back and think of the 1995 Francaise as an angular design we now have the 2012 Anglaise as a very curvy design. And that along with the crown being inset into the brancard are the two most notable design elements of the Anglaise. I would say an interesting design. I think one of the unique parts is that you now have an almost symmetrical case because the crown is set into the brancard, but what is probably most unique about this. Is this completes what I like to call the Cartier Tank Trinity. So, in 1989 we have the release of the Tank Americaine. Then in 1995 we have the release of the Cartier Tank Francaise, and then completing the trilogy 2012 the Anglaise. And that represents the three Cartier boutiques. Americaine is the New York boutique, Francaise is the Paris boutique and lastly Anglaise is the London boutique. The Anglaise is an interesting watch and is definitely pushing that contemporary design but still does maintain those other Cartier design elements. So, the blued sword hands, the art deco dial, and the cabochon in the crown.

Cartier Tank MC

Cartier Tank MC

All right so even though the Anglaise wraps up the Cartier Tank Trinity as we like to call it, we have one more Cartier Tank line that we want to reference and it’s kind of a an amalgamation of lines. It’s the Cartier Tank MC. Now MC stands for manufacture caliber and even though these watches often maintain those similar design elements we’ve talked about you’ll now see a running seconds hand on the dial because of the manufacture caliber. And often these are also larger Cartier Tanks. So, kind of keeping with the larger watch trend and the release of the Cartier Tank MC.

Crown & Caliber’s Top Cartier Tank Picks

All right so we have covered the Cartier Tank lines that we felt were important and now we want to go ahead and give you the three Cartier Tank models that we think are the best to look at if you are interested in a Cartier Tank. The Cartier Tank Solo is our first option if you are looking to get into the Cartier Tank and there are a few reasons why. It maintains all of those design elements that make a Cartier Tank a Cartier Tank, but it comes in a more affordable price point because of a quartz movement. You can find it in stainless steel you can also find it in precious metal but you get the Cartier Tank without the added cost of an automatic movement or an MC movement from Cartier, so it is the perfect entry into the Cartier Tank line. All right so our next choice for a Cartier Tank if you are interested is the Cartier Tank Americaine. We think this design is just spectacular. It has great wrist presence, but also is still a modest case size. It’s a unique design that still says hey I am a Cartier Tank but I’m different, and it just wears so well on the wrist. A stainless steel, time only Cartier Tank Americaine is.

JONATHAN: Chef’s kiss.

NATHAN: Yeah so, our last option in our Cartier Tank buying guide is none other than the Cartier Tank Louis, and you had to see this coming. It’s the watch that Louis Cartier designed himself and it is the purest expression of the Cartier Tank. You get all those elements. You get the art deco roman numeral dial, you get the blued sword hands, you get the brancards, you get the sapphire cabochon, but it’s a Cartier Tank with no expense spared. So little things like the flat face on the Solo are gone. These brancards are rounded in a production process that I would assume is much more difficult. You get automatic movements that result in a much thinner case design. and it’s those little things that ultimately amount to what i think is the pinnacle of the Cartier Tank. The Cartier Tank Louis. So, there you have it guys those are our recommendations for the Cartier Tank. So, if you are interested in a Cartier Tank. I’m going to say it a few more times. Cartier Tank. Cartier Tank. Cartier Tank. You’ve got the Cartier Tank Solo if you want to dip your feet into the Cartier brand, you’ve got the Cartier Tank Americaine if you want something that is still Cartier Tank, but pushes the envelope a little, and the home run the Cartier Tank Louis. If no expense needs to be spared, then that’s the way to go. Cartier Tank. Go ahead let us know in the comments below what is your favorite Cartier Tank model and also let us know what you think about our philosophy on Cartier as a brand. We really do think that they are a phenomenal design brand and have a place in watch culture and we’d love to hear what you think about that and as always guys thanks for watching.




Share Post
Written by

Crown & Caliber is the smartest way to buy or sell a luxury watch. As an exclusively online marketplace for pre-owned timepieces, Crown & Caliber exists to ensure that when it comes down to the final transaction, buyers and sellers can both win. For sellers, we do all the legwork of valuating, marketing, and selling—for buyers, we put trust back into the act of purchasing sight-unseen with our servicing and authentication process. By emphasizing transparency and placing value on quality, Crown & Caliber has become the preferred marketplace for watch collectors and casual enthusiasts alike.

Latest comment
  • INteresting views, what do you think of Tank Chinoise CPCP from 2004? Worth invest in?