Wrist Check: The Cartier Tank Americaine

The Cartier Tank needs no introduction. Strip away branding, and the design is instantly recognizable to a watch nerd or lover of luxury goods. Introduced in 1917, the Tank has enjoyed a long history of adorning some of the most stylish wrists in fashion. However, often overlooked, there’s another iconic version of this watch: the Tank Americaine. The Tank Americaine, introduced in the late 1980s, was a more avant-garde take on the original design. It features a curved case, reminiscent of the Cartier Tank Cintrée. The word French word cintrée quite literally translates to “arch.”


Hidden Gem: The Cartier Tank Americaine

a cartier tank on laying on a wood table

This elongated version of the classic Tank is the definition of a hidden gem. The slim case hugs the wrist, wearing much larger than it should on paper. This watch belongs only in formal settings. It shines as an eclectic accent to a gentlemen’s ensemble or lady’s dinner attire. The second-hand glides with a mesmerizing sweep, powered by an automatic movement. This is a proper watch. It starts to creep into the area of design more typically occupied by the high fashion jewelry produced by the French house.

the caseback of a cartier tank

Cartier has only recently (2017) begun to produce the Tank Americaine in stainless steel. Previously, they had only issued it in precious metals. In addition, a date window sits at just about the six o’clock marker. For a watch suited for more formal settings, such as the office, this, for me, is a must. You could make the argument that you could simply look at your phone for the date. Then, why have the watch at all? You also look at an iPhone for the time, of course. Last but not least, the blued hands add a subtle flash of color in some lights while going unnoticeable in darker settings. This, for me, is a nice touch and adds a further dimension to the dial.


More Than a Dress Watch – A Conversation Piece

The main aspect I appreciate about this watch is the design. With the majority of watches being round, I think that every watch enthusiast should have at least one rectangular watch in their collection. There’s a heightened level of elegance when slipping this on with a tuxedo or suit. The beautiful micro-wave pattern on the inner part of the dial is yet another beautiful detail Cartier included.

I wouldn’t say this is an “everyday” watch for most people. However, the Tank Americaine adds significant value for the person who wants something different. The unique shape of the case lends itself to naturally being more elegant than a traditional round watch. This is truly a connoisseur’s watch. It has a place in any collection seeking a proper dress watch that doubles as a conversation piece.

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