Two signature brancards and a clean rectangle punctuating the strap: this is the Tank watch, created in 1917 and cherished generation after generation since. Like an idea with endless possibilities, or a “founding concept” according to Louis Cartier, it paved the way for many different versions.
In 1922, the design of the Tank watch was reworked: the case was elongated, the brancards were refined and the angles softened. The resulting Tank Louis Cartier would go on to borrow the monochrome dials of its sister and of the Tank Must, born in 1977.
In 2021, Cartier revealed a Tank Louis Cartier watch whose dial featured the rectangle-within-a-rectangle motif that first appeared on a Must de Cartier watch from the 1980s.
RED AND GREY
Technical Innovation and Monochrome with a Twist
This year, the Tank Louis Cartier watch brings with it a new radical elegance buoyed by the intensity of the monochrome dials: red, the Maison’s signature colour, and anthracite grey, a shade borrowed from the Cartier watchmaking palette. In addition to this, it has been further refined: from the twelve classic hour marks, just four remain and the rail track is absent.
Appearing monochrome at first glance, the Tank Louis Cartier watch, depending on the light and the way you view it, reveals a vibrancy that is rich in shade and depth. To achieve this effect, Cartier’s watchmaking craftsmen used—for the first time at Cartier—an innovative electrochemical engraving technique that allows for very high-precision markings: these almost invisible markings, carried out in different directions, form a group of sections and areas which recreates the graphic pattern featured on the dial of a Cartier Must watch from the 1980s. Techniques used for colouring differ: lacquer for the red dial and a galvanised finish for the grey dial. The dials are then enhanced with a glossy, multi-layered decal that accentuates the Roman numerals. The engraving creates reflective effects and optical variations that modify our very perception of colour.
THE TANK MUST MEETS BLACK
Even more radical and intense, the third version of the Tank Louis Cartier complements this duo with its deep black dial. The bright lacquer contrasts with the radiance of the gold case.
A family affair, yes, but two watches with strong character nonetheless. Embodying the spirit of the 1970s and 80s, the Tank Must applies the visual style of the early Tank Louis Cartier watches to steel. This great aesthetic potential feeds the inspiration of Cartier’s watchmakers and inspires ongoing cycles of creative exploration.
Fully redesigned in 2021 to be as close as possible to the Tank Louis Cartier, the 2022 edition of the Tank Must features an all-black dial. Timeless, understated and mounted on steel, this is a watch rich in character and without distraction or compromise. This new version is now available in both small and large models.