History of the Cartier Tank

6a010536a2d0d1970b0147e2b40317970b-600wiThe Cartier Tank has long been regarded as one of the most iconic watches of all time. Production of Tanks first began in 1917, making this coming year the 100th anniversary of this classic timepiece! The beautifully unique shape and workmanship of the watch was a novelty at its inception, laying the groundwork for the popularity and timelessness of the piece for decades to come.

The Cartier Tank was, in fact, the pioneer of wristwatches. Most personal watches produced at the time were pocket watches that were occasionally outfitted as wristwatches. Cartier instigated the wristwatch revolution by creating aseamless, integrated wristband and watchface. The square face of the watch was also groundbreaking in a time where round watch faces were not only the norm, but the only option available to consumers.

Where did the Tank get its unique name? Army tanks were first used on the battlefields of World War 1 (known then as the Great War) and helped bring victory for the American and British troops. The shape of the Tank bears a strong resemblance to the British Mark IV tanks used on the winning side, and thus appealed to the general patriotic consumer.

The Tank had it fair share of promotion from the rich and famous as well. Famous actors such as Clark Gable (‘Gone With the Wind’), Gary Cooper (‘The Pride of the Yankees’), and Rudolph Valentino (‘The Son of the Shiek’) sported the Tank while filming various roles, and iconic artist Andy Warhol wore the iconic piece as well.

Cartier released three new editions of the Tank in 2012. Only one of those designs featured a significant change- The Tank Louis Cartier XL. This watch is super-thin at just over 5mm, making it noticeably slimmer than the 1920’s editions.


Indeed, the Cartier Tank is a true historical standout in the world of modern wristwatches. Fortunately, this watch is still in production as sales are going strong. Why not own this magnificent piece of history that truly shaped watchmaking today?