Cartier might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of luxury Swiss wristwear – but they should be. The prestigious French jewellery house has a long and storied history with wristwatches. Cartier are credited with creating the first commercial wristwatch, the Santos, which was released in 1911. It was personally designed by Louis Cartier for pioneering Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont.
In the bold lines of the Santos we see the beginnings of Cartier’s fascination with shapes – a recurring theme in their designs ever since. The Cartier Tank is a (rectangular) case in point. First released at the end of WWI, the elegant design is one of the few positive outcomes of the war. The inspiration for the blocky shape is taken from the tanks that first saw use on the Western Front, hence the name. The distinctive lugs resemble the tracks of the early tanks.
“Few watches match the spirit of rugged sophistication epitomised by polo as well as the Tank.”
A century on and the Tank is still a mainstay for Cartier. But these days it’s more about masculine elegance than martial prowess. This version, the Tank MC, is a perfect contemporary size. At 34mm wide and 44mm from top to bottom it stands out on the wrist without overwhelming. The Tank MC also has the technical credibility to stand its ground against any Swiss contenders. The MC references ‘Manufacture Calibre’ – the automatic movement visible through the sapphire caseback – is made entirely in-house.
Few watches match the spirit of rugged sophistication epitomised by polo as well as the Tank. The combination of distinctively masculine lines and the sophisticated engraved dial with Roman numerals and blued steel hands make this classic Cartier ready for action on field or off.