Hands-On with the Cartier Tank

Cartier Tank

My love for watches and the industry has people often coming to me for watch recommendations. One thing that makes this process easy is when they know precisely what kind of product they want. Still, that conversation can be quite long, even if they have a niche they are targeting. For example, if they ask me for a recommendation on a diver, I will have scores of favorites to give them. On the other hand, if they ask about luxurious dress pieces, I really only have a few that I endorse. One of them is the legendary Cartier Tank, which you can read about in the following passages.


Cartier has been synonymous with luxury since its inception in 1964.

Cartier Tank

Its founder started the company in France, and despite moving much of its manufacturing to Switzerland, Cartier has retained a quintessential French mystique. What makes them unique in the watch world is that they manufacture so many other products. They create leather goods, jewelry, fragrances, and so much more. Often, this strategy spreads companies too thin, and the quality of their watches suffers. This is not the case with Cartier, though, which still has an excellent reputation among even the pickiest luxury timepiece collectors.

History of the Tank

Part of the reason why the Cartier Tank is an icon is that fact that Louis Cartier designed it himself. Like everyone else at the time, he closely followed the news during World War I. Despite the carnage, he found beauty in some of the military equipment. As you can guess, he especially loved the tanks and created a new timepiece that was inspired by them. This all happened in 1919, and the Tank continues to be one of Cartier’s most popular watches today.


Cartier’s reputation comes from creating timepieces that are incredibly elegant and attractive. The Cartier Tank is no exception, as its small size, square case, and attractive dial give you an instantly lavish vibe. Overall, the appearance on this watch is incredibly beautiful and perfect for people who enjoy the dress watch niche.


Cartier Tank

The Cartier Tank is such an extensive collection, you actually have a variety of options when it comes to case materials. The three most common are stainless steel, silver, and gold. Steel will be cheaper and more versatile, while the latter two add luxury to your watch and make it significantly more expensive. One other material of note is the precious stone at the end of the crown, which serves as a delightful piece of decoration. Lastly, you get a sapphire crystal and calfskin leather when you choose the Tank, both of which are expensive materials.


To be honest, the movement on these pieces is not incredibly impressive. At the same time, that is kind of beside the point. Collectors purchase the Tank because it is attractive and iconic, not because they want a large power reserve or incredible accuracy. All in all, this movement does the job, and I don’t mind that it is less robust than sport models.

General Craftsmanship

Cartier Tank

This watch straddles the line between two seemingly opposing characteristics. The first is its elegance, which gives it a low weight and delicate feel. The second is Cartier’s devotion to craftsmanship and quality. What you end up with is a watch that is very light, but simultaneously has the feel of a very well-made product. This synthesis is one of the factors that makes the Tank so attractive.


As mentioned previously, the Cartier Tank is a dress watch. To be honest, though, it almost defines the category, rather than being in it. It has a square shape, small size, posh dial, and comfortable leather strap. Combines all of those factors and you have a piece that is perfect for a formal dinner, wedding, and any other luxurious event. Strengthening its case even further, the Tank is a favorite among CEOs, celebrities, and other people of wealth. I recommend you take a look at your current collection and see if you have a dress watch that inspires you. If that is not the case, it might be time to take a long look at the Cartier Tank.

Overall Impression

Some people complain about the movement and lack of water resistance of the Cartier Tank, but do not realize that Cartier doesn’t build sport watches. Instead, they pour their money and talent into creating dress pieces that outperform just about every other option on the market. That is precisely what you get with the Tank, which is perhaps the finest dress watch in the entire world. If you’re in the market for something delicate and luxurious, I cannot recommend this piece enough. In all likelihood, getting yourself a Cartier Tank will be an excellent decision and a delightful development for your collection.

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