In the early 20th century, as technology steamed ahead without respite, the jeweller and watchmaker Louis Cartier proposed a new design that played to the strengths of the eponymous house founded by his grandfather: line, shape, proportion and detail. It was the Tank wristwatch, which debuted in 1919, reinventing at a stroke the traditional round watch.
There was much to admire, from the unique squarecase to the elegant Roman numerals, the cabochon-cut sapphire crown and Cartier’s trademark rail-track minute dial. Since that time, the Tank has been made rectangular as the Tank Cintrée (1921) and diamond-shaped as the Tank Asymétrique (1936). It has been endowed with a water-resistant case and a folding buckle (1989’s Tank Américaine) and with an integrated bracelet and bevelled case sides (1996’s Tank Française), all the while remaining true to the spirit of Louis’ original.
In 2022, the design has shapeshifted once again, becoming the all-black Tank Must, a style first launched in 1977. Hour markers are absent, but the signature sapphire-set winding crown remains.This edition ties the design flair of the ’70s with the iconic elements of the early Tank for an understated accessory that’s at once modern and timeless.
Truman Capote once chided a journalist, ordering his interviewer to take off their inferior watch and wear Capote’s own. “I beg you, keep it, I have at least seven at home,” he said. It was a Tank, of course. In doing so, he confirmed what everyone already knew: the Tank is the mark of a creative and those who appreciate pure design and perennial style.