|Year of production (circa)||
20 x 25 mm
Cartier Tank Francaise Ref. 2384
You make me feel like a natural woman!”
While the Tank Francaise clearly shares the majority of its DNA with the more classical Tank variants, it is still distinctly different. This execution is more modern, with its more angular brushed case and bracelet. It is not so much an iconic watch in its original guise as it is an updated, fresh-looking variation on the familiar Tank theme.
And you do not have to worry if it is still elegant or iconic enough. Just search Tank Francaise on your favorite search engine and you will spot countless powerful ladies rocking the TF. From Michelle Obama to Gisele Bündchen, not a bad crowd to put yourself among, I would say!
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Cartier was founded by Louis-Francois Cartier in Paris in 1847. As number 59 on the Forbes most valuable brands list, it is safe to say that Cartier is a household name in the world of jewelry and watches.
Don’t be fooled by the glitter and glamour of the brand though. There is serious watchmaking heritage present here. Think, for instance, of the introduction of the men’s wristwatch. Up until the early 20th century, wristwatches were for women only. But then in 1904, the Brazilian dandy pilot Santos Dumont asked Louis Cartier for a more convenient solution to replace his cumbersome pocket watch. Cartier designed the Santos, the world’s first ever wristwatch for men. Who knows, we may have been Amsterdam Pocket Watch Company today, without Cartier’s massive influence on fashion!
Cartier is primarily known for its classic designs. Another famous example is the Tank. Inspired by a Renault tank from the WWI era, the rectangular case resembles the footprint of those early threaded vehicles. Like the Santos, its design has hardly changed in over a century.
The recipe is clear: white dials, heat-blued hands, stark black Roman numerals and a sapphire cabochon in the crown. We try not to be too liberal with the term iconic, but it surely applies here! Countless variations in case shapes, sizes, movement types and materials have been made. From the Ronde to the Pasha and from the Baignoire to the Ceinture. A fun detail is the signature below six o’ clock. “Swiss” indicates that these are Swiss made watches. But some come with a “Paris” designation, signaling those examples were sold in Cartier’s flagship store in Paris, Place Vendôme. A particularly desirable and collectible feature.
Cartier remained a family business until 1964. Today, it is part of the Richemont group, like IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai, among many others. The classical designs remain a favorite among collectors and fashionistas alike.
If it is a timeless watch you are after, Cartier could just be perfect for you. Most of its designs are based on themes over a century old. And they have looked fresh and relevant ever since. We are confident they will remain so for a long, long time to come!
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