|Year of production (circa)
18k Yellow gold
23 x 31mm
Cartier service papers 2022
Cartier Tank Louis Ref. 8110
Most of the times that we talk about Cartier, we try to quote King Edward VII of Great Britain, as he referred to Cartier as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers”.
We love to tell stories about Cartier as it is a brand with many great stories and a lot of heritage. Cartier has a kind of romantic feel about the brand that we can completely understand. Creators of the Santos, which is widely considered to be the first purpose-built wristwatch and certainly, the first pilot’s watch!
But today we are talking about the Cartier Santos, we are talking about the Cartier Tank, the most popular and iconic watch in their catalog.
Louis Cartier, the founder of the brand, invented the Cartier Tank in 1917. The shape and the name of the Cartier Tank are actually inspired by the top-down view of a Renault FT-17, which is a French army tank that was used during the first World War.
This specific Cartier Tank dates back to the year 2000 and is executed in a 23.5mm 18k yellow case and even features very rare beads of rice bracelet. This watch has a convenient quartz movement, date complication, and of course the iconic black roman numerals combined with the blue hands.
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The Cartier Tank was designed by Louis Cartier in 1917. Its design was inspired by the brand new, awe-inspiring Renault FT-17 tank, used in WWI. We may consider the Tank to be a classical shape today, but back in 1917, it was a design revolution, much like the Renault that inspired it. The very first public example was given to General John Pershing in 1918.
The iconic design looks simple and elegant, but is deceptively complex at the same time. The nearly square case is flanked by two brancards, giving the watch its slender, rectangular appearance. A form that is clearly taken from the Renault tank with its tracks. A white dial, black Roman numerals, heat-blued hands, rail-road track and sapphire cabochon crown complete the typical Tank design.
Countless variations on the theme exist though. 1921 Saw the introduction of the elongated Cintrée models. In the 1970’s, in response to the Quartz crisis, Cartier launched the Must de Cartier line. These Tanks were powered by more affordable quartz or mechanical ETA calibers and the cases were plated silver, rather than 18k gold. The Tank Americaine was launched in the late 1980’s. The elongated and curved shape was reminiscent of the Cintrée, but a little less delicate in form. The more angular, modern Tank Francaise was added to the collection in 1995. More niche variants such as the Tank Chinoise and the odd “digital” Tank a Guichet are available for those with a taste for something different.
The Cartier Tank has always been a celebrity favorite. Iconic figures such as Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Kennedy wore Tanks. Jackie Kennedy’s specific watch was later acquired by Kim Kardashian for a whopping $395.000,- at auction. Today, you might spot a Tank Francaise on the Dutch Queen Maxima’s wrist.
The Cartier Tank is surely one of the most iconic watch designs out there. You can easily put it side-by-side with the Rolex Submariner and AP Royal Oak as one of those genre-defining designs. It is tempting to throw the term iconic around in the watch world, but it is justified here beyond a shadow of a doubt.
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