In what has been a crazy time, there is something I think we can all agree on: the watch industry has surprised us with some unexpected releases. Cartier has occupied itself with reintroducing Must de Cartier. However, if you were expecting the old gold-plated design you might be disappointed. If you’d been hoping the Must would get a modern update, however, I imagine you’ll be thrilled. The new Cartier Tank Must has many faces and the basic model stands far away from the vintage model. This is something really new in a very familiar package. It seems, at first glance, to be the perfect combo. But is it?

Cartier Tank Must CRWSTA0041

Cartier’s most iconic line

Given that the Cartier Tank line is the brand’s most iconic, it’s inevitable that the French brand will slowly reintroduce its heritage models. I’m struck by how many beautiful creations Cartier has designed through the years. Different variations such as Cintrée, Solo, Asymétrique, Américaine, Louis Cartier, MC and, finally, Française are forming the current collection. Each year among Cartier’s enthusiasts, there were discussions about ways Cartier could potentially update the Must again. This brings us to the conclusion that releasing the new Must was only a matter of time. However, its premiere involved an intriguing discussion around its origin.

…there were discussions about ways Cartier could potentially update the Must again.

By launching a gold-plated, affordable Must de Cartier in 1977, Cartier aimed to win the American market’s heart. Soon after the premiere, the mission was accomplished. The vintage Must respected every detail the Tank carried — the rectangular minuterié and the Roman numerals most notably — differing only in case material. The solid silver case plated with gold and the shape of the edges made it stand out. As the vintage Must was intended to be the affordable Tank, the discussion around the new release is intense. Should Cartier reintroduce its heritage model or shouldn’t it?

Cartier Tank Must CRWSTA0041 on wrist

Re-interpreting the Tank Must

If one of the narratives that influence the conversation is the controversial story behind the watch, then let’s have a closer look at the design of the new release. In fact, there are more differences than similarities. Of course, Must de Cartier has seen several dial variations throughout its journey however in this case I will focus on the very first model from 1977. The case indeed resembles the vintage Must. The two vertical side-bars with much rounder edges stay true to the original. The same goes for the dial. The minuterié, Roman numerals, and, of course, the signature Cartier sword hands embellish the latest concept. Also, the quartz movement is something that both models have in common.

Cartier Tank Must CRWSTA0041

Nonetheless, it features more notable changes than similarities. Firstly, the gold-plated case was benched in favor of the stainless steel case measuring 33.7×25.5×6.60mm. Next, the ivory-colored dial and Must de Cartier emblem fall into oblivion. Consequently, I feel it’s a new variation of a Tank Solo rather than a homage to Must de Cartier. But perhaps, it is a deliberate action to merge both heritage models in one new package.

Cartier Tank Must CRWSTA0041

Set your sight on the new Must

If you’re on the hunt for a Tank, you are probably wondering which one to choose. Different iterations can attract our attention for a number of different reasons. In the first place, you should have a look at the cases. Some of them are slightly longer with rounded brancards. Others feature significantly elongated and curved cases. For those of you that prefer a more decisive silhouette, some are more squarish with sharper edges. Then, of course, set your sights on the desired movement and bracelet/strap combo. Speaking of sizes, all models have a perfect size, that’s for sure. For the small-to-large wrist, they might become the perfect everyday wear.

A more contemporary appearance mixed with signature Cartier’s elements.

Cartier timepieces are luxury goods, so they are and will be expensive. To put it in perspective, the retail prices of the new Cartier Tank Must start at €2,640. The version we had in for a review has the very same dial, calf leather strap, and quartz movement as the Tank Solo. For obvious reasons, watch enthusiasts are wondering whether or not the new Cartier Tank Must still represents a new level of affordability for the brand.

The truth is, not at all. This modern timepiece doesn’t have much to do with its vintage sister after all. A more contemporary appearance mixed with signature Cartier’s elements makes this watch more luxurious than affordable. Also, the wearing (and buying) experience is different, more high-end, substantial, and so-Cartier-ish. Thus as it is extremely tough to get the steel Tank Solo, I believe the new Tank Must is worth considering.

Cartier Tank Must CRWSTA0041

The new watch, the new perception

Forget about the past by just focusing on the future. The Cartier Tank Must ref. CRWSTA0041 will be available in boutiques across the world at the end of June. So if you prefer the Tank Must design over that of any other Tans, you should get it. You could, however, wait until September to put your hands on its mind-blowing variation with the SolarBeat movement and a vegan leather strap. Cartier’s sustainable approach to the concept of luxury should be a key theme of the ongoing discussion around the new releases.

To be more specific, its transformation from being perceived as the affordable Tank to being seen as the Tank of the future. This model could herald the end of the Tank Solo as we know it if Cartier is subtly looking to move that line in a different direction also. And the transformation of consumers’ behavior from demanding an affordable version of an icon to spending more on a luxury product if it comes from a sustainable and socially conscious luxury brand. Those are the most significant narrative threads woven into this release. But what do you make of it? Let us know in the comments below.