The New Cartier Tank Louis Cartier — A Truly Iconic Wristwatch At Its Purest And Best
There is no question that Cartier is hot property at the moment. In the last two years especially, things have gotten rather crazy. And rightfully so! If you look at the sheer number of great Cartier releases, you can see why there are many fans of the brand. In all honesty, though, I wasn’t one until this year. Don’t get me wrong. I have great respect for Cartier, and I love what the brand stands for. But up until recently, my respect never turned into a great love for one of the brand’s timepieces, no matter how much I wanted it to. But during Watches And Wonders 2022, that changed. The new Cartier Tank Louis Cartier in yellow gold and black represents all I love about Cartier captured in one watch. Let me explain exactly what I mean.
In order to explain my relationship with the Cartier, we have to go back to the early 2000s. That’s when I first started getting seriously into watches. But when you are first confronted with the abundance of brands and models, it’s like looking at a shop window and having to find your favorite watch out of a hundred that are on display. While the name Cartier definitely had an aura of luxury and the designs were immediately recognizable, at the end of the day, their style wasn’t for me. That happens with brands sometimes. The typical Cartier design signature was always too classical for me. For the longest time, it felt too steeped in history and removed from the contemporary design signature that I preferred.
As you grow older…
While that might have led to a less prominent interest in the brand, my underlying appreciation for Cartier and its creations never disappeared. Part of that was due to the love for the brand that the others around me always had. It ensured that Cartier was never too far from the top of my mind. Additionally, I started working at a design firm, and that’s where the rationalization of design is a daily practice. Over the years, I have wondered what people love about the Santos, the Tank, and the Pasha. Was I ever going to find that one Cartier that I love? Or was the overall design signature just not for me? As time went on, my appreciation for Cartier timepieces grew, but that one watch that would light the fire never seemed to appear.
The Cartier Tank Must
Over time, I came to peace with the idea that Cartier would simply be a brand I greatly respected for its place in the world of luxury watches. I accepted the “fact” that I’d likely never find the spark that would turn that respect into a love for the brand. This brings us to about twelve months ago when Cartier presented its new releases for Watches And Wonders 2021. The releases that immediately stood out were the trio of colorful Tank Must watches. The monochromatic timepieces were not just great to see, but the presentation was also spot-on. They were artsy, colorful, and stylish — an ’80s statement done right!
The visual impact of these three watches was grand. As the year progressed, I discussed the Tank Must in its many forms, but the immediate image that popped into my head was that of the three colorful watches. Additionally, with Nacho and Daan as new Fratello team members that both own a Cartier, it was easy to see why they love the brand and its timepieces so much. They look great on the wrist and really fit their style perfectly. Thus, my appreciation for Cartier grew bigger and bigger. But both Nacho’s Tank and Daan’s Santos still didn’t quite match my personal style. The colorful Tank Must models were probably the closest thing to a Cartier that I could ever want. At least that is what I thought…
The Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
This year, however, Cartier presented something even better, a superlative that turned out to be the final piece of the puzzle. You see, I had two main personal “issues” with the trio of blue, green, and maroon Tank Must models. First off, they were executed in steel. Call me conservative or a purist, but nothing beats a Cartier Tank in gold. Nothing but precious metals for watch royalty, in my book! Secondly, the watches are powered by quartz movements. While I have nothing against quartz watches per se, if I had a choice, I would definitely prefer a mechanical movement to go with that beautiful gold watch.
Cartier took it one step beyond that this year with the introduction of the new Cartier Tank Louis Cartier. The brand not only presented the watch in precious metal, equipping it with a hand-wound movement, but Cartier also executed it in the striking combination of 18K yellow gold and black. That happens to be a combination that I find irresistible for any watch. It’s the same combination that made the Yacht-Master the only noteworthy new Rolex release of this year for me. I say ‘new’ by the way, but the watch was released as a 50-piece limited edition at the Geneva boutique last year. That flew under the radar for me so seeing this Tank Louis Cartier in a combination of black and gold being released at Watches & Wonders, I finally clicked with a Cartier like never before.
The style of the Tank Louis Cartier
The watch was released together with the also-stunning rectangular “mosaic” dials in gray and Bordeaux. But it’s the minimalist black-and-gold Tank Louis Cartier that I feel represents Cartier in its purest form. The first reason is the fact that the minimalist approach puts the ultimate focus on the brilliant shape of the case. Cartier equipped the watch with its “Large” case that still measures a modest 25.5mm × 33.7mm. At 6.6mm thick, it is a very easy-to-wear watch that nevertheless has plenty of wrist presence. I love seeing that iconic case executed in gold, as it perfectly accentuates the graceful design of the Tank.
It has always amazed me that Cartier was able to take the design of an actual tank — more specifically, the Renault FT — and not only make it into an iconic design but also turn it into a beautifully shaped and graceful watch case. It’s sheer brilliance. Cartier’s design works magic, with the central case and dial taking the form of the body of the tank. The characteristic elongated brancards resemble the tank tracks, which often look so menacing in real life. While it was never hard to recognize the brilliance of Louis Cartier’s design, this specific execution takes it to the next level. It really allows the Tank’s case design to take center stage.
The black lacquered dial as the canvas
The reason the 18K yellow gold case can take center stage is the combination of the black lacquer dial and black alligator strap. Usually, the case itself serves as the canvas so that the rest of the watch can take center stage. But here, it is the other way around. The black dial and matching leather strap ensure that what you see first and foremost is the case shape itself. After all, it’s the case that makes the Tank such a unique watch in the first place. The black lacquered dial is also the perfect canvas for the gilt hands and the printed gold Cartier logo. Additionally, the iconic crown design also stands out even more than it usually does. Still, the overall design feels incredibly balanced.
While the style of the Tank Louis Cartier is without a doubt its main attraction, it definitely helps that Cartier equipped the watch with a mechanical movement. Inside the case, you will find the hand-wound caliber 1917 MC. It’s a movement that we know from other Tank models and its reference number is an homage to the birth year of the Tank. The 12.9 × 16.4mm tonneau-shaped movement is only 3mm thick and provides 38 hours of power reserve.
Final thoughts about the Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
The minimalism in design and the combination of colors and materials make this watch a Cartier Tank in its purest form. And its this purity in design that makes this Tank Louis Cartier an absolutely stunning timepiece overall. It embodies the essence of a brilliant case design that was first created over a century ago. On top of that, it shows that a Cartier watch looks the best executed in yellow gold. Combine it with a black dial and a black alligator strap, and the pieces of the puzzle fall perfectly into place.
I’m sure there are probably a lot of you who feel a Cartier Tank needs a regular white dial with black Roman numerals. And I greatly appreciate that. Perhaps even more than before, I’ve found an appreciation for all of the brand’s other timepieces and a desire to finally dive into Cartier’s detailed history. That’s the power of finding that one spark to ignite the fire. After seeing the impressive string of new releases for 2022, Cartier has shown that all the buzz surrounding it is more than justified. This year’s new releases told a story of creativity and history resulting in an impressive lineup. And it might have taken years to finally find that magical spark, but it took only one of Cartier’s new releases to finally win me over. I just hope this love story continues soon with some actual wrist time!
The new 18K yellow gold and black Cartier Tank Louis Cartier will be available for €10,940. As always, let us know your thoughts on this model in the comments. And for more information on Cartier, check out the brand’s website here.