How does a watch designed to resemble a World War One tank become a style icon? That’s the genius of Cartier. The Tank was designed in 1916 and its square dial and extended lugs (called “brancards”) evoke the trackwheels of the military tanks that won the war. The “railroad tracks” that ring the dial are as signature as the steeled blue hands and sapphire cabochon crown. Handsome roman numerals are a standard of the design, although later versions omit numerals altogether.
The prototype was presented to General Pershing and the watches were produced for sale in 1919. The most iconic variations are this Tank Francaise, with squared lug ends, and the long rectangular Tank Americaine.
Celebrities from Rudolph Valentino, to Jackie O, Lady Di, Andy Warhol and Sofia Coppola have prized their Tanks for the classic simplicity that makes it work with any outfit – Valentino even wore it with a keffiyeh! Fashionistas are known to switch to colorful straps with the change of seasons.
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