Fashion
Alexa Timepieces

Cartier rolls out new versions of its iconic Tank watches for 2021

Like a Burberry trench, a Chanel suit or a Saint Laurent tux, a Cartier Tank watch is one of those iconic investment pieces that never goes out of style. But the legendary maison knows that even classics must evolve with the times. 

Last month, the house introduced a slew of new Tank Musts — some enhanced with next-level technology and eco-correct straps — as well as a pair of colorful Tank Louis Cartier watches. 

The original Les Must de Cartier Tanks were launched in 1977 as affordable alternatives to Cartier’s precious models. With their gold-plated sterling silver vermeil cases, minimalist colored dials and hand-winding (and later quartz) movements, the modern designs were a sensation. Many fans bought two or three in different hues.

Cartier Tank Must watch in steel, $3,150 at London Jewelers
Cartier Tank Must watch in steel, $3,150 at London Jewelers
Courtesy of Cartier

The sleek new quartz-powered Tank Musts are just as collectible. The model is available in three monochromatic jewel tones — navy, burgundy or dark-green lacquered dials — with stainless-steel cases, alligator leather straps and synthetic sapphire cabochon crowns. 

For those who prefer their Tank Musts with archetypal black-and-white dials, there are plenty of updated versions with steel cases to choose from. Some come in multiple sizes and with interchangeable straps, while others have parallel brancards lined with diamonds. 

Cartier Tank Must watch in steel, $2,860
Cartier Tank Must watch in steel, $2,860
Courtesy of Cartier

The all-metal variations with silvered faces, meanwhile, feature a revamped steel bracelet with curved links that can be swapped out with the house’s QuickSwitch system.

Perhaps most impressive is a quartet of Tank Musts housing a marvel of engineering: the SolarBeat movement. The Roman numerals on the dial are invisibly perforated, allowing solar energy to reach the photovoltaic cells inside. It took the development team two years to integrate the mechanism, which has an average lifespan of 16 years. 

Tank Louis Cartier watch in 18-k yellow gold, $13,800
Tank Louis Cartier watch in 18-k yellow gold, $13,800
Courtesy of Cartier

These novel watches fasten with non-leather straps (in black, soft blue or green) made with 40 percent plant matter from European apple waste. The bracelet manufacturing process is said to markedly reduce the carbon footprint, as compared to the production of a calfskin strap, while also saving water and energy.

Finally, a new Tank Louis Cartier duo makes a bold statement in blue with rose gold or red with yellow gold. Both feature a Manufacture 1917 MC Movement, Roman numerals and gold-colored “rail tracks” for a graphic touch.

These are just a few of the ways in which Cartier elevates its icons.