The name Cartier requires no introduction. As one of the most influential and celebrated jewelry and watch brands of the last 100 years, it has always stood as a mark of luxury and desirability. Without taking away from its historical significance, I would say that when it comes to watches, Cartier has always been predominantly known as a ‘design’ brand rather than a pure watchmaking one, with stunningly iconic models such as the Tank, the Crash, and the Santos all seen as important due to how it looks. In fact, to this day, it is the beautiful and unconventional designs that attract collectors and it is a unique position in the watch brand hierarchy that no other brand possesses.
Amongst the most famous watches lies a handful of timepieces that have stood the test of time for over an entire century. Released in 1917 and inspired by the tanks Louis Cartier saw on the western front in WWI, the Cartier Tank is a classic timepiece that has become one of the famed French jewelry Maison's most important collections. Over its long and storied past, it has taken on many different shapes, styles, sizes, colors, and so much more. Offered here today is a variation of the original – the Cartier Tank Louis with a black lacquered dial and an 18-carat yellow gold case.
As far as case design goes, the Tank Louis pretty much speaks for itself - smooth, elegant, and restrained in construction. The case of this Tank Louis Cartier measures 25.5mm x 33.7mm and it is entirely constructed out of lustrous 18-carat yellow gold and completed with a characteristic cabochon-set winding crown. Powering the Tank Louis from within is Cartier’s in-house, manual-winding Cal. 1917 MC. An ultra-thin movement that derives its namesake from the birth year of the Tank (1917), and boasts a respectable 38-hour power reserve.
What I really like about this particular Tank Louis is the use of a black lacquered dial. There is something to be said about this specific color and material combination of black lacquer and yellow gold. In other words, there is a sense of purity and balance which has been very eloquently expressed here by Cartier. Apart from that, there is not much else that needs to be said here, except for the fact that I think the black lacquered dial here is the perfect canvas to host the beautiful gilt hands and gold Cartier logo. It goes on to show that a timeless watch does not necessarily require much in terms of design elements.
Cartier isn’t exactly a brand that is historically known for high-end technical watchmaking, but the Maison represents something so much more than that. There is a certain sense of transcendence in their designs that speak to multiple generations of watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs. For me, that transcendence is represented in the form of a Cartier Tank, especially the Tank Louis. It holds a special place in my heart and is a big reason why I love Cartier. The Cartier Tank Louis is simply a watch that never goes out of style. It is discreet in design but yet always manages to catch the attention of the room in whatever situation. In other words, I am of the opinion that the Tank Louis is very much the go-to Tank, for sure.