When one speaks of the most iconic watches ever designed, the Cartier Tank is undeniably top of mind. Created in 1917 but Louis Cartier himself, the Art Déco design was not something that had been seen at the time (especially considering most men were still using pocket watches during that time).
Over a century since its birth, the Cartier Tank has, for the most part, stayed true to its original design and aesthetic, with only a few subtle tweaks introduced since 1917. One of the more popular versions of the Tank included the Cartier Tank Française, unveiled in Geneva in 1996. The Tank Française was the first of its kind to feature an integrated bracelet – and thus a metal bracelet in perfect harmony with the watch case – and one that strayed the most away from the original Tank design. This angular-led timepiece had all the hallmarks of the classic Tank design, but featured a rectangular case with a shorter aspect ratio, giving it more of a squarish look. It was also the favoured timepiece by such affluent figures as Princess Diana, Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama.
But really, in 20 years, the Cartier Tank has remained largely untouched. So, what better time to revamp one of its most successful Tank lines…
Introducing the new Tank Française – a “worthy heir to the timeless tank watch and French style.”
This revamped lineup includes a total of seven new references: small and medium sizes in gold (with or without diamonds), and small, medium, and large cases in steel. While the small and medium references use a quartz movement – a standard for the Tank line – the large steel case utilises an automatic movement featuring a date window at three o’clock.
“The new Tank Française reflects a creative conviction. Like rediscovering the raw nature of a cut stone, it was about capturing the watch’s radical shape, simplifying its essential lines and stripping them of all embellishment to return to the myth’s origin,” says Marie-Laure Céréde, Cartier Jewellery and Watchmaking Creative Director.
In meeting with the commands of today’s watch consumer – less is more, sporty is chic – the new Française is sportier in its approach, both aesthetically and ergonomically. Not having seen the new lineup as of yet, it does perhaps present a bit more predominant on the wrist, and some consumers will absolutely love that. While undoubtedly, there will be some that prefer the Française of old.
In celebrating the new Française unveilings, Cartier worked with legendary film director Guy Ritchie to create an ode to the avant-garde spirit of the Tank Française and its connection to Paris. Starring brand ambassadors Rami Malek and Catherine Deneuve, the short film is a tribute to cinema and to the idea of creative freedom upheld by Cartier.
The new Cartier Tank Française collection is now available online and in-store, starting from $5,250.