Within the world of horology, there are pieces that are so iconic, they become a part of the very fibre of the industry. The Cartier Tank collection is one such example and has been in watch collections since the design of the first Tank in 1917. It is said that the collection takes its design inspiration from a WW1 tank, with the brancards evoking the treads of the tank, and the case representing the cockpit of the vehicle. Whatever the story may be, there is one narrative that hasn’t changed, and that is how well-loved the Tank is by men and women of all generations. This is the power of the Tank.
Since its first launch, there have been many variations within the Tank family, all aligned in their spirit, and with some similar detailing like the often-used seamless transition from case frame to the lugs, and the Roman numerals, combined with an assortment of differing details. From curved cases to the use of semi-precious metals in the design, the Tank is arguably one of the most reinvented models ever made. For this season, we see one of the Tank ranges retiring and a new range taking its place. The Tank Must was first created in the 70s, inspired by the Tank Louis Cartier from 1922, and were made from Vermeil giving the timepiece a much more accessible price point, allowing the brand to create several variations in different sizes, dial colours, and finishes.
As production changed hands at Cartier, the Must de Cartier was slowly wound down until they stopped creating them in favour of other collections. Until now. For 2021, Cartier has reintroduced the Must, and once again there are many variations to choose from.
The main features of the Tank Must are the smaller and thinner case dimension sizes, with the small model coming in at just 23.5x22mm. The strap is interchangeable, with the option of a metal bracelet and instead of the deployant buckle you see with the likes of the Tank Solo, the Must has an elegant ardillon buckle.
The new Tank Must collection will be made up of steel and paved steel creations and include some exciting colourways. The steel range includes pieces in small, large and extra large case sizes, and you will have the option of an interchangeable steel bracelet or black grained calf leather straps. These models feature the staple steel beaded crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon, a Cartier cornerstone of design.
The pave pieces are similar in their design and have a steel case set with beautiful brilliant-cut diamonds for the perfect luxury upgrade. Finally there are three beautiful monochromatic pieces in burgundy, green and blue as well as two limited edition Tank Louis Cartier with a choice of either blue or red accents against a chromatic backdrop on the dial, further enhancing the purity of the watch lines. Roman numerals and gold coloured “rail tracks” add that extra finesse as well as enhancing the dial’s graphic identity. These colourful pieces have a vintage charm to them, and Cartier has achieved their ambition of reviving a retro piece in a modern and contemporary way.
One final chapter to this new Tank Must story is the inclusion of a new photovoltaic movement in which the battery of the watch recharges when exposed to daylight and artificial light. The Roman numerals act as light captors, with the photovoltaic cell giving them their black colour and are placed under the perforated dial. Just 10 minutes per day in either natural or artificial light will ensure your new Tank Must is charged up, and the watch will automatically set itself into standby mode after 1 month in the dark to preserve the battery. The two pieces that feature this exciting development come in a steel case with a non-leather strap made from apple wastage, further minimising the brands’ carbon footprint, and will be available in September 2021.
Discover more about the Tank Must collection by Cartier at Watches of Switzerland UK, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths in the UK and Watches of Switzerland and Mayors in the US.