Andy Warhol famously said, “I don’t wear a Tank to tell the time. In fact, I never wind it. I wear a Tank because it’s the watch to wear”. That pretty much sums up everything that you need to know about the Cartier Tank. It is the definition of cool and has been since it debuted in 1917. Over its illustrious history, it has graced the wrists of such style icons as Clark Gable, Fred Astair, Duke Ellington, Jackie Kennedy, and Princess Diana. Calling this watch chic is an understatement.
The Cartier Tank was the brainchild of Louis Cartier, who was the grandson of the original founder. The story goes that he was inspired by the treads on a Renault FT-17 light tank and used it for the basis of his design. He then gifted the first watch to American general John Pershing. Over the next 100 years, Cartier would use the Tank architecture as the foundation for many variations. From the Cintree to the Chinoise and the Basculante, each variation has added to the legacy and iconic nature of the Tank line.
Even with the iconic status of the Tank, Cartier was not immune to the economic hardships of the quartz crisis. Cartier’s response was to launch the ‘Les Must de Cartier’ line of Tank watches (and later jewelry). These watches would feature argent, also known as sterling silver, cases plated in gold with either a basic quartz or mechanical wind movement. They also redesigned the dial to better fit the style of the era by offering black, red, blue enamel dials swept clean of any numerals. At an original retail price of $150 the Must de Cartier Tank was a massive success for the brand at the time and is still coveted today for those looking for the classic tank aesthetic at a lower price point.
This particular watch was purchased on Dial + Bezel (Lot 173) by the seller. He enjoyed the watch but decided that he wanted the same watch with roman numerals, which he has now procured and is looking to sell this great piece.
While the Must de Cartier Tank departed from the classic Tank formula in many places the case was not one of those such places. The classic case on this watch is in very good condition having recently received a light polish to remove some tarnishing. Light scratches remain throughout that were left during polishing to preserve the gold plating and no sterling silver is showing through the gold plating. Additionally, the watch wears the signature Cartier sapphire crown, which completes the classic Tank look.
The Dial and Hands
The cream white enamel dial is in excellent condition with no defects or scratches to note. The Must de Cartier and double C printing is crisp and clear. The blued sword hands accent the dial very nicely and are also in excellent condition.
The manually wound Cartier caliber 78/1 is a signed ETA 2512 movement. The watch is running and keeping good time but the service history of the movement is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Model||Must de Tank|
|Movement||Manual, caliber 78/1|
|Case Material||Gold plated sterling silver|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|