The Cartier Tank was created by Louis Cartier in 1917, inspired by the Renault tanks which Cartier referenced from the Western Front. The prototype was officially presented by Cartier to General John Pershing. The lines and design of the watch are very similar to those of tanks, it is crafted with both a square and a rectangle, and the straps are hidden under vertical sidepieces. The watch was released into production in 1919, and is really a historical mark in the world of watch making, as this was the first watch, that was designed as a wristwatch, created with comfort and excellence. The Cartier Tank was an inspiration to watch making and the future of all designs. Previous watches were simply the pocket watch with a strap attached to try and create a wrist watch, but not until the Cartier Tank was there such a masterpiece of creation.
The Cartier Tank has blue, sword shaped hands and silver opaline guilloche dials. The winding crowns, like on many Cartier time pieces, have sapphire cabochons on them. There are many in this collection that are embellished with diamonds, and the metal bracelets are marked with indentations that resemble the distinctive tracks of a real tank. The exquisite design details, the elegance that was created by so much detail and the precision of a time piece that reflects Cartier. There are over thirty variations of the Cartier Tank in the collection and created in both quartz and automatic versions. While the original designs were very unique, worn by so many famous people: Warren Beatty, Jackie Kennedy, Cary Grant, Harry Truman; the current designs have changed with the evolution of the watch and the times. First Lady Michelle Obama was wearing a Cartier Tank in her official White House portrait.
The Cartier Tank is made in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed from gold, platinum and steel. There are many women sporting the watch today, while men do not seem to be as aware of the legendary icon. Perhaps time is coming for men to start a revolution with the Cartier Tank, and showcase the ultra-modern design, the perfectly square face that is historical, a creation of time keeping that has set the stage for the future. The Cartier Tank is timeless, and as the foundation for Cartier, the fashion of this design provided the future for watch making and laid a path for competitors and Cartier that never goes out of style.