In case you somehow missed it, the Cartier Tank replica watches turn 100 this year. The iconic rectangular watch was designed and produced in 1917, with the first models hitting stores a little later in 1919. As you may know, the design of the watch was inspired by the horizontal section of the Renault tank during World War I. The story goes that in 1918 the prototype was offered to General John Joseph Pershing, commanding officer of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe at the time (though this prototype is yet to surface).
Throughout the decades, that original Tank has spawned many iterations, including (but not limited to) the Tank Cintrée, the Tank Anglaise, the Tank Francaise, the Tank Louis Cartier, and the Tank Allongeé. It has been made in white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, and stainless steel. There are some with enamel, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, you name it. But one thing has remained the same throughout, and that’s the familiar rectangular case shape with the Roman numeral dial. For this year’s big anniversary, Cartier has released a series of watches to celebrate including a re-vamp of the Cartier Tank Americaine, this time in stainless steel.
The Tank Americaine was first introduced in 1989 and quickly became a classic. It was inspired by the Cartier Tank Cintrée replica watches (originally designed in 1921) and its elongated curved rectangular case. It’s a slightly sportier take on that extremely slim, curved watch, with a bolder look. Up until now, the Tank Americaine has only been produced in precious metals, but now we’re finally getting the Americaine in steel, and in three sizes no less.
The three watches are pretty similar, mostly distinguished by their case sizes. The small measures 34.8mm x 19mm, the medium 41.6mm x 22.6mm, and the large 45.1mm x 26.6mm. All three feature a silvered dial with brushed center and elongated Roman numerals that wrap around the edge of the dial. The crown has the characteristic sapphire cabochon, which has become something of a calling card for Cartier’s watches.
The small model contains a quartz movement copy Cartier watches, while both the medium and large versions of the watch are powered by an automatic movement. You’ll notice that the small model only has hour and minute hands, while the other two have center seconds as well (clearly Cartier didn’t want a ticking seconds hand on the small model). There is no information yet as to exactly what movement is inside these watches, but it is not an in-house Cartier caliber.