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My Love For The Cartier Tank

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

For me personally, a Cartier Tank is the epitome of a grace, elegance and sophistication that no other wristwatch can rival.

Now this may be a controversial statement to those who favour -say- a classic Rolex or Omega, but, for me, ‘The Tank’ has been ‘best in class’ for over a century, impervious to the vicissitudes of fashion, a timeless counterpoint to trend, the definitive understatement of elegance.

As a young man growing up, my idols were a little different to those in the rest of my friendship circle. I revered the likes of Princess Diana, with her Sloane Ranger style, and Jackie Kennedy, with her Camelot chic. I have always admired powerful and authoritative women and naturally gravitate towards them. These two legendary figures were icons of style during very different periods of time, but both wore a Cartier Tank. This is how and why I fell in love with this timeless timepiece and came to learn of its illustrious heritage.

Princess Diana Wearing a Cartier Tank. Image Courtesy of British Vogue

Jackie Kennedy Wearing her Cartier Tank. Image Courtesy of InStyle

Not only did these two famous ladies adorn the Tank, but other notables did too - Clark Gable, Steve McQueen, Alain Delon, Truman Capote, Catherine Deneuve and Muhammad Ali, amongst others. Andy Warhol said ‘I don’t wear a Tank to tell the time. In fact, I never wind it. I wear a Tank because it is the watch to wear’.

Andy Warhol Wearing his Cartier Tank. Image Courtesy of Xupes

Over time, I have immersed myself in the history of Cartier, from its inception by Louis-Francois Cartier in 1847, to its patronage from the royal courts of Europe over the century-and-a-half since. There is a running joke in my family – ‘if it is good enough for the Queen, it is good enough for Ahmer Aleem’ and so my selection of a timepiece by Cartier is a match made in heaven!

Over many months I browsed the Cartier website, chopping and changing between the Santos, Ballon Bleu and the Tank. No matter what, I always ended up wanting the Tank most of all.

I wear my Cartier Tank Solo Large as my everyday watch. I usually wear a shirt and tailored trousers and the Tank completes my look. I have also worn it with Athleisure and find it works great with this aesthetic too. Many describe the Tank as a ‘dress watch’ but I have found that it goes with just about anything. I fell so madly in love with my Tank Solo that just one week after purchasing it I went out and bought the 2021 Tank ‘Must’, a revival of Cartier’s legendary Tank Must De Cartier. Since then I have also acquired a further Tank Must, this one with a leather strap.

My Large Cartier Tank Solo

My Large Cartier Tank Must

My Large Cartier Tank Must on a Leather Strap

Over the past century, Cartier have produced some beautiful variations of the Tank, from the Cartier Tank Original, Tank Louis Cartier, Tank Cintree, Tank Chinoise, Tank a Guichets, Tank Basculante, Tank Allongee, Must de Cartier Tank, Tank Americaine and Tank Anglaise.

Cartier Tank Original, 1919. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

Cartier Tank Chinoise. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

Cartier Tank a Guichets. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

Cartier Tank Cintree, 1929. Image Courtesy of time+Tide

Cartier Tank Louis, 1944. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

Cartier Tank Allongee. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

The Must de Cartier. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

The Tank Americaine, 1989. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide

Cartier Tank Anglaise. Image Courtesy of Time+Tide
I am extremely lucky and fortunate to own three beautiful Tanks and I cannot wait to add to my Cartier collection. I would love my next piece to be a vintage Cartier, either The Crash, a Cintree or a Tank Louis Cartier.

The Highly Coveted Cartier Crash. Image Courtesy of Sotheby's

Listed here are some of the most amazing Instagram accounts, curated by Cartier purists who, like me, adore the Cartier Tank. I highly recommend following these accounts not only for their beautiful watch-imagery, but also for fascinating backstories -

- cartier.watchclub
- george.cramer
- goldberger
- roni_m_29

Here are some classic books on the history of Cartier and its storied design heritage -

- The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewellery Empire, by Francesca Cartier Brickell
- Cartier in the 20th Century, by Margaret Young-Sanchez
- Cartier: 1899-1949, The Journey of A Style, by Nuno Vassallo e Silva
- The Cartier Collection: Jewellery, by Francois Chaille

- Ahmer x
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