When Cartier launched during the Watches and Wonders 2021 the new Tank Louis Cartier it was instant love. Your horological heart must be of stone not to be impressed by an Art Deco Tank (this must be a pleonasm since Art Deco and Cartier Tank are “hand in hand” defining each other). Cartier released just two pieces covering two very wide territories: a pink gold version with blue accents Ref. CRWGTA0058 and a yellow gold version with red accents Ref. CRWGTA0059.
How many watch collections out there span over decades? Even less reached the 100 years mark. The Cartier Tank is not just known, it is legendary. Ali loved it, Andy loved it… the list is incomprehensible long. Prominent figures from almost all domains had one. Since 1917, Cartier Tank writes history. While Tank Louis Cartier will reach its centenary next year (CTL was launched in 1922), managed to be one of the most loved watches of modern history. This year, the Maison launched two new pieces that evoke the Art Deco style, as powerful as in its initial launch years.
A shape that aroused passions
In a world dominated by round watches, Cartier Tank made waves. The rectangular body with straight lugs remained practically unchanged from launch until now. It is one of the most recognisable watches of all times.
Cased in pink and yellow gold, the case measures 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm – an unusually small size for our days but natural for those familiar with the watch. The rounded edges present a high polish. While this design is prone to show its age and wear, the scars that are gained in time reveals the love of its owner for his wrist companion.
The lovely Cartier crown with pointy blue cabochon is another mythical element that surrounds the beginnings of the last century. Even if the overall dimensions are minuscule in comparison with today’s standard, some might find the crown a bit uncomfortable in certain wrist positions. I paid considerable attention to this detail when I wristed the watches but I was not disappointed. I did not find it a real issue.
The Cartier “C”-logo shaped pin buckle fits nicely these traditional pieces. Manufactured in case material, the pin buckle will give away instantly the brand to the trained eye (just like other specific big names that use a very personalised buckle design). Cartier decided to colour coordinate this selection of Tank Louis Cartier watches: blue strap for the pink gold version and red alligator strap for the yellow gold variation.
Art Deco – not just a pretender
The storied Tank Louis Cartier was decorated with a rich dial. The blue (or red) accents split the dial into four zones. The base features a sunrayed brushed finish with a fine granularity. The colour shades are absolutely magnificent: a light grey for the blue dial and a yellow/champaign for the red dial.
Both pieces use coloured lacquer to delimitate the registers. The outer chapter “ring” features a golden printing with the minute railtrack. The hour markings are printed directly on the inner rectangular shape using the same golden ink. As is expected, we find Roman numerals used as hour markers, but only for 12, 3 and 9 o’clock.
The inner dial holds the Cartier printed on the top side and the gold sword minutes and hours hands. The dial offers an incredible spectacle, almost hypnotic. I have to admit that I enjoyed reading time more than I expected. I mean that I like the dial design since the first press release pictures, but I was not expecting to be so drawn by it.
The execution of the dials reminds me a lot of older designs and vintage pieces. By definition, the Cartier Tank Louis Cartier is an instant classic, but the new releases are perfect examples of the brand’s magnificent heritage. If I was unaware of the pieces as new releases and seen them just by chance, I would consider them some vintage pieces, at least 4 decades old. I am amazed how nice Cartier captured its spirit and told us the Louis Cartier story in these interpretations.
In-house slim and versatile 1917 MC
Cartier‘s 2021 novelties Tank Louis Cartier are powered by a small in-house movement, the Cartier Calibre 1917 MC. This calibre was launched in 2019 with the ladies watches in focus. In between, the 2.9mm thickness calibre found a way into the Cartier Tank Asymétrique, Cartier Privé Tonneau and in another venerable piece, the super cute Cloche de Cartier.
Due to the small dimensions, the relatively slow beater (in comparison with the contemporary 4Hz) 21’600 vibrations/hour – 3Hz, offers a power reserve of 38 hours. These specs are more appropriate to a ’70s techs specs list but contribute to the charm of the watch. And let’s be honest, winding the watch every day is a pleasant activity.
The closed caseback does not reveal the movement and I cannot express any impressions about its look. But having in memory the other Cartier calibres, I am expecting to have a decent decoration. Cartier will not go cheap just because the movement is hidden.
Can I take both?
I cannot simply decide between two fantastic and good looking pieces. It is the legendary Tank Louis Cartier in two very smart selected colour options (material and dial). While I am a sucker for blue, the red one has that certain something (the “je ne sais quoi” factor) that makes it very interesting. I see both of them proper for a multitude of situations. If you don’t have yet a rectangular watch gold watch, this might be the best solution. You don’t have a blue dial classic piece in your collection, this is your chance. And likewise, don’t you have a red dial piece already? – What else, if not a classic Tank?
The pin buckle in the known Cartier shaped style is itself a nice detail. The straps can be also fitted with the deployant type clasp for those wanting a sportier approach. I love it as it is since it brings, at least for me, a more traditional, conservative (proper look) besides the most comfortable wear.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier Technical Specifications and Price
- pink gold version with blue accents Ref. CRWGTA0058
- yellow gold version with red accents Ref. CRWGTA0059
- Hours, minutes
- Calibre 1917 MC
- Encasing diameter: 7 lines 1/4 x 5 lines 3/4
- Total dimensions: 16 x 12.95 mm
- Thickness: 2.9 mm
- Number of jewels: 19
- Frequency: 21’600 vibrations/hour
- Power reserve: 38 hours
- Dimensions: 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm
- Height: 6.60 mm
- Material: yellow or pink gold
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Alligator leather strap
- CHF13.200 / €13.300 / £11,600 / US$13,100 / S$18,800