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Andy Warhol once said, “I don’t wear a Tank watch to tell the time. Actually I never even wind it. I wear a Tank because it is the watch to wear!”
We know Warhol might have meant his remark in jest. (After all, he was known for owning multiple watches, including this gorgeous Rolex Reference 4021 that sold at auction a few years ago). But it certainly explains why the Cartier Tank has been so popular for the past century.
Its existence—and the fact that it has become such an iconic piece of wristwear—is an interesting juxtaposition in and of itself. When Louis Cartier was visiting the battlefields of France during the Great War, he glimpsed a new weapon, first used in that war: a Renault FT-17 tank. The treads of the tank inspired him to design a watch, as unique as the Renault tank itself, with lugs that were integrated into the case rather than soldered on.
Legend has it that the first six pieces were presented to General Pershing and his staff, but demand for this chic creation of Cartier’s soon swelled. The initial run increased to 33 by the end of the 1910s. And now, one hundred years later, thousands of them have been sold.
Everyone from Warhol to Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis has worn a Tank—and Louis Cartier himself, who wore the Tank that bears his name.
The Tank Louis was released in 1922, the third Tank that Cartier ever created after the Tank Ordinaire and the Tank Cintrée. The model saw many variations throughout its life, in varying sizes and in various materials. And starting in the 1970s, Cartier started incorporation different movements—including an ETA automatic movement like in the watch seen here.
Though an automatic movement can make a watch’s case thicker and bulkier, this Tank Louis doesn’t suffer from that malady. It’s as thin and refined as ever (though larger than the classic Tank, measuring 25.5 by 34mm). The only hint that an automatic movement beats inside is found in the raised case back, a quirky design feature that (we feel) doesn't detract at all from the look and feel of the piece.
With its frank Art Deco appearance, handsomely-aged rectangular dial, crisp Roman numerals, and blued steel sword hands, the Tank Louis is the quintessence of the Tank. The added convenience of an automatic movement only adds to this Tank's charm. Accompanied with a box, it's a beautiful piece that is sure to be a treasured companion for years to come.
18k Yellow gold case is approximately 25.5 x 34.mm. Self-winding ETA movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with signs of moderate use and wear throughout. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age, including faint spidering. Sapphire crown.
Includes one 19mm dark brown leather strap with gold buckle.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options