100 years old and still a knock­out

Noth­ing says power—and pedi­gree— like the Cartier Tank.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Watches -


of the Cartier Tank as the Muham­mad A li of watches. De­signed 100 years ago by the French jew­eller Louis Cartier, it was as rev­o­lu­tion­ary as Ali was—an un­beat­able meld­ing of elegance and per­for­mance that feels cur­rent even to­day.

When the Tank was cre­ated in the clos­ing months of World War I, pocket watches were the stan­dard. But with the in­ven­tion of the air­plane and the au­to­mo­bile, men of ac­tion needed a time­piece they could ac­tu­ally use. Cartier in­ge­niously made some­thing strong enough for the field and light enough for your wrist.

Leg­end has it that Cartier based the design on France’s FT-17 tank, and that, looking to thank the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary for turn­ing the tide in the Great War, he gave a pro­to­type to Gen­eral Per­sh­ing. Since then, the Tank has at­tached it­self to out­sized per­son­al­i­ties, show­ing up on the wrists of ev­ery­one from Andy Warhol to Prince Wil­liam. It’s also a favourite with men in the fashion world, owned by Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Thom Browne.

“It’s the chicest watch ever made,” a men’s fashion de­sig ner told me when he saw one on my wrist. “It’s all I wear,” he said, pulling back his cuff. “Noth­ing can com­pete.”

A cen­tury on, it st ill packs a punch.

Words by Michael Hainey Pho­to­graph by Ben Gold­stein

Tank Louis Cartier watch by Cartier; jacket by LBM 1911; shirt by Stile Latino.

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