through the ages

Join us for a tour through a cen­tury of tank de cartier and en­Joy glimpses of some of the most iconic mod­els in this le­gendary col­lec­tion

DA MAN - - Profile -

When it comes to watches that would be­come truly es­sen­tial, func­tional and, above all else, el­e­gant, you’d be hard pressed to find any col­lec­tion that would come close to the tank de cartier. Born in 1917 of a pow­er­ful vi­sion from louis cartier, grand­son of the brand’s founder, it is the cul­mi­na­tion of an ex­ten­sive de­sign process. as the story goes, cartier mod­eled the de­sign of the tank watches af­ter the top view of ac­tual tanks. in this case, the bran­cards—the par­al­lel and ver­ti­cal bars on the side of the tank that in­cor­po­rate the lugs of the strap—evoke the treads of the com­bat ma­chines, while the case rep­re­sents the cock­pit of the ve­hi­cle.

as a truly uni­ver­sal sym­bol of style and el­e­gance that has taken an un­prece­dented path span­ning an en­tire cen­tury, the tank watch has never been so new. for one, it was a time­piece which swept aside tra­di­tion, shook up habits and ush­ered mod­ern de­sign into the work­shops, and ul­ti­mately be­came a watch­mak­ing icon. to­day, as the tank de cartier em­braces the new gen­er­a­tion and cel­e­brates its 101th an­niver­sary, let’s take a stroll through mem­ory lane and re­visit some of the most im­por­tant mod­els in the col­lec­tion’s time­line.

1917 - Tank

Born in 1917 from a solid con­cept and through a lengthy process of de­lib­er­a­tion, this is a time­keep­ing in­stru­ment that brought mod­ern de­sign into the ate­liers. its rev­o­lu­tion­ary form, style and el­e­gance were to pi­o­neer a de­ci­sively mod­ern life­style.

1921 - Tank Cin­trée

Back in 1921, cartier fa­vored rec­tan­gle cases—af­ter choos­ing be­tween squares and rec­tan­gles—for one of its first watches called the tank cin­trée. The curved form in this watch, on the other hand, was meant to closely fol­low the nat­u­ral shape of the wrist.

1921 - Tank Chi­noise

The shape of the tank chi­noise pays trib­ute to the ar­chi­tec­ture of chi­nese tem­ple por­ti­cos. two hor­i­zon­tal bars strad­dle the watch face and slightly pro­trude on ei­ther side, mim­ick­ing the in­ter­play of in­ter­lock­ing lin­tels left in full view. Then, the bal­ance of the forms shifts and re­cen­ters on the square.

1922 - Tank Louis Cartier

The tank louis cartier was an un­apolo­getic choice of the rec­tan­gu­lar form. This watch em­bod­ies the con­tri­bu­tion made by louis cartier him­self to the mod­ern art style later known as art deco.

1928 - Tank à Guichets

The dial with “guichets” sym­bol­ized moder­nity. louis cartier cre­ated the aes­thetic of the tank à guichets—one in­di­cat­ing the hours and the other min­utes—based on the fas­ci­nat­ing jump­ing hour com­pli­ca­tion.

1932 - Tank Bas­cu­lante

as it be­came in­creas­ingly fash­ion­able to play sports while wear­ing a watch in the 1930s, the tank Bas­cu­lante watch be­came the per­fect choice to fol­low the trend. it fea­tured a case that piv­oted length­wise within an ar­tic­u­lated frame­work, while the in­te­grated wind­ing mech­a­nism was po­si­tioned at 12 o’clock.

1936 - Tank Asymétrique

This par­tic­u­lar watch per­haps ex­presses the con­tra­dic­tions of an era, as it turned the aes­thetic of tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing on its head. The re­sult? The en­tire bal­ance of the watch was shifted, with 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock mov­ing into the cor­ners and the wind­ing mech­a­nism placed at 2 o’clock.

1952 - Tank Rec­tan­gle (broad model)

Boast­ing a gold dial to match the gold case, the tank rec­tan­gle (broad model) man­i­fested an un­apolo­get­i­cally clas­sic style and ush­ered in a new def­i­ni­tion of op­u­lence to the 1950s in no un­cer­tain terms.

1960 - Tank Al­longée

The tank watch un­der­went a makeover in the 1960s and was given smaller and more fem­i­nine cases. Then, the dainty tank al­longée took pride of place, and the range ex­panded to in­clude the mini tank louis cartier.

1970 - Tank Must de Cartier Ver­mil­ion and Bur­gundy Dial

Back in the 1970s, cartier in­fused its time­piece col­lec­tion with moder­nity and el­e­gance. Then, at the height of must de cartier pe­riod, a new col­lec­tion of ver­mil­ion watches paid trib­ute to the form of the tank louis cartier and evoked the world of haute joail­lerie through the dial.

1980 - Tank Améri­caine

The tank améri­caine was the first cartier watch to of­fer a curved wa­ter-re­sis­tant case. on top of that, this watch fea­tured a new fold­ing buckle that al­lowed the strap length to be pre­cisely ad­justed to the wrist of the wearer, re­plac­ing the mech­a­nism em­ployed by cartier since 1910.

1996 - Tank Française

With a curved case set in a chain-link bracelet, the tank française watch up­dated the clas­sic tank legacy. The cho­sen fin­ishes toughen the lines of the watch, cre­at­ing an all-new tank.

2002 - Tank Di­van

cartier cel­e­brated the year 2000 with the launch of a new watch that made space for time. With the dial sprawl­ing to­ward the sides and ro­man nu­mer­als that are elon­gated with con­tained ex­trav­a­gance, the tank di­van watch stretches to make room for a new bal­ance. The se­lec­tions above only rep­re­sent brief glimpses into the his­tory of tank de cartier, but per­haps it can show us how this sin­gle watch col­lec­tion has evolved through the ages to be­come one of the most fa­mous main­stays of haute hor­logerie.

“As the story goes, Cartier mod­eled the de­sign of the Tank watches af­ter the top view of ac­tual com­bat tanks”

From top the tank Louis Cartier made by Louis Cartier him­self; the un­usual tank asymétrique; the tank Must de Cartier bur­gundy dial op­po­site page the tank améri­caine

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