A Watch That’s Form-Shifted Its Approach Throughout a Century

When Cartier started making wristwatches in 1904, the Parisian home approached the exact craft the identical manner it had nice jewellery design 57 years earlier, with a watch towards daring, uniquely geometric designs. After introducing the peerlessly sq. Santos face and the elliptical Baignoire, Louis Cartier sketched the prototype for the Tank watch, harking back to the boxy Renault FT-17s that crawled the battlefields of Europe through the First World Struggle. When seen from the point of view of the wearer, the watch’s rectangular form — which options huge parallel sidebars known as brancards — resembles the chicken’s-eye view of a tank’s caterpillarlike treads. With the now-signature checkered chemin de fer design across the perimeter of the face and distinct Roman numerals, the Tank’s rigorously linear design was a radical departure from the period’s historically spherical watches.

By 1936, with Artwork Deco and flapper tradition in full swing, the rectangle of the Tank morphed, intoxicatingly, right into a diamond. Often known as the Tank Losange or the Parallélogramme, this model had every little thing on its dial rakishly shifted 30 levels to the precise, its two vertical shafts linked by two indirect ones, with the numeral 12 sitting within the higher right-hand nook of the dial and the 6 within the reverse nook.

This season, the Cartier Tank has shape-shifted as soon as once more: The Tank Asymétrique options an 18-karat yellow-gold case, with the home’s signature blue-steel sword-shaped arms, a winding crown set with a sapphire and a brown alligator-leather strap with an ardillon buckle. (It’s additionally accessible in rose gold, and platinum with a ruby-set crown.) As ever, this off-kilter iteration playfully questions the order of issues — a notion that’s as becoming now because it was the day the Tank was born.

Stylist: Marci Leiseth. Retouching: Nameless Retouch. Photograph assistant: Karl Leitz. Digital tech: Russell Underwood

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