I have a fond love for Cartier watches. One of my all time favourites would be the Louis Cartier Tank in gold - a piece that has been re-issued recently as a modern timepiece for the 100 years celebration. Obviously it’s a little out of reach (price prohibitive) and the next best would be to own and wear a modern Tank. And that’s why I owned the Cartier Tank MC is steel.
The tank collection and series have been around for a really long time - and almost synonymous with Cartier as a watch brand. It was introduced in 1918 when Louis Cartier handed over a rectangular watch to an American General by the name of John Joseph Pershing, and their history began. The original Cartier Tank is said to inspired by British Mark IV tanks, and quite a game changer in timekeeping during those times when people were still using pocket watches. In fact the early models of the Cartier Tank had their movement made by Lecoultre. Of course, many watch lovers view Cartier Tank not as a legitimate watch collection - though it’s really iconic and I feel the main reason is their association as a Jewelry brand first and foremost - which is honestly misplaced.
Here’s the thing - it’s exactly because of their core DNA of being a Jewelry brand that the Tank MC is such a beautifully designed watch that other watchmakers cannot design. I’ll explore this in a moment. Their attention to details and finishing is exemplary for what you pay for and becomes of even better value in the pre owned market.
Let’s refocus on the Tank MC and why I really enjoy and love this particular model. The Cartier Tank MC was my first watch to entry level luxury watches. And I had only 3 criteria to fulfil:
1. It should have an in-house manufacture movement with a display case back; 2. Not a common watch but has a wrist presence that only people with a keen attention to watches would notice; 3. Can be worn with long sleeve shirts with easy and fit under the cuffs.
The dial, movement and case design
Firstly, I personally feel without a doubt the Cartier Tank MC has a really beautiful movement. It has a cotes de Geneve finishing on the rotor, and the way the movement was fitted to a square watch with a square display caseback could only be done so well by a brand like Cartier. Never did I once look at it and think, what’s a round movement doing in a square watch? It’s seamlessly designed and looks amazing.
The dial is another marvel by itself. If you look at the dial carefully you can see that it’s not a plain simple dial at all, it’s silvery whitish in colour, with decorative lines and you can tell it’s meant to let you know it’s a modern Cartier tank. It really does distinguish itself as a modern interpretation by its design - and just look at the black Roman numerals - it’s perfect. And obviously, a date is carefully and discreetly present as well. I love it - it’s a function I need for work as a daily wearer. The hands of the watch is also perfectly blue, and under varied lighting you can see the colour change as well. Enough attention to details to capture and bring a smile to your face when you look at the time.
And now to the case. It really is a scratch magnet with its huge side bezels, but I can understand why it is so. It curves beautifully to follow the wrist. And it case height is only 9.5mm at the thickest middle point. Yes! It’s a relatively slim watch and wears even slimmer due to the design and how it curves down into the lugs. It’s funny cause many slim watches at this price range talk about how slim theirs is made, and this Cartier is just elegantly slim without shouting about it. Personally I also love how the sapphire crystal curves gracefully following the case without any distortion at all. It really is amazing in the design and execution.
I recall that many times I have been noticed wearing the watch, with many asking what it was and how it looked nice. It’s strange, non of my other sport watches like omega, Hamilton, Grand Seiko, Tudor even gets the attention like a Cartier. And they weren’t watch people at all. I personally believe it’s cause it really is beautifully designed and wears well, even on my 6 inch wrist. It curves and hugs my wrist and slides under the cuff with ease.
And now I have to answer the greatest question. Is it a dress watch or can it be a daily wearer? It’s a tough one to answer. At first glance I believe many gentlemen looking to purchase their first luxury watch breezes through the Tank MC and thinking it falls under the dress watch category. Let’s not forget that the tank was actually designed based on WW2 tanks - which is how it derived its name. Perhaps in those days all watches were categorised as tool watches and I believe the Cartier Tank was a luxury tool watch at heart.
If you’re looking at the Cartier tank MC and thinking, can I really wear this all round? Yes. Seriously, you can wear this for a formal dinner event and even with jeans or shorts. Without a shirt cuff to hide it, the watch wears with a bolder confidence and gives off a confident vibe. If you’re thinking of taking it diving or to water activities then obviously it’s not suitable. For casual wear with polos and shorts? Sure - wear it with confidence and stand apart as a the quietly confident gentlemen.