Cartier Tank Must – Elegance, a pure and precise design, an uncompromising line

From its very creation in 1917, Louis Cartier made the distinct aesthetic choice of a rectangular shape, as opposed to the round watches of his generation. The Tank was already an avant-garde piece when launched and continues to be today

Text: Press Photo: Cartier

The two parallel brancards are its signature. Inspired by the design of a combat vehicle viewed from above, this watch follows one clear graphic principle: the brancards were the treads, the case was the turret. For the first time with the Tank, the case attachments were aligned with the strap to maintain the rhythm of the design.

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Wearing it becomes a statement. Vanguard Andy Warhol and his Tank were inseparable, he said about it: “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!” By refusing to wind his watch, the leader of pop art sanctifies the elegance of the Tank.


Timeless, sure of itself and of the purity of its design, the Tank watch captures the zeitgeist in 2021. After more than a century, it has been reinvented with the Tank Must. Tank and Must, the fusion of two Maison icons: on one hand, Tank, essential and dandy, and on the other, Must, a name immortalised at Cartier in the 1970s that revisits the classic conventions of luxury.

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“The Must watches are part of the Maison’s heritage and legend (…). They have withstood the test of time thanks to their instantly recognisable style, but also their excellent craftsmanship, which Cartier applies to all its creations right down to the smallest detail.” Pierre Rainero, Director of Image, Style and Heritage at Cartier.

Tank Must is a chic watchmaking feat worn by many. A Maison signature whose design and movements are continuously evolving, driven by Cartier’s watchmaking commitment to constant progress. The Design Studio has reworked the design of these new Tank Must with monochrome versions and an original version based on a new photovoltaic movement.

Cartier Tank Must steel CRWSTA0052 CRWSTA0041


Taking direct inspiration from the Tank Louis Cartier, the design of the Tank Must has been developed while staying faithful to the historic model. Rounded brancards, revisited dial proportions: finesse is the guiding force behind this new design. A watch that dares to return to great classicism down to the smallest detail, with a precious pearled cabochon winding crown and the return of a traditional ardillon buckle on the leather strap version. A watchmaking classic from the Maison whose sophistication is measured on every level, from its steel strap with curved links, entirely redesigned and interchangeable, to the latest high-efficiency quartz movement – autonomy of around 8 years.

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Tank Must Solarbeat Photovoltaik


With the launch of the Must watches in 1977, the Tank watch, a Maison watchmaking icon created sixty years earlier, was made available in a vermeil version. With a burgundy or all black dial and a large gold-coloured logo, it freed itself from traditional watchmaking codes, opting instead for elegant simplicity. Faithful to the spirit of the 80s, the new Tank Must watch is available in three monochromatic colours that are embedded into Cartier’s DNA: red, blue and green. Steel watches that favour minimalist dials with no Roman numerals or “rail-tracks” and a fully chromatic look with matching straps.

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Tank Louis Cartier


Since the very beginning, Cartier’s watchmaking ambition has been to constantly strive to improve, relying on technical progress as well as the Maison’s response and commitments to the environment and biodiversity. Pioneering since the invention of the first watch worn on the wrist with the Santos watch (1904), or the one with the folding buckle (1910), Cartier Watchmaking has always been committed to anticipating its clients’ needs. Whether it’s the QuickSwitch patent (2018), which allows straps to be interchanged at home, or the latest photovoltaic dial found on the Tank Must watch, a modern alternative with a quartz movement with no need to change the batteries, the approach is the same; improve the lives, and satisfaction, of Cartier’s clients.

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The challenge lies in applying a new technique to the watch’s aesthetic and shape every time, finding a confluence between modernity and watchmaking tradition, a challenge and commitment crystallised by the Cartier Manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds. More than simply a production site, the Manufacture is a research hub, a creative and innovative laboratory that has succeeded in applying the photovoltaic principle to the Tank watch’s dial, without altering its aesthetic. A true technical feat that relies on the delicate and invisible perforation of Roman numerals, whose openings allow solar energy to reach the photovoltaic cells hidden under the dial. It took two years for the development team to integrate this SolarBeatTM movement, with an average lifespan of 16 years, into the Tank Must, the first watch to benefit from this technology. A pioneering watch that also introduces a bracelet produced in an innovative material that guarantees a high level of both quality and comfort. It is composed of around 40% plant matter, produced using waste from apples grown for the food industry in Switzerland, Germany and Italy.

Cartier Tank Must SolarBeat movement

The production procedure represents a step forward in preserving the environment by reducing our carbon footprint (6 times less), saving water (up to 10 litres) and energy (up to 7 megajoules, or approximately 200 smartphone charges) compared to the manufacture of a calfskin strap. We’ve taken a local, European approach: the apples are grown and their waste collected in Europe, from the material production site in Italy, to the strap maker in Portugal and the watch assembly in Switzerland. Loyal to its reputation as an avant-garde timepiece, the Tank watch hasn’t quite finished telling us what it has to say. Its creativity is limitless. Once again with the Tank Must, Cartier dares to make its timepieces evolve with the times while looking towards the future.

Cartier Tank Must SolarBeat LM CRWSTA0059 2


Created in 1917, the Tank watch very quickly spawned several variations. Louis Cartier reworked its design from as early as 1922. Its case was stretched, brancards refined and edges softened: the Tank L.C. had arrived. (Louis Cartier). A classic was born. “Rail tracks”, cabochon sapphire, Roman numerals, Louis Cartier laid the foundations of a signature watchmaking aesthetic, with its very latest version perpetuating this tradition to within a few subtle nuances.


The Louis Carter Tank cultivates its timeless elegance in colour. The choice of blue and red was a must, as these colours are a part of Cartier’s DNA. An intense red and a bright blue highlight and enhance the watch’s pure lines.

Cartier has added sophisticated details to these two precious versions, including Roman numerals and gold-coloured “rail tracks”, which help to enhance the dial’s graphic intensity. The blue version is in pink gold, the red in yellow gold, both coordinated with the straps, these two watches come with a Manufacture 1917 MC movement with manual winding.


Extra-large model: thickness: 8.37 mm; Steel; Crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon; Black grained calf leather strap / Interchangeable steel bracelet

Large model: thickness: 6.60 mm; Steel; Crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon; Black grained calf leather strap / Interchangeable steel bracelet

Small model: thickness: 6.60 mm; Steel; Crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon; Black grained calf leather strap / Interchangeable steel bracelet


Movement: Manufacture mechanical movement with automatic winding 1847 MC; Encasing diameter: 11 lines 1/2; Total dimension: 25.6 mm; Thickness: 3.77 mm; Number of jewels: 23; Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour; Power reserve: 40 hours / Quartz movement

Large model: thickness: 6.60 mm; Steel; Case set with 42 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.48 ct); Crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon; Black smooth calf leather strap

Small model: thickness: 6.60 mm; Steel; Case set with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.39 ct); Crown set with a blue synthetic spinel cabochon; Black smooth calf leather strap

Movement: Quartz

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