The Cartier Tank Must: A Revival

cartier tank must

In recent years, we have seen Cartier bring new life to their most iconic models. Beginning with the revamp of the Cartier Santos in 2018, the French Maison has also successfully updated the Panthère and Pasha models, reminding watch lovers of what Cartier is famous for – proportion, shape, and timeless design.

The latest in their string of revivals is the return of the entry-level Tank Must. A pillar of the brand’s success in the 1970s, it makes a comeback in delicious new colors. Here’s what you need to know about the new Cartier Tank Must:


2021 Cartier Tank Must Large Steel Watches: Green (WSTA0056) and Blue Dials (WSTA0055)
2021 Cartier Tank Must Large Steel Watches:
Green (WSTA0056) and Blue Dials (WSTA0055)


The Beginnings of Cartier Tank Must

Almost every watch brand has a story of how they made it through the “Quartz Crisis.” When Japanese companies like Seiko and Citizen began making quartz-powered timepieces, which offered unparalleled accuracy at a fraction of the price, it spelled difficulty for makers of mechanical watches.

Much like other brands, Cartier had to change course. Under a new direction, the Les Must de Cartier line, which is French for “these Cartiers are a must” was born. This collection made the Tank more wallet-friendly and appealing to a wider consumer base. It also marked the first time the brand produced timepieces that are not in 18k gold or platinum.


Must de Cartier Tank Vermeil from the 1980s
Must de Cartier Tank Vermeil from the 1980s (photo: Christies)


The earliest Tank Musts came in the classic shape of the Tank Louis, the emblematic Tankdesign. Aside from being made of steel, what sets them apart are their colorful yet minimalist dials. Moreover, the only elements present were just the hands, the “Must de Cartier” print, and an emblem at the bottom with overlapping Cs.

It’s important to note that the Les Must de Cartier line was not just composed of watches – but included lighters and pens – and was instrumental in making Cartier known globally on a more massive scale.



The New Cartier Tank Must

In 2021, Cartier revived the 1980s favorite with quartz-powered, monochromatic, and colorful variations of the classic Tank. These pieces pay direct homage to similar neat and sophisticated Must de Cartier watches from four decades ago.

The Tank Must has zero frills – only the classic Tank Louis silhouette in steel and matching steel hands form its backbone. Dials come in rich lacquered colors popular in the late 1970s and early ’80s: deep red, navy, and emerald green with matching alligator straps.


The 2021 colorful trio of Tank Musts
The 2021 colorful trio of Tank Musts


In 2022, Cartier added a black dial and strap combo to the collection. Therefore, all the colors work just as well during the day as they do at night, giving a bang for your buck in terms of sheer wearability.

The dials became more minimal than ever. The double C icon and the “Must De Cartier” text is now gone. They just have the Cartier logo and hour and minute hands. Adding a stunning pop of color is the blue sapphire cabochon crown, which is a Cartier signature.


Cartier Tank Must Large Steel Black Dial WSTA0072
Cartier Tank Must Large Steel Black Dial WSTA0072


Boasting an androgynous appeal, the Tank Must’s sizes are labeled small, large, and extra-large instead of ladies’ or men’s. The 2022 Tank Musts carry the Large distinction, measuring about 33.7 mm x 25.5 mm – a friendly size for many wrists, Inside, they run on high autonomy movements with a battery life of up to 8 years.



The Must de Cartier shows the brand’s mastery of timeless design while delivering vibrant energy. Explore our wide selection of Cartier Tank Must models at


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