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The Cartier Tank Must is a range of minimalist Tank watches focused on meticulous finishing, down to the smallest of details. First released in the 1970s, it introduced the classic Tank to a broader range of audiences by forgoing precious metal and choosing gold-plated silver finishes.
Relaunched in 2021, the Cartier Tank Must is the latest in the brand’s string of revivals. Beginning with the revamp of the Cartier Santos in 2018, followed by the updated Panthère and Pasha models, these new collections remind watch lovers of what Cartier is famous for – proportion, shape, and timeless design.
The 1970s favorite makes a comeback in delicious new colors, and with ingenious new technology: the option of a photovoltaic Solarbeat movement and environmentally sustainable watch straps.
The Cartier Tank Must shows the brand’s mastery of the classic conventions of luxury while delivering vibrant new ideas. Explore our selection of Cartier Tank Must watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.
The history of the Cartier Tank Must traces back to the original Cartier Tank watch of 1917, but it has deep roots in the 1970s 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 caused an upheaval in the watchmaking industry. The largest watchmakers struggled to compete with the pricing, precision, and mass production of quartz watches.
Much like other watch brands, Cartier had to change course due to this development. Moreover, in the 1970s, Cartier was structured differently – it was made up of several businesses rather than one. The new management’s response was to create a collection that would help Cartier gain global footing.
In 1973, the Les Must de Cartier line was introduced. French for "these Cartiers are a must", the product line included bags, pens, and lighters, aimed at tempting consumers into having “must-have” accessories. The Les Must de Cartier watch followed in 1977.
It marked the first time that the brand produced timepieces that are not in 18k gold or platinum. In line with the direction for the entire range, it made the Tank watch more wallet-friendly and appealing to a wider consumer base. Cartier sold Tank Must watches in jewelry stores worldwide, and not just in their own boutiques.
The earliest Tank Musts came in the classic shape of the Tank Louis, the emblematic Tank design. Aside from being made of silver, what set them apart are their colorful yet minimalist dials. Moreover, the only elements present were just the hands, the Must de Cartier wordmark, and a stamp at the bottom with overlapping Cs.
The Les Must de Cartier eventually fell out of fashion in the 1990s, as Cartier became a luxury behemoth. It would make a comeback in 2021, as part of a string of revivals of their iconic classics.
The new Cartier Tank Must collection comes in a range of sleek variations of the classic Tank in stainless steel: models with the classic Roman numeral dials; models with lacquered color dials; and the first Cartier watch to run on solar power. These pieces pay direct homage to similar neat and sophisticated Les Must de Cartier watches from four decades ago, but with improved and trailblazing technology.
The Cartier Tank Must balances clean design and classic styling while having all the hallmark characteristics one expects from a Cartier timepiece. Relaunched in 2021, the current Cartier Tank Must collection is a slick interpretation of the 1970s favorite. Here are the key models under the Tank Must watch collection.
Cartier Tank Must Steel – The new Tank Must collection comes in a core range of stainless steel models available in three case sizes:
XL – 41.0 x 31.0 mm
Large – 33.7 x 25.5 mm
Small – 29.5 x 22.0 mm
All three have silvered dials with Cartier’s signature blued-steel hands and spinel cabochon. The XL size has an added flinqué engraving on the dial center, a central-seconds hand, and a date window at 6 o’clock.
The XL size is powered by the self-winding mechanical Calibre 1847 MC, while the large and small sizes run on quartz movements. All watches are water-resistant to 3 bar (or approximately 30 meters or 100 feet).
Each of these Tank Models are accompanied by either a stainless steel bracelet or black calfskin strap, and employ the “QuickSwitch” interchangeable strap system, which allows the straps to be changed without the use of tools.
Cartier Tank Must with Solid Colored Dials – Also in the collection is a range of monochrome, solid lacquered dials in red, blue, green, and black, with nothing except the Cartier logo, hour and minute hands, and a tiny “Swiss made” at six.
While the new Tank Must line comes in small to XL sizes, these colored designs come only in large case sizes (33.7 mm by 25.5 mm) and with alligator leather straps. They are powered by quartz movements.
Cartier Tank Must Solarbeat - The Cartier Tank Must collection also comes with the first solar-powered watch from Cartier. The SolarBeat™ photovoltaic movement is charged through the dial, specifically through its Roman numerals. Cartier estimates a running time of 16 years for this watch before it requires a service.
These watches come in stainless steel, with black eco-friendly straps, and are offered in two sizes:
Large – 33.7 x 25.5 mm
Small – 29.5 x 22.0 mm
All Cartier models are given a reference number that is used to properly document their manufacture and sale. Cartier reference numbers are made up of 8 randomly assigned characters. They start with letters, followed by numbers.
Below are the reference numbers for the Cartier Tank Must collection:
|CRWSTA0054||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel and red dial / strap|
|CRWSTA0055||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel and blue dial / strap|
|CRWSTA0056||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel and green dial / strap|
|WSTA0063||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel and black dial / strap|
|WSTA0040||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel, extra large case|
|WSTA0041||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel, large case|
|WSTA0042||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel, small case|
|WSTA0060||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel, small case, Solarbeat|
|WSTA0059||Cartier Tank Must||Stainless Steel, large case, Solarbeat|
The Cartier Tank Must revives the 1970s classic that combines Cartier’s signature aesthetics with pure and precise design. Here are the most commonly asked questions about the Cartier Tank Must.
The Cartier Tank Must is a collection of watches first introduced in the 1970s. These watches marked the first time that the Cartier Tank was made in metals other than gold or platinum, thus making the collection more affordable and attainable to a wider consumer base.
Key characteristics of the Cartier Tank Must are more rounded brancards and minimalist dials without numerals.
The collection was reintroduced in 2021, this time with a range of stainless steel models. There are three subcollections within the current Tank Must family:
Cartier Tank Must watches are water resistant to 3 bar (or approximately 30 meters or 100 feet). One can safely wear these watches while hand washing, but they are not intended for use during swimming or snorkeling.