Le Retour – Cartier Tank Française
The sportiest member of the Tank family has received an overdue refresh — and it feels timelier than ever.
Golden Age Hollywood glamour is just about everywhere right now.
In films like Babylon, Tinseltown has rediscovered its love of opulent, early-20th century panache, while A-listers have brought velvet tuxes and thigh-high splits back into being. Whether it be avant-garde or art deco, it feels like designers and tastemakers are, for now at least, looking backwards as a source of inspiration, rather than forwards.
It feels a fitting time, then, for a name synonymous with the Parisian avant-garde to bring back a cult classic — one that may not be as time-honoured as some of its siblings, but one that seems a perfect fit for the new-wave of menswear heavyweights that have made their watches some of the world’s most desirable in recent years.
We speak, of course, of Cartier, which is continuing its recent ascendency with a relaunch of a ‘90s era deep cut, the Tank Française.
While the world seemingly can’t get enough of the maison’s unisex dress watches, the Tank Française, which was first launched in 1996 (the Tank line dating to 1917) pushes things in a slightly more angular, sporty and blocky direction (Cartier call it Monobloc) than the other, more svelte models in the range. This is, in fact, the first total overhaul of the Tank Française in its almost 30-year history — and Cartier has been keen to emphasise the sharp corners and ergonomic metal bracelets to reinforce the refined sense of muscularity that sets the model apart from its kin. This is refined by way of a satin finish to the case and bracelet and a revised sunray dial, creating a seamless feel that ensures the Française doesn’t forgo the Tank’s signature sense of elegance.
The updated models cover seven iterations and remain faithful across steel, as well as gold (its moment in the sun continuing to shine ever bright) with bejewelled, diamond-framed casework also on offer. Sizing runs 25.7mm – 36.7mm, with varying models being quartz driven and also boasting a mechanical 1853 calibre movement. Pricing, meanwhile, stretches from $5,250 – $46,300.
“The new Tank Française reflects a creative conviction. Like rediscovering the raw nature of a cut stone, it was about capturing the watch’s radical shape, simplifying its essential lines and stripping them of all embellishment to return to the myth’s origin,” chimes Marie-Laure Cerede, Cartier Jewellery And Watchmaking Director.
All said and done, how does one introduce the world to the horological equivalent of an action hero in a Dior tux? Calling on the services of Guy Ritchie would seem like as snug a fit as any, and that’s exactly what Cartier has done, enlisting the famed British director to lens a campaign starring one of the house’s current crop of golden children, Rami Malek, alongside Catherine Deneuve — a figure long at the forefront of French cinema and style.
The refreshed Tank Française is available now through Cartier boutiques; cartier.com
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