First Impressions: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Formal dress made colourful.

Launched alongside the affordable Tank Must in steel at Watches & Wonders 2021, the Tank Louis Cartier is a limited-production that’s the flagship model of the new Tank offerings.

Featuring an Art Deco “sector” dial modelled on a style found on the Les Must de Cartier Tank of the 1980s, the Tank Louis Cartier (or Tank LC) combines an 18k gold case with the in-house, hand-wind 1917 MC movement.

Initial thoughts

The Tank LC is the perhaps quintessential Tank, and the new version is one of the most compelling in recent years, both in design and the fact that it’s mechanical (most have been quartz).

The new model is practically identical in size to what was historically the “large” Tank LC. That means a case that’s 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm, and 6.60 mm high.

It’s relatively small by modern standards, but the size works well as a formal-dress watch under a cuff, though it would look out of place with casual wear.

In fact, it excels as a formal watch that is a little more interesting, thanks to the dial design and colours. The Art Deco dial is simple but striking, and appealing in both design and colour. The only shortcoming is a historical one – it was originally found on the inexpensive Les Must de Cartier Tank, while this is clearly a high-end timepiece.

At US$13,100, the new Tank LC is relatively affordable as such things go, which makes it a strong contender for a formal watch that’s a bit more lively.

Classic Tank

The new Tank LC is offered in two guises – yellow gold with a burgundy and silver dial, or pink gold with a blue and grey dial. Though both are identical in design, the feel is quite different. The pink gold model is slightly more masculine in its colours, which are also unusual for a Tank.

Both watches share the same dial finish, albeit in different colours. It’s a metallic base with a radial brushed finish, and the tracks for the hours and minutes printed on top. While the metallic base is reflective, the printed segments are matte and ever so slightly raised, giving the dial a bit more texture.

Inside is the 1917 MC, a small in-house movement originally developed for ladies’ watches. It’s just 2.9 mm high, and due to its size, has a short, 38-hour power reserve. The same calibre was also found in last year’s Tank Asymetrique.

Both Tank LC models are “one shot” editions, meaning they will be produced for a limited period of time. That means there’ll be enough to go around, but not forever.

Key facts and price

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
Ref. CRWGTA0059 (yellow gold)
Ref. CRWGTA0058 (pink gold)

Diameter: 33.7 mm by 25.5 mm
Height: 6.60 mm
Material: yellow or pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 1917 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap

Limited edition: Limited production run during 2021
: From September 2021 at boutiques and retailers
Price: US$13,100; or 18,800 Singapore dollars

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