The Tank Series of watches was Created by Louis Cartier in 1917 and the original prototype was presented as a gift to General John Pershing Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe, a few years later in 1919 commercial production and sale of the watch began. The Tank design from Cartier combines a square dial and rectangle bezel and lugs denoting the look of the Renault tanks used on the battlefields of Europe during World War I. The watch has gone on to become one of the most imitated designs of all time. Some of the defining features one can view in any Tank Watch from Cartier is a bold silver Roman Numeral Dial featuring quartz or automatic movement, rectangular Stainless Steel or 18K White Gold, Rose Gold, or White Gold Bezel, sword-shaped blue steel hands, and a sapphire cabochon surmounted crown. More than thirty varieties of items in this collection of watches have been produced in the past 90 years of the Cartier Tank watch history. These include the Tank Solo, Tank Americaine, Tank Louis Cartier, and the Tank Francaise to name a few of the most popular models of this watch that Cartier has premiered. The watch is a stylistic evolution from the Santos watch, and it has been disputed that Cartier even designed the Tank watch after the famous war machine. More recently some argue that the watch was named after a Tank subsequent to the release and the name was used by Cartier in order to generate interest in the new design of his watches, showcasing Louis Cartier not only as a brilliant watch maker and jeweler but also a savvy businessman who knew how to generate interest in his creations. Cartier cemented the legacy of the Tank when he presented the new style of watch to General Pershing. The Cartier watch could be said to be the first elegant wrist watch destined for the modern man of action. The Tank watch from Cartier could be said to be quintessentially French watches. Cartier himself was always a forward thinker with no fear of how the future would regard the designs of his watches. Deep in the watches design were the dynamics of modernism’s beginnings which influenced Cartier—the grids, the war, the ideas of “less is more” and “form follows function," none of which had been applied to the idea of watches and Cartier stood alone on the forefront of a new era in design not only of watches but of the larger artistic world.
The Cartier Tank Americaine model from the Tank series of watches by Cartier was first introduced in 1989 featuring an elongated case and silver dial with a more pronounced curve than the original Tank watch while updating the geometry of the line structure and retaining the rectangular form of the 18K Rose Gold or White Gold Bezel that alternates between round edges and angles of the Cartier watch. The first model of the Tank Americaine watch from Cartier featured only 18K yellow gold, white gold, or rose bezel and quartz movement. The line has since expanded to include both automatic and quartz movement for watches, as well as 18K Rose Gold and 18K White Gold. Other options for watches from the Tank Americaine Collection by Cartier such as a fine alligator leather strap and a 18K white gold rose gold, or yellow gold tang buckle with diamonds encompassing 18K white gold or yellow gold or rose gold bezel were soon introduced around the classic design of the Cartier Roman Numeral Dial of the Tank Americaine watch as the popularity of the line expanded exponentially with the passage of time. That square watch face of the Tank Americaine from Cartier continues to say exactly what Louis Cartier meant it to.
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