This Accessory Has Been on the Wrists of the Best Dressed for Over 100 Years


(Image credit: James Devaney/WireImage)

There are a few pieces in our wardrobes that we can truly cherish for a lifetime. Perhaps it's a pair of designer shoes that you save for best, a wool coat that you can rely on year after year, or maybe even a handbag so timeless that it never falls out of favour. But one of the items we're happiest to spend a little extra money on is jewellery, and a luxury watch is one of the most prominent purchases you can make when it comes to an investment buy that will never date. 

Given that these aren't flash-in-the-pan, impulse buys, you're going to want to invest in a brand and a style that you know will hold its value and look good for years to come, and one name keeps cropping up on the wrists of some of history's biggest style icons—Cartier. Scroll back through archival pictures and footage of the past 60 years and you'll spot Cartier jewellery and watches on everyone from Princess Diana to Andy Warhol, Michelle Obama to Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and the Tank watch, in particular, can trace its legacy back 100 years, making it one of the enduring timepiece icons of our time. 


(Image credit: Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

During it's century at the forefront of fashion (and perhaps a leader in the "quiet luxury" space long before the aesthetic had even been coined as such), the Tank has evolved to include new colours, styles and shapes whilst staying true to its original design. How do you know a Cartier Tank if you spot one? Easy. The hallmarks include the curved link band, the rectangular case and a touch of Art Deco elegance. So if you're looking for an accessory that isn't ostentatious but still grabs attention, here is as good a place as any to start.


(Image credit:  Karwai Tang/WireImage)



(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

Inspired by the design of a military tank seen from above, the Tank watch was first designed in 1917 by Louis François Cartier, a distinct and bold move away from the popular round watch faces of the time. Instead, this delicate and linear shape references the feat of engineering behind the Renault tanks, mimicking the treads and cockpit of the vehicle's cabin. 

Since its original design, you can now shop the Tank Must and Française—chunkier, metal-based styles; the Amércaine, which is a dressier, slimline style with a leather strap; and the newest and most pared-back style, the Tank Louis Cartier, which now comes in rich burgundy and emerald green. Those with a real eye for engineering may also be drawn to the Cintrée and Asymétrique watches, as the exposed mechanisms (and angular shape, in the case of the Asymétrique) make these both high on the wish lists of watch aficionados.



(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

Given the level of design and craft that goes into Cartier watches, The Tank doesn't come cheap, and you can expect to find prices ranging from just over £3000 for the simplest Tank Must styles to over £109,000 for the rarer Tank Cintrée watches, coming down to around £51,000 for the diamond-encrusted Tank Américaine.


You can find the Tank watch in Cartier stores and online, as well as in a handful of other jewellers and fine jewellery retailers like Goldsmiths, NET-A-PORTER, Harrods and Watches of Switzerland.

To see and shop our edit of the best Cartier Tank watches, keep scrolling. After all, these chic timepieces come with a very fashionable (and royal) stamp of approval. 


Remy Farrell
Fashion Editor

Remy Farrell is a London-based shopping editor with nearly 10 years of editorial experience covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle. After graduating with a journalism degree and working on the editorial and fashion teams for titles such as Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan and British Vogue, she moved into the luxury e-commerce sector, working as fashion assistant at styling for the social media channels and helping to develop the collections for the in-house brand Iris & Ink. After expanding an assisting and styling portfolio that includes shooting talent such as Gigi Hadid, Victoria Beckham and Miquita Oliver, she also branched out into beauty, creating tried-and-tested reviews and diverse beauty content.In her role as shopping editor at Who What Wear, Remy is interested in discovering new and exciting brands to share with the Who What Wear readership and particularly loves uncovering hidden gems at affordable prices to make shopping accessible to everyone.Born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire, Remy moved to London in 2014 and lives in the Docklands with her partner and pug Billie.