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Vienna and Estate Jewelry – The Iconic Cartier Tank Watch

Buying Jewelry in Vienna, VA? Read On!


Cartier TankSome watches are recognizable at a distance, so iconic is their look. Take the Tank line of watches by Cartier. Rectangular. Roman numeral face. Memorable. Fashionable. (The watch at right is a Cartier Tank watch with a metal bracelet. Image by Vienna Jewelry.)

The Cartier Tank watch was created by Louis Cartier in 1917. The story goes that Cartier was inspired by an actual tank, the Renault tank which Cartier had seen in action. Watchmakers of that time were not really interested in style. Instead, they focused on a watch’s mechanical properties and how well they ran, since most were pocket watches and kept out of sight.

Cartier was a jeweler and so he was concerned with style. While he did not invent the wrist watch, he was the first to introduce a functional yet stylish design. And the Tank watch was born.

In 1919, only six Tank watches were created. Until the 60s, most years had a production of 100 or fewer tank watches. Through the years, Cartier had made the tank in almost every version imaginable: colored gold (white, yellow, pink) or platinum or a combination of those metals. Some Tanks were bejeweled or enameled. Over 250 versions of the Tank have been created over the years. Vienna Jewelry has offered many Cartier watches for sale and continues to purchase and resell them when available. (Here’s a lovely one, pictured above, from December on Vienna’s Facebook page.)

The Tank remains a favorite, both with the design world for its outstanding esthetics and the watch-wearing world for its time keeping abilities and classic look.

The Tank’s defining features include the roman numeral dial, sword-shaped steel hands and a small sapphire cabochon on the crown. These elements work together to create that signature look that does look tank-like when viewed from above.

Cartier was ahead of his time when he created the Tank watch for women as well as men. Many early designers did not create wrist watches for women. Both sexes have certainly delighted in wearing this artfully created timepiece throughout the years. Well-known Cartier tank fans have included Michelle Obama, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana, Prince William (wearing Princess Diana’s watch), Pierre Cardin and Yves Saint Laurent. Of course, one does not need to be a celebrity to enjoy this well-styled, well- crafted watch.

At any given time, Vienna Jewelers has inventory in classic watches. If you want to buy jewelry in Vienna, VA or buy gold in Vienna, VA, be sure and stop in to see the latest selection in person, online, or visit Vienna Jewelry on Facebook.

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