The Tank Anglaise: A Brief History Lesson, Courtesy of Cartier

Published May 31, 2012

French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac once joked, “If all tanks were made by Cartier, we’d have time to live in peace.” Yes, Cartier’s signature “Tank” watch is indeed named after the formidable military vehicle. A strange idea in 21st-century times—something tells us we aren’t going to see a Humvee watch anytime soon—it is part of the watch’s WWI origins. Cartier created the first ever Tank in 1917 to commemorate the Allies—specifically Britain, France and the US—fight in the War and gifted it to an American general, John Pershing.

As business boomed—Cartier sold six Tank watches in 1919!—Cartier began to play with the timepiece’s design; there was the Tank Chinoise (1922), the marvelously Art Deco Tank Asymétrique (1936), the Tank Française (1996), Américaine (1989), and many others. In keeping with the watch’s original purpose to commemorate the Allies, Cartier have just launched the Tank Anglaise, pictured above. Bet you wished you hadn’t signed that treaty with Germany back in 1917 now, Russia… Kidding! WWI politics are nothing to joke about.

Last night, Cartier held a dinner to fete the new Anglaise with Poppy Delevigne, who was wearing our most-wanted Cartier panther ring as well as an Anglaise. “Cartier’s always been something in my life,” explained Delevigne, a fortunate lady indeed.  Another celebrated Brit, chef April Bloomfield, designed the menu. “I love this lady, but I also hate this lady because I can no longer brag that French cooking is better than British cooking,” joked Emmanuel Perrin, the charming CEO and president of Cartier North America.

The Tank Anglaise will be available at Cartier boutiques and online starting June 22.