What Makes the Cartier Tank the Quintessential Dress Watch?

Even those who don’t know it by name know the Cartier Tank. It’s one of the most recognizable, iconic and imitated watches ever made. But do you know where it came from, the purpose of its design, and its significance in horological history? In many ways, the story of this deceptively simple dress watch is the story of the wristwatch itself.

It might seem counterintuitive considering its familiarity and conservative vibe as seen from a modern perspective, but when Louis Cartier introduced his angular wristwatch in the early 20th century, it was highly original and met with controversy. At a time when men carried round pocket watches, wristwatches — and especially those meant for men — were largely unknown to the public.

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