Cartier Watches…That Aren’t the Tank!

Cartier Watches…That Aren’t the Tank!

| 05.09.24

Founded in 1847, Cartier is recognized as one of the most (if not the most) important jewelers in the world. From its three outposts in Paris, London, and New York — run by the three grandsons of company founder Louis-François Cartier — issued forth countless designs that have captured the imaginations of men and women across the globe. Of course, this design prowess extends to more than just jewelry, with Cartier wristwatches having firmly attained cult status among the horologically inclined.

Pierre, Louis, and Jacques Cartier, sons of Alfred (second from right), turned their fathers small Parisian jewelry concern into an international sensation.- (Image by The New York Post)

Designed during the First World War, the Cartier Tank — inspired, so the story goes, by the shape of a then-new Renault tank — has become the quintessential men’s dress watch, its ubiquity such that laymen are just as familiar with it as are dedicated collectors. For many, in fact, the Tank is Cartier watchmaking, though this would be selling the Parisian maison short. Indeed, there are countless compelling Cartier timepieces that have emerged since the ascendance of the wristwatch just post-First World War, many of which are largely unknown outside hardcore collectors’ circles.

But to us watch nerds, these timepieces are some of the most elegant and beautiful watches in the world. What’s more, Cartier clearly strives to maintain its particular design cues — cabochon crowns; ‘Roman’ numeral dials; thin, precious metal cases — across its different collections, lending them a throughline that makes them immediately recognizable as coming from this most distinguished maison. Here at Analog:Shift, we certainly love the Tank in all its many forms — check out this exhaustive Transmissions post for proof — but we also strive to include a wide variety of non-Tank pieces available in our inventory.

To that end, here’s a smattering of non-Tank Cartier watches that we’re sure you’ll find as attractive and special as we do. From the Pasha to the Ballon Bleu, the Ceinture to the Panthère, their boundless elegance explains the limitless popularity of this storied Parisian brand. Enjoy!

Cartier Pasha Big Date ($3,900)

Cartier Pasha Big Date - IN THE SHOP

Designed by Gérald Genta and launched in 1985, the Cartier Pasha is based — according to legend — on a one-off design for the Pasha of Marrakesh from the 1930s. This version, with its deep blue dial, ‘big date’ complication, and signature crown protection device, is powered by an automatic movement and measures 35mm. 

Cartier Ballon Bleu Small ($6,600)

Cartier Ballon Bleu Small - IN THE SHOP

With its curvaceous silhouette, captive sapphire cabochon crown, and ‘Arabic’ dial, the Ballon Bleu is clearly a Cartier — but one whose unique profile safely differentiates it from the Tank. Dating to the 2010s, this Reference 3489 features a beautiful pink guilloché dial and a stainless steel H-link bracelet, and comes with its boxes and other factory goodies. 

Cartier Pocket Watch ($8,900)

Cartier Pocket Watch - IN THE SHOP

When the Tank was launched during WWI the pocket watch still reigned supreme. This particular 18K yellow gold model, made in the 1920s, is a gorgeous example of Cartier’s expertise in producing these types of timepieces. Measuring 45mm wide and just 6.5mm thick, its guilloché dial is still breathtaking over a century following its production.

Cartier Ultra-Thin Dress Watch ($9,450)

Cartier Ultra-Thin Dress Watch - IN THE SHOP

If you recognize this case shape, it’s because you may have seen it being offered by another brand — Audemars Piguet. Dating to the 1960s, this example is Cartier-signed, but is indeed powered by AP’s manually-wound Calibre 2003 ultra-thin movement. Cushion-shaped and made of white gold, its beautiful curves will beautifully accent more formal attire. 

Cartier Ceinture 'Paris' ($9,900)

Cartier Ceinture 'Paris' - IN THE SHOP

Announced in 1973, the Louis Cartier included various new model families, among them the belt buckle-inspired Ceinture. This version, dating to the 1980s, is housed in a lovely 27mm yellow gold case with a ‘Roman’ dial and a blued steel handset. Manually wound, it’s a lovely alternative to something like the Tank Louis.

Cartier Panthère Mother of Pearl 'Sunrise' ($12,450)

Cartier Panthère Mother of Pearl 'Sunrise' - IN THE SHOP

The Panthère is a well-known feminine design of the maison. But this particular reference, with its stunning mother-of-pearl ‘sunrise’ motif on the dial — not to mention its diamond-set bezel, yellow gold construction, and matching bracelet — is an entirely different animal. Quartz powered and measuring 22mm, it still looks fresh years decades after its ‘90s production.

Cartier Ronde Paris Dial ($12,900)

Cartier Ronde Paris Dial - IN THE SHOP

Though Cartier conceded to produce a more conventional round dress watch in the form of the Ronde, the maison nevertheless maintained its elegant design codes: The watch’s profile is such that the leather strap appears to emanate from the case itself, rather than interrupt it, while the stepped bezel offers just a hint of depth despite an ultra-thin design. 

Cartier Tonneau XL ($14,900)

Cartier Tonneau XL - IN THE SHOP

Though this tonneau-shaped dress watch — with its guilloché, Paris-signed dial; its hand-wound movement; and its 15mm lug width — looks distinctly like a watch from the 1920s, it actually dates to the ‘80s, lending it vintage looks melded to more modern reliability and accuracy. Measuring 26mm in yellow gold, it would look stunning on any wrist. 

Cartier White Gold Lapis by Piaget ($16,500)

Cartier White Gold Lapis by Piaget - IN THE SHOP

Retailed by Cartier, this incredible, white gold watch was actually produced by Piaget, king of such avant-garde designs in the mid-20th century. With its stunning, blue lapis lazuli dial, integrated, white gold mesh bracelet, and Piaget 9P manually-wound movement, it’s an adventurous piece that’s sure to turn even the most horologically jaded of heads.  

Cartier Baignoire White Gold ($18,990)

Cartier Baignoire White Gold - IN THE SHOP

One of the “It” watches of the 2020s, the Baignoire — “bathtub” — is a collection with origins at the turn of the 20th century. This white gold version, with its stunning, diamond-studded bezel and ‘Roman’ dial may be quartz-powered, but its matching gold bracelet with hidden- fold-over deployant clasp more than makes up for it. 

Cartier Tonneau Dual-Time ($22,050)

Cartier Tonneau Dual-Time - IN THE SHOP

Only Cartier would dream up such an elegant dual-time watch! This Reference 2804H from the 2010s, with its diamond-studded bezel and dual, vertically-arrayed dials, is powered by a pair of manually-wound Cartier 8970MC movements. Paired to a black alligator strap with a white gold deployant clasp, it looks like the type of travel watch that James Bond would wear to a gala.

Cartier CPCP Tortue Day & Night XL ($32,990)

Cartier CPCP Tortue Day & Night XL - IN THE SHOP

Now here’s an usual thing: This white-gold, 38mm version of the Tortue from the 2000s features a second time zone indicator in the form of a jump hour hand accompanied by a day/night indicator. Though not compact like many of the other watches on this list, its whimsical design and special complication make it a compelling proposition from the Privée collection.

Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton ($37,500)

Cartier Santos Dumont Skeleton - IN THE SHOP

This breathtaking iteration of the Santos Dumont — so named for Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont — not only features a skeletonized design, but also a micro-rotor in the shape of La Demoiselle, an aircraft of Santos-Dumont’s own conception. Automatically wound via this aeronautically-inspired movement, it’s one of the more notable Santos models.

Cartier Privé Cloche de Cartier ($67,050)

Cartier Privé Cloche de Cartier - IN THE SHOP

This bell-shaped, unconventional Cloche, part of Cartier’s Privée collection, is one of just 100 pieces produced in 2021. Manually wound and housed in a platinum case, its ruby-set crown, satin-silver dial, and 90-degree-rotated orientation ooze elegance and consideration — the traits for which Cartier has been known for over a century.