Cartier Tank Solarbeat
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
In 2021, Cartier reintroduced a collection that helped the brand navigate the Quartz Crisis: The Must de Cartier.
Within this collection sat the newly rebranded Tank Must, a quartz version of the famed watch introduced in the early 20th century that has since become not only an icon of Cartier, but an emblem of fine watchmaking the world over. And of the different Tank Must models available, perhaps none is quite as interesting as the Solarbeat, which uses a barely visible photovoltaic cell to recharge, giving it a battery life of 16 years.
This particular Tank Must Solarbeat is the Small model — which, we might add, works perfectly well on male wrists as well as female! Housed in a 22mm stainless steel case with a sapphire crystal, a sapphire cabochon crown, and a polished bezel, it features a satin silver dial with painted black ‘Roman’ indices, a blued steel ‘sword’ handset, and an inner ‘railroad’ minute track. Powered by light and outfitted with a 16-year rechargeable cell, it comes paired to a signed, black leather strap with a signed, stainless steel pin buckle.
Dating to the 2020s, this barely worn Tank is the latest in a long line of genre-defining watches from the world’s finest and most respected jeweler. The platonic ideal of a dress watch, it’ll serve its next owner well it’s time to pass it on.
What more could one possibly want from a watch?
It started in 1907, when founder Louis Cartier made what was one of the first wristwatches for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont. In the following years, the brand made a name for itself with its most famous wristwatch, the Tank, in all its multitudinous forms.
Cartier introduced the Tank in 1917 — which was supposedly inspired by the Renault FT-17 tanks seen on the battlefields of World War I — with a run of six pieces. (According to legend, these were given to American General John J. Pershing and his staff.) Cartier took the look of the Renault tank's treads and applied it to the watch’s lugs, which were integrated via brancards into the case itself. That first run of six pieces increased to thirty-three by 1920, and by the end of the 20th Century, that number stood well in the hundreds of thousands. Indeed, in sheer volume alone, the Tank — in all its various models — is Cartier's largest line of watches.
The Tank Louis was introduced in 1922, followed close on the heels of the Asian-influenced Tank Chinoise. The Chinoise, released amidst a mania for jewelry inspired by the Orient, has a square rather than rectangular case and lugs that resemble the portico of a Chinese pagoda.
From its debut, the Tank would see many variations, each in keeping with Louis Cartier’s taste for clean lines and perfect symmetry. Each variant — from the original Tank to the Tank Louis to the Cintrée with its flirtatious, curvaceous lines — has its passionate devotees. Rudolph Valentino, that sensual star of the silver screen, insisted on wearing his Tank onscreen in The Son of the Sheik, and Clark Gable, Andy Warhol, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were among those who sported a one throughout the years.
Other model lines, including the Santos (based upon the original model crafted for Alberto Santos-Dumont) and the Pasha, have developed devoted followers. Indeed, the maison is unique as one of the few jewelry brands to elicit as much passion from collectors as dedicated watch companies.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Cartier Tank Solarbeat