By Stephen Watson for Wynn Magazine
HOW CAN A WATCH FROM 1917 REMAIN POPULAR FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY? It’s a tricky proposition, but Cartier answers the call with its surprise reveal of the Tank Solarbeat.
By addressing the demands of a new generation, Cartier remains true to the classic style codes of the Tank while rethinking functionality and sustainability. Defined by the twin “brancards” representing the treads on either side of its dial, the Tank is said to be inspired by the armored vehicles that helped allies bring an end to World War I. Many of Cartier’s most classic watches often find their origins in technologies that emerged from the machine age and influential design movements like art deco.
“I don’t wear a Tank watch to tell the time. Actually, I never even wind it,” Andy Warhol famously said. He would have loved the Must Solarbeat because winding is out of the question. Using a small photovoltaic cell hidden on the dial, which powers the watch, the Tank esthetic remains the same; however, the solar technology allows for a battery life of more than 16 years.
Once the time is set initially, the Solarbeat is ready to go whenever you are. Even this Tank’s strap gets an overhaul. Made from 40% plant matter, the innovative strap material is composed of waste from apples grown for food in Switzerland, Germany and Italy. The composite material reduces the strap’s carbon footprint and saves water and energy compared to a traditional calfskin strap. Yet it looks and feels remarkably like leather. Radically different but reassuringly the same, the Tank Must Solarbeat delivers everything wonderful about the Cartier Tank, with newfound ease of use and deeply thoughtful production values. It’s a Tank for the future, extending this icon’s esteemed lineage for the centuries to come.