Panthere, Tank Americaine and Tank Francaise: A comparison of Cartier watches
Cartier is synonymous with prestige and quality. The iconic luxury brand has captured the heart of the most discerning audiences worldwide and received its first Royal Warrant issued by King Edward VII in 1904. This appointment confirmed them as official purveyors to the King and subsequently to other Royal Families. Since then, they remain seen on the wrists of those with the most refined taste.
Not only are the newest editions and designs of their jewel-encrusted watches coveted, but there is a huge interest for collectors of vintage Cartier pieces to own a slice of history. Some collectors search for years to own some of the most iconic watches in fashion history. The Panthere, the Tank Americaine, and the Tank Française are three of the most sought-after Cartier watches known for their luxury craftsmanship and superb design.
The Cartier brand is known for its strong heritage that informs design choices today, but owning the original piece that inspired today’s collections is a unique statement. The differences can be subtle in places, but these three watch designs are all icons in their own right – here’s how they compare.
Synonymous with Cartier, a panther is an inspiration behind the Panthere watch and other designs that carry the emblematic animal. The intrigue of the panther as an elegant and untameable animal made its way into Le Maison de Cartier in 1914, making it as much a part of the brand as the name Cartier itself.
Launched in 1983, the Panthere watch epitomises 1980s sophistication and glamour. Designed to fit into this decade of decadence, the Panthere was the watch to be seen. Celebrities like Madonna and notable public figures wore the Cartier Panthere throughout the decade. It’s said the Panthere is as much a piece of jewellery as it is a timepiece, making it a joy to wear. It is adorned in gold, diamonds, and gemstones and is always bound to make a statement.
The Panthere was an icon of 1980s fashion, but it still has a place in today’s society. The Panthere is a symbol of elegance and status, even more so now than it was forty years ago, and is often seen adorning the wrists of Hollywood A-listers like Zendaya, Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa.
With vintage pieces being sought after throughout the world, this classic timepiece will be a welcome addition to any collection.
The history that surrounds the Tank watch models is fascinating. Designed in 1917 by Louis Cartier and released in 1919, the Tank models, in general, came at a time when pocket watches were still the norm.
Cartier distinguished themselves not only for helping the world transition to wristwatches but also by choosing a rectangular shape, as opposed to many other watch manufacturers who were opting for round wristwatch faces echoing their predecessor, the pocket watch.
The Cartier Tank collection is inspired by the tanks of WWI battlefields. This stunning timepiece boasts flat vertical brancards and sapphire glass, making it unique and elegant yet bold and daring. The Tank line has been relatively unchanged during its existence as its iconic design, and timeless styling remains popular to this day.
Whilst there are other pieces in the collection that were released between 1917 and the 1930s, the Tank Americaine is a relative newcomer in the Cartier collection. With its main release in 1989, this watch helped mark the era of bigger watches whilst still remaining an excellent option for an everyday wearable watch.
The first releases of the Tank Americaine were powered by quartz and gave purchasers the option of adding a moon phase, sub-seconds dial, and even a chronograph.
In 1993 the watch transitioned from quartz power to a mechanical 430MC movement. Older models of the Tank Americaine had a sapphire cabochon. The watch also gave the appearance of being curved but, in reality, had a flat face back and curved front panel.
There have been various iterations throughout the years. Whether in yellow gold, white gold, or with crocodile straps, the Tank Americaine is gorgeous and a great addition to any fine watch collection.
Released in 1995, the Cartier Tank Française was designed to be more contemporary and sporty while continuing to carry the heritage of days gone by. Whilst it still maintained many of the original design elements, such as the sapphire carbon and the blue steel hands, the Cartier Tank Francaise was an icon in its own right.
One of the main differences between the watch was the angular design, both in the watch case and the bracelet itself. The latter is said to have been modelled after tank treads, paying homage to the history of the watch collection itself.
Choosing between the Cartier watches
Whichever one of these Cartier watches you decide to add to your collection, be assured that you will own a discerning timepiece that fits the bill as both vintage and timeless.
From the iconic Panthere, whose namesake animal is almost the mascot of this luxurious brand, to the classic Tank Americaine, or the more sporty Tank Française, any of these watches will fit beautifully in a vintage watch collectors collection.