The Cartier Tank ranks up there with some of the most recognizable and popular watches on the market.
That being said, there’s never any harm in taking a dive into the same ‘sandbox’ of watches to see what others are around.
So, with that in mind, we’ve put together 20 watches that look like the Cartier Tank.
The Cartier Tank and its Unorthodox Design Inspiration
The history of the Cartier brand can be summed up in their most iconic pieces of jewelry:
- The Trinity de Cartier, three interlocking rings of white, yellow and rose gold signifying friendship, fidelity and love respectively
- and the Panthère de Cartier, which used representations of panthers to highlight the unique power of women’s fashion
Eloquent metaphors for elegant adornments.
So, what about the Tank?
Well, it’s based on a bloody tank. That’s right, Louis Cartier wanted to branch out from the field of ‘feminine jewelry’ by making a watch that would attract men.
And so, he came to the conclusion that there’s nothing more attractive to men than the birds-eye-view of a Renault 17 tank.
The funny thing about the Cartier Tank is that, once you hear its origin story, you really can’t stop seeing it. As Cartier explains the design principle, “Brancards as the tracks and the case as the turret.”
Designing a luxury watch based on a tank might seem strange today but at the time, the tank was the most advanced machine around. Moreover, people had high hopes that it might break the deadlock of the world war.
So, Louis Cartier wasn’t moving all too far away from his high-minded design principles in that respect.
Since 1917, Cartier has developed a few different off-shoot designs of the Tank. All of these designs are both masculine and elegant — not an easy combination to master!
20 Of Our Favourite Cartier Tank Lookalikes, Homages and Alternatives
So, in this list of 20 watches that look like the Cartier Tank, we will be focusing primarily on that iconic ‘Renault 17’ design but adding a few twists here and there, too.
Without further ado, let’s jump into our list.
- Peugeot Vintage
- Peugeot Vintage Rectangular Watch
- Caravelle 43L202
- Citizen BH3000-09A
- Seiko SUP880
- Bulova Quartz 97B162
- Bulova 96A169
- Citizen Steel Rectangular BM6550-58E
- Wittnauer Omni WN3093
- Rotary LE90012-05
- Hamilton Boulton Quartz H13431553
- Wittnauer Laureate WN3075
- Oris Rectangular Date Automatic
- Bulova Banker
- Hamilton Boulton Mechanical H13519711
- Longines Dolce Vita L5.7188.8.131.52
- Baume & Mercier Hampton Rectangular MOA10020
- Baume et Mercier Hampton Automatic 10528
- Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Q2538420
The Peugeot Vintage is perhaps one of the best bargains you can get on the watch market these days. Its beautiful elongated and contoured case is filled with a subdial that’s almost the same size as the main dial, with those gorgeous arabic numerals. What’s more, there’s a decent Seiko quartz movement inside, so you can add ‘reliability’ to its list of qualities too.
Equally ‘vintage’ but with more adherence to the Cartier Tank’s design principles, the Vintage Rectangular even includes metallic blue sword hands like the Cartier. It also has a crocodile-embossed leather strap to give it that extra ‘aged’ feel. They also use the same Seiko movement in this piece as the last.
Caravelle is a Bulova brand and this piece reflects their origins in the Art Deco hub of New York. Generally known as the ‘more affordable’ of Bulova’s lines, Caravelle offers beautiful watches for ‘entry level’ collections. What’s particularly nice about the 43L202 is the silver-white dial in the stainless steel case.
Such a classy watch and at such a low price! What’s particularly impressive here is the date function, which appears as a small window at 6 o’clock but is so well constructed that the watch is a total of only 7mm thick! Throw in those alpha hands and stylized Roman numerals and this is a steal for under $100.
For me, there are two parts of this watch that I adore: the ‘ballon bleu’ style crown, reminiscent of the Cartier, and the machining on the dial that reminds me of a good linen shirt. What’s even more impressive is that the dial is actually the solar panel that powers the watch and, when fully charged, is said to give it a power reserve of 12 months! If the aesthetic isn’t enough to sell the SUP880 then that power reserve has to!
For those of you who enjoy a more flashy watch then look no further than the Bulova 92B162. Its gold-tone stainless steel case has a curved mineral crystal over a silver-white dial that flashes brilliantly from under a shirt cuff. There’s also a date window at 6 o’clock, making it more than just a piece of flashy jewelry.
In quick succession, we move from flashy to futuristic. Ths 96A169 keeps the domed crystal but underneath is a multi-toned blue dial with brilliant silver hour markers and skeleton hands. The strap also looks like some futuristic plate armor, finishing off the ‘analog sci-fi’ aesthetic exquisitely.
Speaking of ‘analog sci-fi’, have you ever wondered what a mechanical crocodile might look like? Well, this strap definitely gives that sensation and the inner mesh-like dial adds just enough detailing to the Tonneau-shaped dial to give it some texture. Using Citizen’s famous Eco-Drive technology, this is also solar powered so buying batteries won’t be a necessary hassle.
Wittnauer is another Bulova brand hailing from New York. The shape of the case, the bracelet and the minimalistic hour markers and dauphin hands make this a solid expression of Art Deco minimalism. However, the four diamonds inset at 12 and 6 o’clock just give it that extra bit of detail most often seen in examples of Art Deco architecture.
At 46mm in width, this Rotary is an impressive construction, just like the Art Deco buildings it imitates with those smooth stepped brancards. It has an automatic movement with a date function that shows itself in a bold date window at 6 o’clock. Part of the Les Originales collection, the LE90012-05 is a confident, formal watch with plenty of heritage.
What is not to love about this watch, really? The curved bronzed brancards are from a Steampunk dream and the hour markers are unlike any made since flappers drank bathtub gin out of flower vases. Measuring just 27 x 31.6mm, the result is an exquisite piece that would look great on any wrist.
Moving away from bathtub gin towards the Rockefeller side of the 1920’s with this piece, the Laureate is definitely a flashier number. Just 30mm wide, the inset jewels and the ornate band make it a feast for the eyes. It also uses a Citizen quartz movement, so it’s as reliable as it is extravagant.
Looking at this watch is a little like looking through the Looking Glass since, at first glance, the numbers look as disheveled as the Madhatter’s table. And yet, look more closely and you’ll not only see that it’s perfectly balanced down the center but you’ll also spy a tiny date window at 3 o’clock. Beneath its domed sapphire crystal, there is an ETA automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve, too.
The Banker comes from the iconic Joseph Bulova collection and is one of the more fun Art Deco watches out there. The curve of its 33.5m case makes it almost square, like the Cartier, and the domed sapphire crystal matches the vintage look of its arabic numerals. Containing a Swiss automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve, the Banker is limited to just 350 pieces so get in there quick!
The Boulton Mechanical, as you can see, is distinct from the quartz Boulton featured above in many ways. At a glance, the most striking features of this watch are those brilliant blue alpha hands but look more closely and you’ll see the space in the center is actually created by the curvature of the Roman numerals. The 34.5mm case can afford to be simple thanks to that ornate crown that adds the kind of detail you can expect from the 1940s.
Look for any watch in the Tank’s league and the first example you will come across time and again is the Longines Dolce Vita. And for good reason, the silver flinque dial with trademark blue obelisk hands is a masterstroke of Longines design. What’s more, there’s an automatic movement that boasts a 40-hour power reserve and a date function, which emerges through a bold window at 6 o’clock.
A Japanese quartz movement powers this Hampton from within a 27 x 40mm case. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protects the delicate flashes of rose on the hands and hour markers. I love the sunburst effect from the machining around the edges and that the small date window breaks through it at 3 o’clock.
The Hampton Automatic is another beast altogether. Although they have kept the fanfare of machining to the outer edge of the silver opaline dial where the hour markers are, the Hampton Automatic is a much more robust watch than the Rectangular in many ways. The ETA automatic movement boasts a 42-hour power reserve and a date function, too, so you really get a lot for your money here.
What would this list be without a nod to the Reverso? It’s true that its price tag is far above that of the Cartier but you get so much for it that it’s hard to leave off. Apart from the obvious ‘reversible’ function, the Reverso looks and feels like you’re wearing a miniature ornate clock from Grand Central rather than any watch made by mortal hands and there’s no doubt that you would treasure it for a lifetime.
So, What Is The Best Watch That Looks Like The Cartier Tank?
There are tons of watches out there that have adopted the Art Deco style in such innovative ways.
Thus, there is an argument for limiting these recommendations by price alone.
The reason for the Peugeot Vintage appearing here is that it really is unlike most watches you will see. Plus, let’s face it, that’s one of the main reasons for opting for the Cartier Tank over an Omega or Tag.
The dial being divided almost equally in two was a popular stylistic choice at the beginning of the 20th century. However, it has been sidelined for other styles in recent years, which really brings out the ‘vintage’ aesthetic.
Moreover, Peugeot has been making ‘vintage watches’ since before we defined what ‘vintage’ was and yet the movement is as modern as they come.
Looking to spend a little more?
In that case, there really is no better option than the Longines Dolce Vita. Let’s take a look at why that is.
Aside from its excellent automatic movement, its date function is brandished like a beacon from that window at 6 o’clock. And then there’s the design which, in my opinion, is even more impressive than the standard Tank.
Those blazing blue obelisk hands, the inner ring of minute markers, and those audacious Roman numerals you could only really put on a rectangular watch. Not to mention the skyscraper-esque brancards that are similar to the Rotary but much more refined.
All in all, the Longines Dolce Vita is as good a watch as the Cartier. And if you have a bigger wrist, I’d argue it’s even better.
So, what do you think of our list of 20 watches that look like Cartier Tank? Get in touch with B on Instagram to let him know which one you’ve gone for!