Icons & Innovators: Cartier: Lasting Legacies

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Tank: Louis Cartier designed the Tank watch as a tribute to the American tank commanders who supported his native France during World War I. The first timepiece was presented to American Gen. John Joseph Pershing in 1917. A simple square case with bold Roman numerals emblazoned on the dial defined the original Tank. Over the years, the design has evolved, changing dimension and shape—from the subtly curvaceous Tank Française to the elongated rectangular Tank Américaine to the fashionably bold oblong Tank Divan. The newest rendition, dubbed the Tankissime and designed for women, has a bracelet featuring rounded, elongated links.


Pasha de Cartier: During the early 1930s, the pasha of Marrakech requested a wristwatch that he could wear in the pool and bath, and Cartier responded with its first water-resistant timepiece. A protective grid fitted over the crystal and a concealed crown further distinguished the design. The jewelry house rediscovered the watch in its archives some 50 years later and introduced the Pasha de Cartier collection in 1985. Last year, the company unveiled a brawnier 42 mm variation powered by a double-barrel automatic movement from Jaeger-LeCoultre. A sporty 40 mm model with a rubber-and-steel bracelet is expected to debut this year. 


Santos: According to Cartier folklore, aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier that he was unable to keep track of time while flying, because he had no free hand to check his pocket watch. Cartier solved this problem in 1904 when he created the Santos-Dumont wristwatch, which the company credits with spurring the demand for wristwatches. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Santos watch in 2004, Cartier introduced a chunky, modern rendition of the classic piece. 

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