CARTIER Tank Must
Introduced in 1977 in response to the Quartz crisis of the time, the Cartier Tank Must was to be launched as a more conservatively priced alternative to its Tank predecessors.
The Cartier Tank Must traded the brand's traditional dial for bold coloured, minimalistic dials and replaced the traditionally solid gold case with gold vermeil. These changes along with a predominantly quartz offering resulted in a popular and competitively priced timepiece, variations of which are still present in the current collection.
The must maintains its position within the Cartier collection as an entry-price luxury timepiece with many of its models still powered by a quartz movement.
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The Cartier Tank collection was first introduced in 1917, its original design being inspired by the military tanks of WW1, since then the collection has seen the addition of many variations but all with the original design at its core.
The Must de Cartier Tank was released in 1977 as a more accessibly priced option in comparison to those that had come before it.
As with many watches released by brands at this time, Cartier was contending with the so called ‘quartz crisis’ when the mechanical watch market was being challenged by cheaper, quartz watches being introduced by the Japanese market for the first time.
Unlike previous Tank models, the Must was made using Gold Vermeil instead of solid gold to offer that lower price point and was equipped with an ETA based mechanical or a Quartz movement but still maintained a simplicity in its design that had come to be expected of Cartier. It maintained the rectangular shape with its solid tracks with a softened edge, that ran the length of the dial and seamlessly became the lugs that held the leather strap in place.
With the first run of the Must de Cartier Tank came a watch that was without the recognisable train track minute counters and Roman numerals but instead offered vivid coloured dials with no markers.
The collection was a huge success and is still sought after on the preowned watch market.
The Tank Must is still in the Cartier collection of exquisite timepieces and maintains its position as the entry point collection. The modern collection comprises predominantly quartz movements encased in steel cases but does offer some mechanical options in larger case sizes.