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Tank Mast (Solo)

Tank Mast (Solo)

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Click here to watch a video about tank masts.

Here, we will explain the differences between the Tank Must and Tank Louis Cartier, which are very similar models available in the current line.

Why are there such similar watches?

That's the story, but if you look back at the history of this model, I think it becomes easy to understand.

There have been several very similar models in the past, but if you put yourself in Cartier's shoes, it makes sense.

If you don't know much about masts, I think that by reading to the end you will be able to master 90% of it, so please read to the end.

Why is "Tank" somewhere in the model name?

First, understand that there are several Cartier watches that have the name "Tank" somewhere in their model names.

For example, Tank Française, Tank Américaine, and now Tank Mast.

There were many more models available, including those that were discontinued.

So, why is "tank" added to this? It's because it represents the fact that it is derived from a tank.

In other words, anything with "Tank" in its model name has a Tank as an ancestor.

Therefore, although each model has a slightly different design, they are all basically shaped like a tank.

This prototype refers to the "Tank" that was born in 1917.

Tank Design

To explain in detail would make the story a little complicated, so I will give a simple explanation here: the first model had a rectangular style similar to the Tank Louis Cartier.

Therefore, this rectangular style can be considered the ancestor of the tank.

Now that you have a basic understanding of tanks and their derivatives, I will explain their history so that you can understand the need for this model.

History of the Mast Series

History of Cartier's Must-have Watches

The story goes back to the 1970s, when Japan's Seiko successfully developed quartz watches, which led to a decline in sales of hand-wound and automatic watches worldwide, dealing a devastating blow to Swiss watch brands in particular.

What was valuable about a watch up until then? Of course, the brand power was important, but it was also the ability to combine individual parts made by craftsmen to create a highly accurate watch.

Therefore, the movement (the mechanism that makes the watch work) also has great value, which is why it is called a luxury watch.

However, the advent of the quartz watch changed people's values.

Cartier was also involved in the quartz shock, but since Cartier originated as a jewelry brand, it had no qualms about adopting quartz movements and decided to actively adopt them.

Here, two lines are created.

One was the Louis Cartier Collection, which mainly featured high-end watches, with movements that were hand-wound or automatic as before, and cases made of 18-karat gold or white carat.

For more details, please watch this video, which explains it in detail.

The second is the Must Do collection, which started in the late 1970s.

The case is made of sterling silver (925/1000) with 18-karat veermeil applied over it, giving it a luxurious look but making it inexpensive to make.

The movement used was also an inexpensive quartz watch.

For more information on the Must Do Collection, please see this video:

This is where the word "must" appears for the first time.

The reason for developing these two lines was that by selling the Cartier brand at a slightly lower price while maintaining the dignity of being a luxury brand, they hoped to attract not only the wealthy but also people below the wealthy.

Therefore, a new series, ``must'' meaning ``a must-have'', has been added to the lineup.

From the birth of Tank Solo to Tank Mast

This must-have collection was such a popular model that it was a long-running hit and continued to be produced until the early 2000s.

Then, in 2004, the Mast Collection fulfilled its role in the next generation of the Tank Solo.

Although the Solo does not have the word “Must” in the name, its actual role is that it is a model that uses materials from the Tank Louis Cartier, and since the “Must” series was discontinued and replaced with a new model, it has inherited the role of the “Must” series.

The Tank Solo has been on sale since 2004, but this watch will also retire in 2021 and be replaced by the next model.

For more information on tank soloing, please see this video:

So, what was the next model to take over? It was the "Tank Mast."

To sum up what we have discussed so far, the Must Series refers to a series of Cartier watches that are reasonably priced and can be purchased.

Now that we know the history leading up to the Tank Mast, let’s take a look at the differences between the Tank Mast and the Tank Louis Cartier.

Discover the Differences Between the Tank Mast and the Tank Louis Cartier

Please see the image below↓

Difference between Tank Mast and Tank Louis Cartier Front

Here is a comparison of the two models from the front, with the Tank Mast on the left and the Tank Louis Cartier on the right.

Both are LM size and the comparison was made under the same conditions, but at first glance there is almost no difference.

You can see that the solo one was a lot easier to tell apart.

Now let's zoom in and take a closer look at the dial.

Comparing the dials of the Tank Must and Tank Louis Cartier

When you look at the dial, you'll notice that it's a little different; the Mast model has an off-white dial.

The Louis Cartier is whiter than silver and features guilloche engraving on the inside of the minute rail.

Guilloche engraving is a type of decoration that is generally applied to high-end models of watches, and it has the effect of enhancing the luxury feel of the watch and reducing reflections from sunlight.

I was able to see that there was a difference between whether or not effort was put into the dial.

Next, let's look at the crown.

Comparison of the crowns of the Tank Must and Tank Louis Cartier

This is not something that is immediately obvious, but you can see that the mast is slightly bulging and the Louis Cartier is pointed.

The reason the Louis Cartier is so pointed is that, as mentioned at the beginning, the watch was inspired by the floor plan of a tank, and the crown is designed to resemble a cannon shell.

Also, the materials used for these crowns are different.

The Louis Cartier is fitted with a natural blue sapphire stone, while the diamond model is set with a diamond stone.

On the other hand, the mast is made of a man-made stone called spinel.

Of course, spinel is more affordable, so this is one way of differentiating it.

Let's take a look at the materials used in each model.

Comparison of materials between the Tank Mast and Tank Louis Cartier

Looking at the materials, it is surprising to see that the Tank Mast is only available in stainless steel.

Even if there is one, it will only be a diamond model and will not be available in yellow or pink gold or a combination of these with stainless steel like other models.

The role of the Mast series is to replace materials and movements with cheaper ones, but with such a limited lineup, it can be a little difficult to choose.

Considering that the previous model, the Tank Solo, was available in pink and yellow gold plated versions, this feels a little disappointing.

Let's take a look at the differences in materials compared to the Tank Louis Cartier.

When it comes to Cartier watches, there is no cheap stainless steel to take the top spot.

The case is made of the finest quality 18K yellow and pink gold.

As there are no stainless steel models of Louis Cartier, I think the easiest way to tell them apart is to first look at the materials used.

Let's take a look at the dial variations

In addition to the standard model with an off-white dial and Roman numerals, there are also colored dial versions that were popular in the 1970s.

The standard model is called the Tank Must watch, but the colored dial version is respectfully called the Tank Must de Cartier watch as a homage to the 70s.

Now let's take a look at the color dials.

Cartier Tank Must de Cartier Watch (Navy, Green, Wine Red)

This is a reissue of the same colorway that was released in the 1970s.

Although it has a simple design, typical of Cartier, it does not feel lacking in anything and is an elegant and beautiful watch.

However, the three colors mentioned above cannot currently be found on Cartier's official website, and appear to have been discontinued.

Considering that it was released in 2021, its production period was quite short, so it is likely that the price will not rise much in the future.

Currently, only the black version is available for purchase.

The difference between the Must de Cartier from the 1970s and the Tank Must from 2021

Black is, of course, cool, but I think it's a color that helps express your individuality, so it's a shame that the options have become more limited.

Compared to the one made in the 1970s, there seems to be almost no difference, but the crown of the one from the 1970s is more rounded, giving it a cuter look.

Also, if you look at the dial, you will notice that the 1970s model has the word "must de" on it, whereas the 2021 model does not.

The main difference between the cases is whether they have 18k vermeil (gold plating) or not; those from the 1970s were made of sterling silver, which is plated over pure silver, which is 925% pure silver when silver is considered as 1000.

When you think about it this way, you can see that the 70s were better just by looking at the materials.

However, they were still developed as an inexpensive line, and I think this is what makes vintage watches so appealing.

Check out the size of the tank mast

Cartier Tank Mast watch size range

Tank masts are available in three sizes: SM, LM, and XL.

Generally, Cartier watches have SM followed by MM, but for some reason this model skips MM and goes straight to LM.

The reason for this is unclear, but I suspect that Cartier had some sort of size standard that prevented them from making it in MM size.

In fact, the Solo also did not have an MM version, so this also shows that it is the successor to the Solo.

So, the question arises of which are ladies' and which are men's, and this can be answered by looking at the movement.

The SM model has a quartz movement, so it's clear that it's aimed at ladies.

Women like to look fashionable on their hands, so they often wear false nails, which makes it difficult to turn the crown. Additionally, women are less active than men, so automatic watches are difficult to wind.

Therefore, generally, all brands have quartz movements at the core of their ladies' watches.

LM is generally a men's size, but this Mast is unisex because it uses a quartz movement.

And since the XL has an automatic movement, it's clear that this is a size aimed clearly at men.


It would have been nice if they had continued to offer the color dials, but they have been discontinued, and I can't help but feel that the variety is significantly more limited compared to the previous Tank Solo model.

My overall impression is that men will be able to choose from these, but I think it might be difficult for women to find a favorite among the stainless steel models alone.

The diamond model comes in small and medium sizes, so it caters to women as well, but it may be that it's becoming more of a model for men.

That said, it is only the second year since its launch, so like the Solo, we are likely to see limited edition releases of a variety of dial designs in the future.

At that time, there will almost certainly be Christmas models available that will be popular with women, so we recommend that you understand this as basic knowledge for then.