18 Jun 2012

Cartier Tank Americaine Automatic XL Men’s Watch 2609856 Review

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Written by: Cathy Tenzo

Greta Garbo wore one. So did Cary Grant, Truman Capote, and Jackie O. Michelle Obama wears one, too. The  Cartier Tank Americaine was hailed as an instant American classic upon its introduction in 1919, and the Cartier Tank Americaine Automatic XL Men’s Watch 2609856 carries on that tradition of elegance and sophistication. You won’t find any fancy dials or chronographs here–just clean lines and a confident sense of lasting glamour.


  • Stylized Roman Numerals
  • 18K Rose gold octagonal crown set with a sapphire
  • Sword-shaped blue hands
  • Silvered opaline guilloche dials
  • Self-winding automatic movement
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • 30 meters/100 feet water resistance
  • Polished solid 18K rose gold case (rose gold is a silver, gold, and copper alloy)
  • Brown leather strap with crocodile pattern
  • 18K gold buckle
  • $18,000 retail price

Cartier Tank Americaine Automatic XL Men’s Watch 2609856 owes its timeless design to an unusual inspiration. Louis Cartier created it in 1917 after seeing tanks on the battlefront. WWI has left a sophisticated legacy–a watch with a design that is both square and rectangular when viewed in two dimensions, but with a curve so that the watch forms to the wrist. The proper curve that leads to such fine proportions is technically difficult for the watchmakers to achieve, but it’s the combination of all three of these shapes that has created such a classic.

When you’ve got a watch this spare and slinky, all the details have to be right, and they mostly are. The rose gold case perfectly complements the brown alligator-patterned leather. The watch has graceful sword-shaped hands, like most of the watches in the Tank line, and the dials have a subtle repeated pattern (guilloche) which adds to the overall feeling of order and simplicity. The crown set is embellished with a sapphire.

Photo of the Guess Complex Rectangular Dial Men's Watch 6514197

Based on the classic styling of the Cartier Tank Americaine, this Guess watch has more dials.

While this would be a great watch for the smart set, I have to wonder if the sapphire would fall off  the crown over time. I doubt that the trendsetters of Hollywood are as rough as some of us are on our things. While the watch has oodles of class, it doesn’t have many of the features that men are often looking for in a watch, such as multiple dials. If you like the shape of the watch but you want more dials, you might want to check out the GUESS Complex Rectangular Dial Men’s Watch 6514197. This has the classic frame inspired by the Cartier Tank with three dials and a lot of visual variety, and as an added bonus it should only set you back about $225. That’s considerably less than the Tank Americaine, but then again, it’s only following in the footsteps of this icon. If you like the watch, but not the color, you should peruse the whole collection at the Cartier website. There’s a large variation in colors, and some are embellished with diamonds, in case you’d like something just a little more flashy.

Cartier has a record of high customer satisfaction, and many people report that they’ve got their parent’s or grandparent’s Cartier watches, still in perfect working order. The Cartier Tank Americaine Automatic XL Men’s Watch 2609856 is a watch which you’ll be able to enjoy in your lifetime, and to pass on to future generations, knowing that simple good taste and clean lines never go out of style. There’s a reason that so many taste makers have picked this one, and it’s a clear winner for an investment in style and beauty.

Photo of Jackie O and Warren Beatty beside a Cartier Tank Americane watch

Jackie O, Warren Beatty, and the iconic Cartier Tank Americaine watch they favored.

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