The Cartier Tank watch has an unmistakable look: a rectangular-shaped analog timepiece with a classic leather strap. First released in 1918 and created by Louis Cartier, the Cartier Tank is the brand’s most iconic timepieces and is often considered as the most iconic watch in the world.
The Cartier Tank is not one type of watch. Since its release, the brand has come up with different versions, which have common design features: a shape with similar have proportions similar to the tanks from World War, Roman numeral markers, and sword-shaped hands. Bob’s Watches lists some of the Tank’s sub-models: Tank Francaise, Tank Solo, Tank MC, and Tank Cintree (read more about the Tank’s history and see models here).
The design of the Cartier Tank is described as somewhere between a square and rectangle. In a New York Times article about the celebration of the Tank’s 100th year, it quotes watch expert and author of “Cartier: The Tank Watch,” Franco Cologni as saying: “Much of the magic of the Tank resides in the ambiguity of its form which predisposes it so marvelously to geometric games.”
Today, a Cartier Tank watch could cost anywhere from $4,000 to $50,000, depending on the model and year it was sold, and the resale value is very high. Not everyone can afford these price tags, so for this article, we’ll talk about some of the best tank watch alternatives available for much more affordable prices. We’ll include watches created by respected brands, so you’re sure that the quality is still top-notch. You can learn more about tank watches in this article we featured on the site, as well as this list of the Best Rectangular Watches for Men.
Best Affordable Cartier Tank Alternatives
Peugeot Vintage Rectangular Watch
This is a popular alternative to the Cartier Tank, often mentioned in articles, and talked about in online discussions. Peugeot has a number of tank watch styles of different styles and sizes, such as this rectangular watch.
This Peugeot watch (model 3036BK) is a 26mm watch with a stainless steel case and leather strap with a tang buckle. The dial is white with a combination of index and Roman numeral markers (placed at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock). The hands are colored metallic blue, giving a nice pop of color to the dial.
The strap is a Croco-embossed black leather, and the quartz movement of this watch is manufactured by Seiko.
Seiko SUP880 Rectangular Watch
The Seiko SUP880 is an affordable rectangular analog watch that has the same classic look as the Cartier Tank.
This is a 28.5mm stainless steel, solar-powered watch with a Japanese quartz movement. Once this watch is fully charged, it will have up to 12 months of power reserve. The white dial has Roman numeral indexes, with a classic leather band.
A similar Seiko quartz model, which is about the same size as the SUP880 but with a gold-tone case and index markers is the Seiko Men’s SUP896. This one’s also solar-powered and has a crocodile-texture calfskin band.
Both of these watches have excellent reviews, with many customers loving the retro, classic style and lightness—an elegant watch that can be worn in both casual and formal occasions.
This watch is also included in our Best Rectangular Men’s Watches article. See other models featured here.
Caravelle Rectangular Watch
Caravelle is under the same company as Bulova. The brand, which was formerly called “Caravelle New York,” is considered to be the American watchmaker’s more affordable line; an entry-level collection of good quality watches.
One of their tank-style models is the rectangular Caravelle 43L202, which has a simple silver-white dial on a stainless steel case. Priced at around $100 or less, this model has a croc-embossed leather strap, Roman numeral markers, and has a water resistance of up to 30m.
Another option is the Caravelle 43L203, which is the same design but has a stainless steel case and dial, with double-press buckle closure.
Hamilton Boulton Quartz H13431553
This watch has a rich history. According to the Hamilton website, it was first introduced by the company in 1941, and eventually became one of the brand’s most popular watches. It was re-released in the 1980s with some changes in shape and size.
The Hamilton Boulton Quartz rectangular watch is for those looking for a vintage-style timepiece—a classic American style with an Art Deco aesthetic. This quartz model, which is 31.6mm x 27mm in size, has a gold-tone stainless steel case and bezel, and a white dial with Arabic numeral markers (with minute markers on the outer rim). The strap is a Croco-embossed leather, and there is a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
Another model that was also re-introduced by the brand is the Hamilton Boulton Mechanical watch, which is available in white and blue dials. These have Roman numeral markers and have an H-50 hand-winding mechanical movement.
Read more about Hamilton in our watch review article about the brand here.
Citizen Steel Rectangular BM6550-58E
The Japanese Citizen Paradigm (model BM6550-58E) is a tonneau-shaped timepiece with a black dial and a 33mm x 31mm silver-tone stainless steel case. There is a date window replacing an index marker at 3 o’clock, and the hour and minute hands are luminous.
As with all Citizen watches, this watch does not need a battery, as it’s powered by any type of light. This is called the Eco-Drive technology, which we talked about in this article about solar watches.
Those who want something fancier but has a similar look, there’s the Citizen Men’s BL6067-54E Palidoro Eco-Drive watch, a stainless steel watch with a bezel accented with diamonds.
Bulova Quartz Stainless Leather Watch
This Bulova quartz tank-style watch, which is off the brand’s popular Classic Collection, has a gold-tone stainless steel case with a silver-white dial and a date display at 6 o’clock. One of the features that stand out is the curved mineral crystal and the gold-tone hour and minute markers.
The strap is brown, crocodile-grain leather with buckle closure, and the water resistance is up to 30m. This watch also has a black leather strap version (the 47mm Bulova 96B269), which has a black dial and a silver-tone stainless steel case and markers.
Learn more about Bulova and its collection in our Bulova Watch Review article.
Orient Star WZ0011AE
The Orient Star watches have many versions of tonneau-shaped watches. One of the simpler designs closer to the aesthetic of the Cartier Tank is the Orient Star WZ0011AE watch, which has a Japanese automatic movement with an analog display on a silver dial. This watch has a 35mm stainless steel case with a crocodile-embossed calfskin leather strap. This model also has a second hand stop function between three and six o’clock.
Orient Star watches are considered as one of the Orient’s more expensive models, as they are entirely made in Japan. You can read more about the Orient Star collection and some of the brand’s other lines in our Orient Watch Review article.
Another tonneau-shaped model you can consider is the Orient Star WZ0141DA, which has a semi-skeleton feature between 8 and 10 o’clock and has a combination of Roman numerals (on 12 and 6 o’clock) and index markers.
Baume & Mercier Hampton Rectangular MOA10020
The Baume & Mercier Hampton MOA10020 model is a classic analog watch with a stainless steel case, silver dial, rose gold-tone hands, and Arabic numeral markers. This watch, which runs on a Japanese quartz movement, has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a water resistance of up to 50m. The size is 27mm x 40mm.
A similar, more luxurious model is the Baume Mercier Women’s 10023 Hampton Ladies’ watch, which has similar features and has the same size as the MOA10020, but with a bezel with 20 (0.38 carat) diamonds.
Baume & Mercier is a Swiss watch company known for its luxurious and sophisticated watch designs. To learn more about the brand, you can read our Baume & Mercier article here, where we talk about the company’s history, as well as some of its most popular collections.
Longines Dolce Vita L126.96.36.199.6
The Longines Dolce Vita L188.8.131.52.6 has a classic rectangular stainless steel case and bracelet, with a silver flinque dial and Roman numeral hour markers. There is a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. It’s one of our top picks for ladies Longines watches.
Another equally beautiful watch of the Dolce Vita collection is the Longines L5.7184.108.40.206, a bigger version for men or those with bigger wrists—a 27.70mm x 43.80mm with a stainless steel case and a black alligator leather strap.
Ralph Lauren Stirrup
This watch collection was featured in our Equestrian Watches article. The stirrup design has been part of the brand’s posh equestrian-styled watches early on and continues to enjoy popularity today.
The Stirrup collection does not have the same shape as the Cartier Tank, but they have similar, straightforward styles and unique silhouettes.
One of the most popular models is the Swiss-made Ralph Lauren Petite Steel Stirrup, which is a 23.3 mm x 25 mm stainless steel case and an off-white dial. The markers are Roman numerals, and the hour and minute hands are sword-shaped. The strap is a brown calfskin, and the movement is RL057 caliber quartz.
Brand new watches from the Stirrup collection can be purchased on the brand’s website, but there are also many pre-owned models available on eBay.
Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso Q2538420
Those who are looking for a luxury watch that has a similar look to the Cartier Tank, there’s the Jaeger Lecoultre Classic Reverso watches, which include the Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso Q2538420.
Even if you’ve never worn this on your wrist, you may be familiar with the iconic Reverso as it’s been featured on in popular culture, on the wrist of Don Draper in Mad Men to Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.
This model has a simple, classic design of a stainless steel case and a silver dial (40 mm x 24.4 mm) with Arabic numeral hour markers, blue steeled hour and minute hands, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The strap is black crocodile leather, and the water resistance is up to 30m.
This watch has an automatic movement (Jaeger LeCoultre calibre JLC 965) and has a power reserve of up to 38 hours.
Another similar model is the Jaeger LeCoultre Grande Reverso 976, which also has Arabic numeral markers with minute markers on the outer rim. What makes this different is the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
If these watches are too expensive, you can also check out other similar, more affordable watches on our list of Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Alternatives. Like this list, the feature will also give you other more affordable brands to consider that have a similar vibe as the Reverso at a fraction of the price.