Must Mania: The Challenge of getting a colored dial Tank Must at retail and how you might succeed

In a not even so distant past, the Must de Cartier watches were rarely discussed. Once they passed the time of their initial context, as the “must-have” watch of the 1970s and 1980s, interest was lost. Cartier evolved from a family firm into a global luxury brand because of them, but with that transition also came collections of new watches that made the Must de Cartier Tanks quickly a thing of the past. While precious in nature, with a case made from Sterling silver, coated with a generous layer of gold, they were regarded for a long time as an entry-level watch, almost not worthy of wearing the Cartier name. General interest was lost, and just a few years ago, it was relatively easy to buy one of them for very little money, even those with a mechanical movement and colored dial.

Prices picked up in more recent years, as Cartier enjoyed increased attention from watch collectors, but surged when La Maison announced the return of the Tank Must earlier this year. While their new SolarBeat might be the most innovative one, introducing the first-ever Cartier wristwatch powered by light, it was the three colored dialed Tank Must that became the center of something I can only refer to as a frenzy. With this, they are a testimony of the current state of the watch world, which is one I am personally not too excited about. While very attractive, these watches are the gateway to the world of Cartier for people who want to wear a watch in their signature style but not able or willing to fork out many thousands more for one of their other timepieces. There is nothing wrong with that, but these are usually not the type of watches that create a run among collectors. To make matters even more unlikely, are these watches powered by a quartz movement. If there used to be one thing any “serious” watch collector would run for cover for, this was it.

How things have changed. As soon as the colored dial Tank Musts became available in Europe, people were all over them. Unfortunately, as is the case today, many of them didn’t make it to the wrists of their proud owners to be enjoyed on a daily basis. As they are a one-time only production batch (of which Cartier has yet to reveal how many exactly will be made) and were very well received when initially launched, many ended up in the hands of flippers, sellers, and people calling themselves “watch dealers.” Taken only out of the box, just long enough to snap a few pictures, these watches ended up in no time on your favorite online selling platforms, with asking prices sometimes even twice that of the original retail price.

This is what the watch world has come to today, turning a fun entry ticket into the world of Cartier into nothing more than an asset. This might very well disappoint many Cartier collectors and enthusiasts hoping to get one of the colored dial Tank Must for their own collection. However, their chances of getting one at retail might not be gone entirely, as Cartier is launching these watches in stages. While Europe went first, the rest of the world will follow in September. For those seriously interested in owning one of them, I can only suggest that you let your favorite Cartier boutique know so that they might be able to reserve one for you, or at the very least, let you know when they will be in store for purchase. I do think that the situation in Europe, and the inflated prices of these watches on online sales platforms, will be unfortunately too tempting for many to try to get one to flip. However, it is my sincere hope that most of them will find their way to sincere Cartier enthusiasts who will appreciate the beauty of these colored dialed Tank Must more than the color of the money they might be able to make from it.

3 thoughts on “Must Mania: The Challenge of getting a colored dial Tank Must at retail and how you might succeed

  1. Great point Martin!
    I pre-ordered the green for my wife on the day they were announced, through the very nice Amsterdam Cartier Boutique, and received it, delivered in person by someone working there, on the release day. Alongside it two mini champagne bottles and a cleaning kit. What an excellent experience!
    And this is only the 2nd brand new Cartier I’m ordering – it’s not like I am friends with the owners! They are simply great.

  2. Very well, written article, Martin.

    I hope I could get a hands on these watch but unfortunately look like I will not be able to. The situation here in US seems worse. I went to boutique in Houston and they ask me to pre-order, put full amount but when its time to check out, they told me the watch is sold out.
    No one in the boutique know that these watches were sold out and the whole experience with them was just…….. I then tried contacting another boutique that I used to shop in another state, and again they told me the watches are sold out, anyway the customer services there was just superb. I turned to my last resource which is the AD in NY, they told me that Cartier allocated the certain number of watches for them so they should have no problem getting the watches when it launch. So I put my deposit in so they can order the watch, couple days later, the AD call me to apologize and said the watches are sold out (Cartier will not send them the watches), the AD will issue a refund to me.

    I have bought watches from several brands, I have been on the waiting list for some of the watch for a year or more but this is the only time that the whole process seems too complicated and I could tell that the whole experience trying to get a hands on these Cartier tank must colored dial watches are just horrible. The way Cartier handle the launch and selling of these watches is just not right. It is really disappointed (at least for me) as I really want to add these watches into my collection. I always admire ad love Cartier watches especially tank and vintage Cartier but from now on I think I need to shift away from this thought. Anyway all of these are just my experience, hope you guys don’t mind I’m sharing this. Have a good one, take care.

    1. Thank you for your comments!
      Unfortunately we have heard this from other several readers as well
      and it seems that the staff was’nt prepared to handle a release like this.

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