The Cartier Tank is about as iconic as a watch can be. It’s got the stamp of approval of countless celebrities and style icons, as well as history no watch nerd can deny. It’s a worthy timepiece to lust after, but Cartier’s prestigious name commands a premium.
The French jeweler has an entire collection of Tank watches in a range of styles. Prices begin with the Solo, which offers the essential look for $2,550 with a quartz movement (or $3,450 in the “XL” automatic version) and go up, up, up, way into the five-figures. While modern rectangular watches for men are relatively rare — and many look like Tank wannabes — there are a still several good alternatives out there.
The trick is to find a Tank surrogate that offers a similar appeal or cuts a similarly dashing profile on the wrist, but doesn’t break the bank. Here are a few great options that do just that.
Hamilton Boulton Mechanical
Granted, the Hamilton Boulton isn’t quite rectangular like the Tank — but that’s because it’s not trying to be the Tank. The Boulton was introduced in the 1940s when Hamilton was a prominent American watchmaker and elegant, elongated cases such as this were “in.” It’s been a part of the brand’s collection ever since. A quartz option is a bit cheaper, but we like it with a traditional-feeling, hand-wound movement, much as it would’ve had back in the day.
Movement: H-50 Manual
Measurements: 34.5mm x 38mm
Bulova Joseph Bulova Banker
There’s a rectangular model in the 2019 Joseph Bulova collection too, but it wears on the large side, so this model called the Banker seems like a better fit to replicate the Tank’s wearing experience. Even with its tonneau case, the Banker has an archetypal look and feel comparable to that of the Tank. Named for the company’s founder, this collection features Swiss automatic movements and an Art Deco style that references some of Bulova’s earliest watches.
Movement: Selitta SW200 Automatic
Measurements: 33mm x 38.5mm
Baume & Mercier Hampton
Though comparable in shape to the Tank, the Baume & Mercier Hampton takes a slight stylistic turn in a different direction. A longstanding collection, the Hampton was updated for 2020, and its dial design feels a bit closer to the other other most famous rectangular watch of all time: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso. This three-hand model has sizing and proportions that promise the classical look you want in a Tank alternative.
Movement: ETA 2671 Automatic
Measurements: 27.5mm x 43mm