From Princess Diana, Jacqueline Kennedy, to Michelle Obama, they’ve all worn the Cartier Tank. The original sprouted a collection, but the OG is what turns the most heads. We’re happy that Seiko decided to pay tribute to it. We’ve reviewed some of the best in our Seiko Tank review.
The device was designed by Louis Cartier himself. As you can tell from its name, he was inspired by the military vehicle. More specifically, the Renault FT-17. The first of the Tanks were gifted to John Pershing, in 1918, at a victory celebration. The rest is history. A whole collection spawned.
Homage pieces pay tribute, but they don’t exactly copy them. They also cost way less. As mentioned, Seiko has some pretty great ones. Let’s finally get into them.
Compare the original Tank to it. From a distance, you’ll not be able to tell the difference. But closer up, you’ll notice that it’s smaller. It stretches 0.70 inches (18 mm) across.
The dainty device has a leather strap. It’s not made from fancy leather like Cartier’s piece, but it’s still a great quality one. It’s not too thick, so it won’t make your wrist sweat. If you didn’t know, wearing a lot of the material will leave you soaked.
We have to say, Seiko did a good job with its band. It’s embossed to look like crocodile skin.
It has a thick case. This is something seen in the Tanks. Its case is gold, which a specific Tank model also rocks. However, unlike it, the gold is just plated on.
There are bold Roman numerals. They are placed on a white textured dial, making them pop. Its more expensive alternative did not come with a textured display.
Something else it doesn’t share with its counterpart is its window. You’re met with Hardlex. It is Seiko’s proprietary crystal. It can handle a bit of a beating. Meanwhile, Cartier placed sapphire on their device. Sapphire is the toughest glass around.
But a similarity they share is that they’re both quartz. Of course, it is Japanese, while the Cartier watch rocks the Swiss type. Something neat is that the homage timepiece is solar powered. This means that you won’t ever have to replace its battery. The cherry on top is the fact that all kinds of light sources charge it up.
The Seiko SUP250 has hands that are not as arrow-like. You also get an inner border with jewels, which its French counterpart doesn’t have. No, they aren’t real. They’re synthetic pieces of glass.
It is water-resistant. You probably shouldn’t get it wet, though. Leather’s horrible at being water-proof. The manufacturer says that it can handle up to 100 feet (30 meters) underwater.
We think this Cartier Tank homage looks the most like the original. To begin with, there is no jeweled border, unlike the entry above. You’re getting a plain face full of large Roman numerals. The font on them looks very similar to the Cartier device.
Of course, it is not identical. This would make it a replica, not a homage. The SFP608’s dial has a sunburst effect on it. This explains the metallic sheen. When you hold it at certain angles, it’s stunning.
It wears a chunky case. It’s quite flush, similar to its counterpart. No surprise, it’s not made from expensive gold. It is stainless steel, with the metal-plated on. Its case is about the size of the Tank. It is 1.18 inches (30 mm).
Speaking of size, its band isn’t thick. You’ll be relieved as it’s leather. Once again, it’s nothing too high-quality. But it’s made to look like crocodile skin.
Like the SUP250, Seiko did not copy the Cartier Tank’s hands. They are not very arrow-like.
The timepiece is water-resistant. It can handle 100 feet (30 meters) underwater. If you remember, we said getting it wet was not a good idea – leather stays soaked for a very long time.
The company’s favourite crystal is in place. It’s Hardlex, so it can handle a beating.
What kind of mechanism does it have? It is Japanese quartz. Unlike the SUP250, it is not solar powered. This is a bummer as it would’ve been more convenient. However, this makes it more like the original as it was not solar powered either.
The timepiece is a lot like most Tank homages, it’s around 1.18 inches (30 mm). Its case stretches 1.12 inches (28.5 mm) across. Its leather strap isn’t large, thankfully. Like the other entries, the leather on it isn’t super high-quality. That being said, Seiko made it look rich. It’s embossed to look like crocodile skin.
The device doesn’t look exactly like the original. To begin with, it has a jeweled border. The ornate dots on it are identical to the ones on the SUP250. Speaking of the SUP250, it comes with a dial that’s textured too. You can essentially think of it as the men’s version of it.
That being said, its case is quite flushed. This is one of the first things you notice about the Cartier Tank. Its Roman numerals are big as well. We think Seiko did a fabulous job with them.
You’re looking at a Japanese quartz unit. If you’re a fan of solar pieces, you’ll love the Seiko SUP880. Its solar mechanism lasts for a year once fully charged, which is something you only get from the best. All kinds of light sources charge it.
Yes, it’s water-resistant. This is something we’ve seen in the brand’s pieces time-and-time-again. Just like the other entries, it can withstand 100 feet (30 meters) underwater.
What about the glass on its window? Hopefully, you’re a fan of Hardlex as it’s present once more.
Its crown is peculiar. It’s very jewel-like, with a piece of coloured glass in the center. The Cartier piece’s crown is shaped a bit more outwards. It also has more edgings around its corners. This lets you grip it easier. The other 2 tribute watches we discussed come with such crowns as well.
Like them, its hands don’t try to look like the Tank at all.
From all of the homages on our list, the SUP896 looks the least like the Cartier watch. Remember that the timepieces aren’t meant to be identical, so you can’t be mad. We’re pretty big fans of it – Seiko did a good job with its build.
It has a chunky case like its counterpart. It has a leather strap as well. Thankfully, it’s not thick. But it has stitching on its sides. This isn’t something you see from the original.
You don’t have to look close to notice that they’re not identical. The colours on their dials are completely different. The SUP896 rocks a gold-toned one.
Something else that’s a major difference is the absence of the Roman numerals. Instead, you’re met with slim rectangular markers. They’re gold, so they blend in with its display. This isn’t the best if you’re in a dim-lit setting; the watch would be hard to read.
Of course, its case is gold plated and not made from the real deal. None of the above were made from the metal, so there’s no reason for Seiko to do so for the SUP896.
It’s water-resistant. What’s great is that it can handle more water than the above units. It’s resistant up to 165 feet (50 meters). This means you can swim with it, but it’s still no Seiko Sumo, though.
We don’t recommend taking it to the pool. Remember what we said how badly waterproof the material on its strap is.
The timepiece is as big as most Tank homages. Its case stretches 1.10 inches (28.1 mm) across. But unlike them, it doesn’t try to replicate its crown. It is a simple gold one. It’s grooved well. You’ll easily be able to grip it.
No surprise, it’s a quartz unit. We say this as the Cartier Tank is small. Automatic mechanisms require many gears. For devices paying homage, they’ll find it hard to insert them into such petite builds. If you didn’t know, Seiko’s known for their automatic movements.
You’re not looking at just any quartz piece. It is solar-powered. It lasts for about 1 year once fully charged. It will also be charged from any light source.
Cartier Tank’s are some of the most esteemed pieces a watch collector could own. The original has quite the history to it, so it’s great that there are homages around. Although we think Seiko does them the best, some fabulous brands pay tribute too.
Not only does the Japanese watchmaker make their pieces look similar, but they build their tribute pieces well, and make use of quality quartz movements. Many of them are solar-powered, which makes them even more convenient.
Their collection of homages stretch from looking almost identical to and inspired by the French timepiece. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll be able to help yourself.
All in all, we’re fans. We regularly talk about the watch company on our Facebook page. If you’d like to learn more about them, do check us out!
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