The most popular rectangular watches to date are the Cartier Tank and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso.
Other brands have tried copying these two iconic timepieces to no avail.
They can’t match the elegance and beauty that these watches present to users.
But which of them is better?
Here’s a comparison of their features that will help you decide which is best suited to your style.
The Cartier Tank Watch
Legend says that Louis Cartier got the design of the Cartier Tank from the Renault FT-17 light tank’s treads.
But it’s more plausible that he got it from updating the Cartier Santos’ design.
Whatever the story is, the fact remains that making the military connection worked great for marketing the Cartier Tank.
The first Tank model was released in 1919.
Through the years, various styles of the Tank were developed.
The Cartier Tank’s popularity made it one of the most sought-after and most copied watches of all time.
Popular celebrities who own a Cartier Tank are Princess Diana and Yves Saint Laurent.
- Unisex design
- Highly legible watch face, thanks to the good color contrast between the hands and the dial
- Endless variety of styles to choose from
- More affordable compared to the JLC Reverso
- Power reserve of up to 40 hours
- Cartier is less prestigious compared to JLC in terms of brand name
- No lume on hands
- Expensive for its basic features
The JLC Reverso
The JLC Reverso was created in 1931 as the answer to a challenge raised at the end of a polo game.
It started when a polo player challenged the Swiss businessman Cesar de Trey to develop a watch that wouldn’t get smashed during a polo game.
De Trey presented the opportunity to Jacques-David LeCoultre, and the watch with a reversible face came to life.
Several special editions of the JLC Reverso were presented to prominent figures.
Some of them were given to members of the royalty and celebrities.
Pierce Brosnan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon are some of the actors seen wearing the much-coveted timepiece.
- Highly durable build, especially when you use the reverse face of the watch
- High resale value because of the brand’s prestigious name and history
- More innovative variants are available compared to the Cartier Tank
- You can get two watches in one
- Power reserve of up to 45 hours
- Poor legibility under low-light conditions
- Quite expensive for its basic functions
- No lume on the vintage watch face
Comparing the Tank vs Reverso
The article will tackle the Cartier Tank W1560017 and the JLC Grande Reverso 3782520 Ultra Thin Duoface because these models have more similarities compared to other timepieces in the respective collections.
The Tank and the Reverso both feature rectangular-shaped cases.
The 18kt rose gold case of the Cartier Tank measures 40.5mm x 35mm and has a thickness of 5mm.
It has a solid case back with inscribed details about the watch.
The Reverso also has an 18kt rose gold case that measures 47mm x 27.5mm, with a thickness of 9.5mm.
The front and back sides of the watch feature different faces.
The case still features a solid case back.
The Tank and the Reverso have a fixed bezel in 18kt rose gold.
The Cartier Tank’s crown is set with a cabochon sapphire for a more luxurious look.
On the other hand, the Reverso’s crown has a basic design but is large enough to grip with ease.
The Cartier Tank features a silver-grained dial with Roman numeral hour markers.
It has an inner ring with minute markers and blued steel hands in the shape of a sword.
You’ll find that the Tank doesn’t have a second hand.
This is where the Reverso’s reversible watch face outshines the Tank.
On the front, you’ll find a silver dial with index hour markers and a single Arabic numeral hour marker at the 12 o’clock position.
A small seconds subdial can be found at the 6 o’clock position of the watch.
On the reverse side of the Reverso, you’ll find a black watch face with guilloche texture.
The main dial has lume-filled index hour markers and sword-shaped hands.
At the 6 o’clock position, there’s a 24-hour dial that can be used to track another time-zone or as a day-night indicator.
The Tank has a mineral crystal, while the Reverso has scratch-resistant sapphire crystals protecting both watch faces.
The Tank features an 18-jewel Calibre 430 MC hand-winding movement that has a power reserve of up to 40 hours.
The Reverso, on the other hand, features a 21-jewel Caliber 854/1 manual winding movement.
When fully winded, it can last up to 45 hours of use.
The Cartier Tank and the JLC Reverso both sport an alligator leather strap with a tang clasp.
It’s expected that neither the Tank nor the Reverso will have incredible water resistance ratings since they’re not diver watches.
The Cartier Tank has a water resistance rating of 20 meters while the Reverso is resistant up to a depth of 30 meters only.
The Cartier Tank costs around $11,000 to $14,000.
On the other hand, the JLC Reverso is priced at $13,000 to $18,000.
In terms of design, the Tank and the Reverso aren’t that different from each other.
But when you consider the additional time zone you can track with the Reverso, it’s a clear win for the iconic timepiece from JLC.
Putting in a bit more money to get the JLC Reverso might be more practical than buying two different watches.
But if you don’t need to track different time zones, the Cartier Tank is more than enough for an excellent rectangular-shaped watch.