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Click here to watch the video about "Tortu" ↓

In this article, I will explain about the lesser known Cartier model, Tortue .

It is not often included in Cartier's lineup, so I don't think many people know about it.

However, as it was designed by Cartier, I think the charm of the Tortue is that it has a unique charm in that it is neither round nor square.

By the time you finish reading this article, you'll probably also want a model called "Tortu"!

I'm sure you will agree, so please stay with me until the end.

What kind of model is Tortue? Its appeal and history

History of the birth of Cartier watch models

The order of watch models designed by Cartier is first the Santos-Dumont in 1904, second the Tonneau in 1906, and third the Tortue in 1912.

For more information on Santos-Dumont and Tonneau, please watch this video:

The word Tortue comes from the pronunciation of "tortue," which means "turtle" in French.

It was given this name due to its resemblance to a turtle shell, and it is a beautiful model with subtle curves that are neither round nor square.

The Tortue was originally created as a men's watch, but a ladies' model was later released and has become a popular model among Cartier enthusiasts.

Cartier Tortue early model

This is a Tortue made in 1919, and what's particularly noteworthy is that the case is made out of platinum.

Cartier was the first to incorporate platinum into jewelry, and the fact that they began using it in their watches shortly after starting to use it in jewelry shows how much effort Cartier puts into watches.

This coincided with the time when men's wristwatches were just starting to become popular, and because the popularity was focused on luxury watches, they were made with great care in the materials they were made from.

Of course, Cartier watches at that time were carefully made one by one, the numbers produced were quite small, and those who could afford to buy them were limited to the wealthy such as the bourgeoisie, so it can be said that it was a boom among the wealthy.

Round watches already existed at the time, but Cartier also sold their own design of the Tortue, which was a huge success.

Reappearance in 1928

Tortue was never produced in large quantities, but was always produced in small quantities, which is why there are only a few of them in each era.

However, due to its popularity, in 1928 the company decided to increase production of Tortue and expand its lineup.

The regular Tortue was also on sale, but the one to look out for here is Monopousoir/ Monopoussoir '.

The image of the Monopoussoir at that time

Monopoussoir is a model that combines a chronograph function with the Tortue.

Compared to a normal three-hand watch, it requires three times as many parts to make these movements work.

Because it was originally a jewelry brand company, it did not have the technical capabilities to make watch movements at the time, so it provided funding to other companies to make movements or installed movements purchased from other companies.

At that time, Jaeger-LeCoultre (known as LeCoultre) had a very close relationship with Cartier.

Originally, Jaeger-LeCoultre, as an ebauche maker, also provides many movements to other brands, and is such a reliable company when it comes to movements that even the world's three largest watch companies, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, use Jaeger-LeCoultre movements.

For these reasons, the Monopoussoir was born as a more luxurious line with a more precise movement, and once again became a popular model, especially among the wealthy.

As a side note, the deployant buckles used by Cartier were also made in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre, so if you are interested, please take a look at this video:

The revival of Tortue in 2006

After that, the collections were produced in small quantities but were never publicly released, until the next large-scale release, the CPCP collection in 2006.

To put it simply, CPCP stands for " Collection Privee Cartier Paris ," where Privee means "private" in English, and refers to a collection of revivals of Cartier's most historic models.

Not only the Tortue, but other models have also been reproduced, and these watches are characterized by being produced in limited quantities, with each one carefully crafted by a craftsman.

For more information on CPCP, please watch this video:

Tortue, like the rest of the collection, was made entirely from premium materials.

Cartier CPCP Collection Tortue XL size Pink gold and white gold

The time-only model was released in platinum and pink gold in XL size, again fitted with the mechanical calibre 9601MC, made by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Cartier.

Cal. 9601MC produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Cartier

The reason why Jaeger-LeCoultre was able to provide the movements at this time was because they were both part of the same Richemont Group.

Therefore, other companies such as Piaget and Girard-Perregaux also provide technical support for the movements.

Fewer than 100 pieces of this "Cartier Tortue" were produced, and they sold out in a flash at the time.

Now let's take a closer look at the Monopoussoir.

Like the Tortue, the Monopoussoir is available in XL size and in 18k white gold and yellow gold.

The movement for the Monopoussoir was commissioned by François-Paul Journe, an expert in the development of complex mechanisms, and is equipped with the hand-wound movement Cal. 045MC.

François-Paul Journe, a specialist in the development of complex mechanisms *François-Paul Journe

Cartier CPCP Collection Monopoussoir in White Gold and Cal.045MC

Cartier CPCP Collection Monopoussoir Yellow Gold and Cal.045MC

The Monopoussoir, revived in the CPCP collection, is an almost exact replica of the Monopoussoir that was created in 1928.

It is a one-push chronograph, and the crown also functions as a pusher.

Press the button to start, press it again to stop, and press it again to reset.

Until the mid-20th century, Cartier preferred crown-operated chronographs because they achieved a sophisticated look and were based on the company's philosophy of making its products as simply designed as possible.

The Tortue Monopoussoir from the CPCP collection also uses this design for the same reason.

But later on, designs with two buttons were also developed.

Looking at the Caliber 045MC, we can see that it uses a column wheel to operate the chronograph.

Cartier Watch Monopoussoir Cal.045MC Column Wheel Description

In the 1970s, rising labor costs led to a change from the column wheel type to a cam type that could be manufactured by pressing, but just by looking at the parts that still use the column wheel, which requires human hands, you can see how much effort was put into making this watch.

The movement itself is beautifully finished and perfectly detailed, and this complex movement can be viewed through sapphire crystal.

The reason why the number of watches produced is so low is because the guilloche engraving on the dial and the double C decoration on the movement are done by hand by craftsmen one by one.

It is said that the total time spent on these tasks is 40 hours.

For these reasons, mass production is not possible and the CPCP collection is made in small quantities, with high quality production style.

In 2011, Tortue released a women's model.

Tortue, a women's product, was born in 2011 from the Prive collection.

In 2011, the Privee collection launched the Tortue in women's small and medium size sizes, a line that had not previously been available.

I think it may be difficult to understand the difference between the CPCP and the Privé Collection, so to briefly explain, the CPCP collection includes PARIS on the dial, although not all models do, and the movements are provided by other companies.

The Privé collection no longer has PARIS on the dial, and the movement is made in-house.

Therefore, although the appearance of this model of Tortue is similar to the Tortue from the CPCP era, if you look closely you will see subtle differences, most notably the fact that it contains a different movement.

Now let's take a look at the ladies' MM size movement.

Prive Collection "Tortu" Diamond Model and Cal.430MC

During the CPCP era, Cartier received technology from various companies, which enabled it to produce its own movements.

Looking at the movement, we can see that it is decorated with double Cs just like the CPCP, but these too were carefully applied by craftsmen.

Unusually for a ladies' watch, it is hand-wound and has a see-through back, but attention has been paid even to parts that cannot be seen from the front, making it a watch for mature women.


To sum up, when it comes to watches, Cartier has historically been known as a "design" brand rather than a pure watchmaking brand.

A prime example of this is the "TORTU" model, with its unique form that cannot be imitated by other companies.

Cartier has been recognized as such a design brand, but after CPCP After launching the "Haute Horlogerie" line, the company began to use its own movements and has now truly established itself as a watch brand.

The existence of such watches is hardly known in Japan, but if you take a closer look at the quality of these watches, you will realize that there are other watches to choose from besides Rolex and Omega.