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Another oldie but goodie: The Cartier Tortue Mono Poussoir

by Geo Cramer on March 3, 2014
Watches

When I was asked to write a few words for Deployant about the Cartier Tortue Mono Poussoir, I did not hesitate a minute, since this model is still one of my favorite pieces from the Cartier collection.

Cartier launched the Collection Privée, Cartier Paris Series (CPCP) in 1998. The collection ran exactly 10 years and was replaced by the high end Fine Watch Making collection.
CPCP was in facr a series of mechanical watches, based on historic designs to show the watch connoisseurs what Cartier had to offer, since at that time the brand was known as a company producing many quartz based time pieces.

The Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir. Magnificently executed, beautifully made.

The Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir. Magnificently executed, beautifully made.

Most of the models in this collection, were designed for the men’s market and every year a few new models were added to the collection. Most movements were hand wound and mechanical by companies as JLC, Piaget, Frederique Piguet, some had automatic calibers by Gerald Genta or Girard Perregaux.

The guilloche dial with Breguet numerals and hands are classically proportioned.

The guilloche dial with Breguet numerals and hands are classically proportioned.

The Tortue Mono Poussoir was one of the models from the first bunch. What grab me immediately was the fact that the watch has, from a visual point of view, such a great resemblance with the original model from around 1928. The dial, the Breguet style hands and the way the sub dials were placed on the dial, were all details that helped to get that great vintage look.

There were of course some differences, the crown was done differently and the case was thicker and larger, measuring exactly 43x35mm.

The Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir movemetnt. Made by THA, this is a technically interesting movement.

The Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir movemetnt. Made by THA, this is a technically interesting movement.

While the vintage model had a solid gold crown and a closed back, the crown of theCPCP version was gold set with a sapphire and the case had round window showing the newly developed caliber 45MC.

Detail of the bridge, showing the Cartier logo. These were the days where laser engraving was a novelty, and manufacturers found reasons to show off this technology.

Detail of the bridge, showing the Cartier logo. These were the days where laser engraving was a novelty, and manufacturers found reasons to show off this technology.

This exclusive caliber was designed by THA ebauche. THA is a company that was formed  top watchmakers Francois Paul Journe, Denis Flageollet and Vianney Halter.
As far as I know, the caliber 45MC was only used for the three Tortue Mono Poussoir models, for the Tank Mono Poussoir and for the Mono Poussoir from DeBethune the DB01.

Cartier Tortue Mono Poussoir movement detail showing the column wheel.

Cartier Tortue Mono Poussoir movement detail showing the column wheel. Note that this is a customer owned watch, which is several years old, and from the looks of the black markings on the column wheel is need of a service.

The calibre 045MC has also the special feature of a clutch system with a swivel pin.
Which in fact means that the transmission of the movement of the second wheel of the base movement to the chronograph’s central wheel is effected through a double swivel pin.
The advantage of this clutch is that it suppresses the skip of he hand at the beginning of a translation movement, which is found with the mechanisms of chronographs with a lateral clutch.

Movement detail, showing the balance wheel. The movement is nicely finished, and marked with the Cartier logo on the bridges in place of a more traditional Geneva stripes style finish.

Movement detail, showing the spring. Note the bridges are aesthetically pleasing with sensious curves. The movement is nicely finished, and marked with the Cartier logo on the bridges in place of a more traditional Geneva stripes style finish.

Really unique of a Mono Poussoir or Single Pusher movement, is of course the fact, that all functions of the chronograph are operated through that single crown. Not only a clever invention, but it also gives the whole look of the watch a less busy, less sporty and more dressy appearance, which makes it actually the only Chronograph watch that can be worn as easy in combination with a pin stripe suit suit and cufflinks or with a more sporty outfit like shorts and and a pair of Todds.

Deployant's Desirable Crystal is surprised the Cartier Tortue Mono Poussoir fits perfectly on her petite wrists.

Deployant’s Desirable Crystal is surprised the Cartier Tortue Mono Poussoir fits perfectly on her petite wrists.

These Tortue Mono Poussoir models can still be found sometimes at auctions, but they do pop up in a boutique ones in a while. Last week when I was visiting the Ngee AnnCity Boutique in Singapore I noticed that a white gold Tortue MP had just come in. A brand new piece, like the one we described here, just in a slightly larger case, measuring 48x38mm. Quite a chance for the lucky one.

GEO, based in France, studied design at the School for Visual Arts New York
and is a former graphic designer of record & CD covers. Currently he is contributor for Revolution and Troisanneaux.com. Very passionated about Cartier and Independents in particular. When not writing, photography is his main hobby.

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