CPCP was an incredible undertaking and era of Cartier but, for me, two stand above the rest. Cartier’s Tank and Tortue Monopoussoirs represented the best of then-contemporary independent watchmaking, unrepresented. Let me explain. Think of the Monopoussoirs as a hipster’s 90s independent, with some of the greatest modern names contributing to its THA-ébauche calibre before it was cool to do your own thing. Journe, Flageollet (now De Bethune), and Vianney Halter all had a hand in constructing this truly impressive calibre that was unlike anything else. The monolithic Cartier then shrouded their work in classical elegance. Real scholarship has only formed in the last decade or so around Cartier’s CPCP neo-era and the significant strides independent watchmakers were making on behalf of the marque name.
What’s so special about this monopusher chronograph? The 045 used a clutch system and swivel pin to engage the chronograph wheel. These extra components remove the jolt that the central chronograph hand will experience with a lateral clutch. This was a lot of engineering, a ground-up chronograph redesign for a mono. All for the sake of an elegant chronograph engagement. That’s commitment to the brand ethos, a round of applause please. Bridges and plates were decorated with the Cartier logo and finished to a high standard by hand. The dial is printed blue with a thick guilloché and breguet hands. Around 200 of these calibres could be built yearly, which means there is a total production of just under 2000 pieces (CPCP ran from 1998 to 2008).
The 35x43mm white gold case is unmarred by time here. The elongated curved radius on either flank appears without dent. Its dial is perfect and calibre said to be running well. The watch comes with a full set with Cartier’s original deplyant clasp. It comes from a well-regarded Swiss retailer.
Find this Tortue Monopoussoir here from K2 Luxury for 69000 USD.