Though the Santos and Tank take centre-stage, Cartier’s Tortue has a comparably lengthy history which often touches on interesting mechanics. From perpetual calendars to the extremely intricate monopoussoir, the Tortue has cased some of Cartier’s most interesting projects of recent decades. One of the least discussed iterations from the storied CPCP years is this 8 Day Reserve. That’s a shame, because the dial is about as artful as I’ve ever seen from any era of Cartier.
The Tortue case was Cartier’s third-ever model, after the Santos Dumont and Tonneau. It started as a time-only watch but quickly thereafter played host to complication, with the first monopoussoir and minute repeater making waves in 1928. Cartier’s return to focus on watchmaking in 1998 with CPCP brought complication again to the Tortue case. Often, the watchmaking was a joint effort as is the case here.
This 8 Day reserve is made possible through Cartier’s calibre 9910 MC, which is a JLC 876 ébauche. JLC’s 876 debuted in 2003 and was the first eight-day movement made by la grande maison. Mechanically, that means this Cartier receives a grande date, petite seconds, and power reserve indication all scattered across its rosette guilloché dial. The treatment Cartier gave that arrangement truly feels like art. It may lack the golden ratios of a Lange 1 dial, but still feels absolutely correct in its design quirkyness. While this case is given the name Tortue XL, its 38mm dimensions are more approachable than one might think (if a bit less classic). In sum, a rather serious Cartier that manages to blend exceptional watchmaking with design and history seamlessly. A watch that plays directly at Cartier’s strengths of late.
This example displays minimal surface wear across its highly polished exterior. These cases are particularly mirror-like for their large metal volume, and this one appears to have seen very little wrist time. Its dial is similarly unmarred. It comes with its original white gold buckle from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Tortue 8 Day Power Reserve here from Dunaliga for 18000 USD.