Cartier is one of the few brands that pampers it's heritage and history a lot;
actually more than any other brand.
Naturally since Cartier is one of the few companies that has an incredible rich history and
has always used it cleverly.
Instead of constantly inventing and introducing new designs, the brand chooses to use their
famous shapes and styles from the past and alter them slightly, to fit the different taste and
style of today.
Completely new designs are added to the mens catalogue, but with great care
and only once in a while.
Besides the ladies and quartz models, that are not mentioned here,
the Pasha, Roadster, Rotonde, Ballon bleu and the latest addition, Calibre de Cartier
are the only really new design (mechanical) examples that appeared since the last 25 years.
An important and early example of fine watchmaking is the 'Tortue Mono Poussoir'
that was released in 1928.
In the thirties Cartier worked very close with Jaeger (le Coultre) and
Cartier also obtained more complicated movements from the European Watch & Clock
Company, that supplied calibers for the different Cartier models like Tortue,
Tortue Mono Poussoir, Tank Cintrée, Tank a Guichets and probably a few more.
Not many of these Tortues have been produced and when a vintage Tortue MP,
occasionally appears at auctions it fetches a handsome price.
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 the first Chronograph watch
that really fits a Brooks Brothers suit.
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.
Collectors were happily surprised when Cartier presented the 'Collection Privée Cartier Paris'
in April 1999, to find a re-release of that famous Tortue MP, in yellow gold.
Quite a bit larger and thicker than the original model, to make it more masculine
and to fit the new Swiss movement.
But with a case size of 45x35 mm, still not a really large watch.
The handwound movement, calibre 045MC, is a THA ebauche.
THA is a company that was formed by 'Halter, Journe & Flageollet' so this calibre is their work.
Only the dial of this first yellow gold model comes só close to the early pieces.
Around the same time, the watch was also released in white gold version, with a modern dial,
that had just the number 12 in romans and really small 5 minute markers,
which gave the watch a very different and contemporary look, from the yellow gold version.
The trend and demand for larger watches moved on and the Tortue MP became larger.
The newer version came in pink gold, with a case size of 38x48mm and had a different design dial,
although we really talk about details here, it's still pretty different from the early piece.
Both sizes had the same Calibre 045MC.
The Tank Mono Poussoir is a different beast and was an unexpected surprise,
when it was launched in 2007.
It was in fact the second model, with a Mono Poussoir movement.
With it's pretty large, pink gold case of 34x43mm, the Calibre 045 and released in a
limited edition of only 100 pieces, it was pure candy for collectors.
A very interesting aspect of this watch is the fact, that it is indeed a historical piece
where still very little is known about.
This Tank was originally released in 1935, something I only learned recently.
As far as I know the model has not been auctioned, at least not since the last 15 years
and surprisingly enough the only picture of the historic model, that I know of,
can be found in the book 'Le Temp de Cartier' by Jader Barracca/ Giampierro Negretti / Franco Nencini.
Pictured here on the 'Le Temp de Cartier' book, together with the 2007 version;
Also quite remarkable is the fact that the Tank MP is not mentioned in the important book
'The Tank Watch' by Franco Cologni, that was released nine years later than
'Le Temp de Cartier'.
The pink gold version hardly reached the Boutiques and was sold out almost instantly In 2007.
and sold in fact so fast that some Boutiques did not even know of it's existence.
It was followed up in 2008, by a white gold version, that took a bit longer to sell out completely.
Same watch, same movement and again released in a limited edition of 100 pieces.
These editions are really small, to supply a world with over 200 Boutiques.
These Mono Pushers are excellent examples of good re-releasing of models from the past.
Cartier has created so many timeless designs in their rich past, that I am sure we will see more
of them in the future, equipped with the modern technology of today.
While the company was famous for their case and dial design in the past,
(movements were not an issue at all, at that time),
the company has changed it's vision and concentrates more on in house calibre's
for an important part of it's collection.