Cartier is a brand that knows how to manage its hero designs. Few brands have as many iconic designs under their wings as the Parisian Maison. The Tortue is one that you may not be as familiar with as the Tank and the Santos. That could very well be because it hasn’t been in Cartier’s collection for a while now. Well, until today, that is!

Join me for a first look at the 2024 Cartier Tortue lineup. There are five new references, consisting of three time-only models and two chronographs. All are part of the Cartier Privé collection. Unfortunately, though, this means they are limited to rather small quantities.

Cartier Tortue Hours/Minutes

First, we have three models named “Tortue Hours/Minutes.” What’s in a name? Well, the fact that these are two-handers and shaped to the Tortue template set way back in 1912. A tortue, meaning “tortoise” in French, is clearly visible as a source of inspiration for the case. However, Cartier has updated these new versions with more elegant, longer lugs and a slim profile.

Cartier Privé Collection Tortue Hours/Minutes gold

The new Hours/Minutes models measure in at 41.4mm long by 32.9mm wide. Additionally, the thickness comes in at a mere 7.2mm for what I can only assume to be a perfect stance on the wrist. You have a choice of an 18K yellow gold version with a finely grained gold dial, a platinum version with an opaline dial, or a diamond-set platinum version. The gold one features a sapphire cabochon in the crown, while the platinum version has a ruby, and the iced-out platinum variant has a diamond in the crown. Both platinum models come with applied rhodium-plated Roman numerals. Contrastingly, the gold model has its dial markings printed in black for a more classical Cartier look.

Inside ticks the Piaget-based caliber 430 MC, specially adapted to fit the Tortue case. This is a hand-wound movement measuring a svelte 2.1mm thick. Additionally, the power reserve is 36 hours, and it ticks away at 21,600 beats per hour.

Cartier Privé Collection Tortue Monopoussoir platinum

Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph

One of my all-time favorite watches in Cartier’s back catalog is the Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph. So it thrills me to report that this version will also make a comeback this year. The original debuted nearly a century ago, in 1928. Cartier last produced it under the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP) line between 1998 and 2008, so after 16 years, it was long overdue.

Today’s version measures 43.7mm long by 34.8mm wide and 10.2mm thick. Yes! A chronograph right around the 10mm mark! Take note, pretty much every manufacturer! This is made possible by the caliber 1928 MC, which is put on display behind a sapphire window on the case back.

You have a choice of an 18K yellow gold version with a finely grained gold dial and black printed Roman numerals or a platinum version with applied numerals. Again, the gold version has a sapphire cabochon in the crown, whereas the platinum one has a ruby. The dial has received some aesthetic updates from the 1998 version. The space around the circular dial within the tonneau-shaped aperture is filled with decorative triangles. The sub-dials have been cleaned up, reducing the number of numerals from 12 to seven double-digit pairs across the two registers. Combined, these updates anchor the round dial within the tonneau case a bit better. As much as I love the old versions, these feel even more balanced.

Cartier Privé Collection Tortue Hours/Minutes gold

Initial impressions

You have probably already gathered that I absolutely love Cartier’s new additions. I always have something to complain about or some little detail I would change, but here, I simply don’t. These offer classic designs, perfect sizes, and lovely details. My pick would be either of the yellow gold models as I like the warmth and prefer the printed numerals. The glossy black paint on the frosted gold dial is close to perfection in my book.

So, do I really have nothing to complain about? Well, okay. I don’t like the fact that, with these being Privé Collection models, I will never own one. All are limited to a meager 200 units…well, except for the diamond-set Hours/Minutes model. That one is limited to just 50 pieces. With the price set to “on request,” that leaves little hope of ever acquiring one. I mean, Cartier might as well call it the Torture instead. Let’s hope we’ll see a version in the regular collection sometime in the future. The time-only model in steel would be fire.

What do you think of the new Cartier Privé Collection Tortue models? Let us know in the comments below!