Milléchron unveils the latest version of the acclaimed Monarque dive watch, the Monarque M, now equipped with two new haute horlogerie microrotor movements from Vaucher. The Monarque M is the first watch in the world to use both these movements, embodied in two unique versions– the Monarque M Stealth and Saffron.
As the new flagship watch of Milléchron, a young independent watch brand that embodies unique and elegant design, coupled with craftsmanship and materials of the highest quality, the Monarque M is a distinctive take on the luxury sports watch, combining both the elegant svelteness of a microrotor watch with the sturdiness and water-resistance of a proper diver, with a minimalist, vintage aesthetic. The Stealth and Saffron then interpret this foundation in two opposite design directions, but with equally impressive results.
The Monarque M Stealth takes the original Monarque concept to the extreme, resulting in a refined diving watch of elegant design and unsurpassed quality, with a dark, masculine edginess embodied in its anthracite ADLC finish and red accents.
Equipped with a highly-exclusive and sophisticated sandblasted microrotor movement matching the case, featuring a significantly improved rotor design, resulting in superior chronometry and encased in a rugged yet refined, slender case, the Monarque M is accompanied with full Vaucher CLA Chronometry certification. The Monarque M Stealth is the first and only watch in the world to use this sandblasted anthracite variant of the Vaucher 5401. The effect of the fully ADLC Monarque M combined with a matching anthracite microrotor movement creates indeed a rather debonair effect, which few other watches can match.
The Monarque M Saffron, on the other hand, combines a flamboyant, rich yellow dial and bezel that exude the la dolce vita of summer by the Riviera, with a top-tier classically haute horlogerie movement finished by hand, also with Vaucher CLA Chronometry certification. It is indeed rare to find a bright summer watch that features an extremely high-quality and hand-finished case as well as a microrotor movement to rival any from the mainstream high-end brands. Indeed, the surprise when one turns the watch over is a large part of its appeal.
The Monarque M Saffron was borne out of Milléchron founder Benjamin Chee’s personal search, himself a long-time watch collector, for a light-hearted summery sports watch with just the right tastefully rich shade of yellow, that would still be able to hold its own with its high horology movement and exquisitely-finished case, while still remaining understated and elegant in design and refined with its svelte proportions.
It is the first watch in the world to use the classical version of the Vaucher 5401 in its highest finishing specification, now exhibiting significantly improved hand-finishing with four internally bevelled angles, elegantly-shaped bridges and with upgraded timekeeping performance.
The Monarque M features an extremely svelte and refined case – 10.4mm inclusive of domed sapphire crystal and 200m water resistance. The slender case lends a sense of refinement and wears comfortably and elegantly on the wrist. A sapphire bezel with lumed markers in an intentionally minimalist design, recalling the vintage divers of the 1950s, completes the case.
Six distinct facets comprise the lugs and case sides, and satin brushing in three distinct directions is alternated with very fine polished lines that highlight the elegant lines of the case, all done by hand, truly a testament to the impressive case finishing of the Monarque M. This was unbelievably challenging to execute and perfect, with only 10 out of every 50 cases made being finished up to Milléchron’s standard.
The choice of 904L stainless steel, the highest grade of stainless steel used in watchmaking, for the case of the Monarque M, reflects Milléchron’s relentless pursuit of excellence. 904L is eight times greater in material cost than the more common 316L, and requires its own bespoke set of molds which must be replaced more often because of its extreme hardness, but is far more resistant to tarnish and polishes to a higher brightness than its lesser sibling.
It is also far more laborious and requires greater skill to hand-finish, especially with the Monarque M’s six intricate polished lines. As an example of Milléchron’s conscientious attention to detail, even the crown and proprietary deployant clasp are in 904L stainless steel, where lesser brands would not have bothered. And in contrast with ADLC watches from more mainstream luxury brands, the proprietary deployant clasp of the Monarque M Stealth is also ADLC-coated.
Perhaps from afar the Monarque M resembles a fairly standard vintage dive watch, but the distinction is truly in the finer details. For example, the 45 degree faceted hour markers and hands which are designed to reflect light brilliantly, or how the small seconds hand ends exactly at the edge of the ring. The extreme emphasis on haptics and tactility where founder Benjamin Chee went through numerous iterations of the bezel and crown before settling on the perfect one which gave the most satisfying click and turn. How practically everything about the Monarque M is designed bespoke from the ground up, down to the diamond pattern on the natural rubber strap and the groove shapes of the crown.
Finally, the Monarque M is crowned with impeccable pedigree. Each watch is handcrafted individually in the atelier of Philippe Cattin, best known as the co-founder of Voutilainen & Cattin, in the idyllic Swiss alpine town of Saignelégier, in the canton of Jura, with love, great care and utmost dedication, in accordance with centuries of Swiss watchmaking tradition.
Because of the extensive hand-finishing involved, Milléchron is only able to produce 4-5 pieces of the Monarque M per month– a total of less than 60 watches each year. Indeed, the Monarque M in either configuration, is truly an exclusive and extraordinary luxury sports watch, designed by a connoisseur, for connoisseurs. It is not meant for the mass market watch buyer, but designed specifically for the erudite and mature collector who appreciates refined well-thought design and artisanal quality borne out of small atelier component suppliers, and the rarity of a watch made in the tens rather than thousands per year.
As a watch collector himself, Milléchron founder Benjamin Chee understood the need and desire for some prospective owners to try on his watches, but as a young niche and direct-to-client brand, this would be difficult to reach many worldwide. As such he designed a generous trial policy where prospective owners simply pay a 50% deposit and receive a trial watch to wear and enjoy for a week or two. If they fall in love with the watch and decide to buy it, they return the trial watch and receive a brand new piece, and top up the remainder. If not, they simply return the trial watch and receive a refund of their deposit. This policy provides a better and more realistic ownership experience than even brick-and-mortar boutiques, and so will ensure that no one is unable to see and try on a Milléchron watch in person.
To top off an already near-perfect package, all Monarque M owners receive VIP lifestyle and travel benefits such as complimentary hotel suite upgrades and personalized elite treatment at hundreds of hotels worldwide, which will be perfect for when we all can travel again soon! And even more, a portion of proceeds from each watch sold goes to feed and provide shelter for homeless and abandoned dogs through the Gentle Paws dog shelter in Singapore, an endeavor that Milléchron founder Benjamin Chee has supported for the past six years. For those who appreciate unique and elegant design, exquisite quality, rarity and a heartwarming brand story, there is no other watch like the Monarque M.