An appreciation for affordable fine timepieces often goes hand in hand with an appreciation for fine writing instruments. Both require high levels of skill to execute at the highest level. Both combine mechanical precision with a refined aesthetic that expresses one’s personal style. Today, Montblanc is a master of both realms. Here are five affordable Montblanc watches ($5,000* or less) for your consideration.
Montblanc Star Traditional Collection Date Automatic
Since it launched its first wristwatch in 1997, Montblanc timepieces have developed an instantly identifiable style. The Star Traditional Collection Date Automatic offers subtle elegance with a dash of flair. Stylized Arabic numerals mark the hours in a distinctive font that immediately identifies the origins of this timepiece. Behind the numbers, the dial is decorated with an intricate spiral guilloché pattern, while the cardinal points on the minutes track appear in red to add a touch of color. The seconds hand carries the famed Montblanc star-shaped logo, as does the crown. The stainless steel case measures a classic 39 mm in diameter, and a sapphire-crystal display back provides a view of the Swiss-made automatic-winding movement. An alligator strap secured by a folding buckle completes the package.
The Montblanc Star Traditional Collection Date Automatic is priced at $2,875.
Montblanc TimeWalker Collection Voyager UTC
The Montblanc TimeWalker collection offers sporty timepieces with bold, modern styling. The Voyager UTC’s ability to track a second time zone makes it perfect for travelers, and those who need to instantly know the time elsewhere on the globe. The primary time display presents the local time on a 12-hour scale, while the skeletonized hand with the red tip displays the hour in the second time zone on a 24-hour track on the flange surrounding the dial. The light and dark colors on the 24-hour track create an easy-to-read day/night indicator.
The thin bezel on the 42-mm case creates an open look that gives the watch added presence on the wrist. The design allows for an extra-large dial, improving legibility. The oversize crown is textured for easy operation, and it carries the trademark Montblanc star-shaped logo. A sapphire display back allows a view of the automatic-winding Swiss-made caliber. A stainless steel bracelet with a triple-folding buckle provides the finishing touch.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Collection Voyager UTC is priced at $4,200.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection Moonphase
Montblanc launched the Meisterstück Heritage Collection to rave reviews at the 2014 SIHH watch show in Geneva. The collection offers classically styled timepieces with modern dimensions and excellent value. The Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase combines several traditional design codes including a bombé dial with sunburst finish, applied indexes, faceted, gold-plated dauphine hands, and differentiated polished and satin surface finishes on the 39-mm stainless steel case.
Of course the eye is drawn to the deep blue moon-phase display with celestial bodies presented in gold. The moon’s phases appear in the traditional manner inside a “double-bubble” dial aperture. This display is incorporated into the date indicator, which utilizes a simple blued hand. A display back allows a view of the automatic-winding Swiss-made movement. A black alligator strap with a traditional pronged buckle round out the package.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection Moonphase is priced at $4,600.
Montblanc Star Traditional Collection World-Time GMT Automatic
The World-Time GMT Automatic offers ease-of-use , and some bragging rights, in a very attractive package. This watch incorporates a patented system that allows the setting of all displays via the crown, and it won the 2011 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the “Petite Aiguille” category.
The case measures 42 mm x 12.6 mm. On the dial, the silver 12-hour hand shows the time in the wearer’s present location. The smaller, red-tipped GMT hand tracks a second time zone on a 24-hour scale that uses dark and light colors to create a simple but effective day/night indication. The outer ring indicates the corresponding world time. The patented setting system controls all dial indications from the crown, and disconnects the movement from the GMT and world time indicators whenever a time zone correction is made. This means the movement continues to keep accurate time while the watch is being reset. The mechanism is integrated into self-winding Swiss-made caliber that is visible through a sapphire caseback.
The Star Traditional Collection World-Time GMT Automatic is priced at $5,000.
Montblanc TimeWalker Collection World-Time Hemispheres – North
Attendees at SIHH 2014 agreed that Montblanc knocked it out of the park, and the two TimeWalker World Time Hemispheres models were among the brand’s highlights. Why are there two of them? Because our planet has two hemispheres. Here’s how it works.
Like a traditional world-time watch, the hour and minute hands display the owner’s local time, and a flange with the names of 24 major cities surrounds the dial. This is where things start to get a little non-traditional. One of the watches covers the Northern Hemisphere, and the other the Southern. The outer flanges on each watch list only major cities in the hemisphere that watch covers. The watch shown below is the “North” version.
The flange with the city names does not rotate – it is fixed in place so the city names line up with the locations of the cities on the maps that adorn the dials. Each map shows the appropriate hemisphere with the geographic North or South Pole at the center. The map is interrupted by a ring that sits beneath the dial marked with the hours from 1 to 24. Turning the crown rotates the ring to display the time in each of the 24 time zones. Now for another trick: the 24-hour ring follows the direction of the Earth’s rotation, so on the Northern Hemisphere watch it rotates clockwise, while the Southern Hemisphere version rotates counter-clockwise. That means each version requires its own unique movement.
What if you frequently travel between hemispheres? All is not lost. Each watch contains a map of the opposite hemisphere, with its city names, engraved on the caseback.
It’s all a bit mind-bending at first, but it makes for a great looking and distinctive world-time watch. Or, should that be “half-world-time”?
The “North” version, shown below, is priced at $5,000.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to figure out where Yakutsk is.
* This article was originally published in 2014; prices are subject to change.