Davide Cerrato is on fire. He joined Montblanc as head of its watch division in December 2015 after successful stints at Panerai and Tudor and immediately pivoted the brand into a sportier direction with the relaunch of the TimeWalker collection. By combining Montblanc’s history with its movement manufacture — the erstwhile Minerva — Cerrato has been able to tap into a brand identity that goes back over a century and features a hearty dose of mechanical chronographs. Highlights from last year’s SIHH collections — Cerrato’s first — include the 50 mm Rally Timer that can be worn as a wristwatch, as a pocket watch or desk clock, or converted to a dashboard clock in a vehicle of your choice; the Heritage collection, which gave us the gravity-defying Chronométrie Exotourbillon Rattrapante; and the 1858 line which is named after the year the Minerva marque was established in Villeret, Switzerland.
The 1858 collection brings us to our latest release from Montblanc — the Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in bronze with a salmon dial — an SIHH aperitif that signals even greater things to come in 2018. The 2017 collection does provide a guide for this new edition. As noted back in January, these watches definitely have some heft to them at 44 mm and that doesn’t change this time around but after getting a chance to try the watch on, it doesn’t feel quite as big on the wrist as you might expect.
The biggest difference in this first taste of what’s to come from Montblanc is the attractive salmon dial that ratchets up the vintage appeal and recalls Minerva chronographs from the 1930s. Another new addition from last year’s collection is the blued chronograph and seconds hand that play nicely with the muted color tone. Other features such as the oversize cathedral-shaped hands, Arabic numerals, and vintage Montblanc logo carry over from last year’s limited edition model.
And like all chronographs coming out of Minerva, the attractive dial is matched only by the gorgeous movement displayed through an open caseback. The MB M16.29 is a monopusher chronograph caliber with a column wheel mechanism that is directly influenced by an original pocket watch movement from Minerva in the 1930s. The hand-wound movement provides a 50 hour power reserve and the large screwed balance wheel beats at a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations an hour. The rose gold-plated German silver plates and bridges only add to the good look.
The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is limited to 100 pieces and priced at $27,500.