Montblanc in recent years has garnered significant attention for its historically inspired collections. From the Heritage GMT and Pulsograph, to its vast 1858 collection, the brand has staked out its place in the market by channeling the vintage designs of historical Swiss maison Minerva, which Montblanc and its parent company Richemont acquired in 2006.
This week, Montblanc has unveiled the second of its 2021 novelties, the 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition 18. The new watch takes the original 1858 Split Second Chronograph design that we first saw in 2019 — itself drawing inspiration from a 1930s Minerva military chronograph (pictured below) — and updates it with an 18K “lime gold” case and dial.
The release comes on the heels of another 1858 collection launch earlier this month, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins LE100, and signals the Montblanc’s sustained interest in the 1858 series. (It also likely hints at more vintage-Minerva-influenced models to come at next month’s digital Watches & Wonders event.)
A closer look at the chronograph reveasls a large 44-mm by 14.20-mm brushed and polished case, produced from a special alloy dubbed lime gold. The alloy is composed of primarily 18k gold and silver, with smaller amounts of additional iron, which blended together provide the distinctly pale yellow-green color of the watch. Other case details to note include the unusual chronograph pusher positioning, with one rectangular pusher above the crown used to activate the watch’s split second function, and the second integrated into the crown — like the one used on the vintage monopusher chronograph that inspired the watch — used to operate the watch’s regular chronograph.
Underneath an anti-reflective-coated box-shaped sapphire crystal lies a gold-colored dial matching the lime-gold tones of the case, with various green, white, gold, and black accents put to use throughout. Distinguishing this watch’s face, of course, are its various concentric scales. On the outermost edge is a telemeter scale, a feature popular on chronographs during the 1950s and used to measure distances based on visible and audible phenomena. In modern situations, the scale is frequently most useful in determining how far away a storm is based on the time between a lightning flash and thunderous boom, but in historical times it was frequently employed by military wearers to determine how far away a shell had impacted from their location.
In the center is a vintage-style, snail-shaped tachymeter scale, used to measure the speed of a moving object over a known distance. The two scales are separated by the dial’s other accents, including its applied and lume-filled green Arabic numerals, running seconds subdial, and 60-minute chronograph register. Two lume-filled, cathedral-style hands indicate the hour and minute, along with two slim chronograph hands, one in green for the split seconds functionality, activated via the 2 o’clock pusher, the other in gold for the traditional chronograph seconds.
Powering the lime-gold chronograph is an integrated chronograph movement dubbed the Montblanc Caliber MB M16.31. Like the case and dial of the watch, the MB M16.31 takes its influence from a Minerva ancestor, specifically the historical Minerva chronograph Caliber 17.29 developed in the 1930s.
The manually wound movement features two column wheels — one driving the chronograph, the other controlling the split-seconds function — as well as horizontal coupling, a power reserve of 50 hours, and a large screwed balance beating at 18,000 vph. The movement is visible via a screwed-in sapphire exhibition caseback, and is finished with an array of luxury finishing techniques including côtes de Genève, inner angling, circular graining, beveling, and the traditional Minerva arrow and V-shaped chronograph bridge.
Pricing and Availability
The Montblanc 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition 18 will be available via authorized boutiques and online in a limited run of 18 total editions, with pricing currently set at 49,500 euros or about $58,847.
To learn more and inquire for purchase, you can visit Montblanc’s website, here.