Montblanc recently launched a new collection called 1858, inspired by 1930s pilots’ watches from the brand’s archives. At launch, two models have been announced, the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition, in gold, and the 1858 Small Second Limited Edition, in steel.
The first model is the 1858 Small Second Limited Edition comes in a 44-mm-diameter by 10.95-mm-thick stainless steel case and features a large-diameter (37.2 mm) hand-wound movement reminiscent of those in pocketwatches from the same time period. The 17-jewel, 3-Hz (21,600 vph) caliber powers the watch and is visible through the sapphire caseback. It carries a power reserve of 46 hours.
The matte black dial with large, printed luminous Arabic hour markers – along with similarly large rhodium-plated poire squelette hour and minute hands – is both attractive and easy to read. At 6 o’clock, the Arabic hour numeral has been omitted to fit the small seconds subdial. The historical Montblanc emblem is printed in white at 12 o’clock.
A domed sapphire crystal protects the dial. Water-resistance is 30 meters. The Montblanc 1858 Small Second (Ref. 113860) is paired with a black alligator-skin strap with stainless steel pin buckle; limited to 858 pieces, it will retail for $3,395, available in late fall 2015.
The second timepiece, the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition, is powered by a movement whose inspiration is the beautifully finished Minerva Caliber 17.29 from 1929. This pocketwatch-sized movement is housed in a polished, rose-gold, pilot-style case measuring 44 mm in diameter and 13.15 mm thick.
Like the historic model, this modern pilots’ watch features a beveled winding crown with an integrated single push-piece that operates the chronograph start/stop/reset functions.
The newly designed caliber MB M16.29, based on the historic Minerva Caliber 17.29, is a hand-wound monopusher chronograph movement with a column-wheel and horizontal clutch. Notably, it features the iconic engraved “V” chronograph bridge, which has been protected by Minerva since 1912. Caliber MB M16.29 beats at 2.5Hz (18,000 vph) and has 252 total components, including 22 jewels, and a 50-hour power reserve.
All of the components have Geneva stripes with hand-beveled component edges. According to the manufacture, “The horizontal coupling in this classic construction is combined with a lever that holds the chronograph’s hammers and is finished off with a little arrow, the visual signature of Minerva.”
This is a haute horology timepiece, positioned toward the upper end of the Montblanc collection, which covers a wide breadth of price points. Accordingly, the movement is exclusively assembled, adjusted and finished by hand at the prestigious Villeret manufacture (formerly Minerva, now owned by Montblanc).
Like the time-only steel model, the gold chronograph has a matte black dial with large, printed Arabic numerals marking the hours, with the exception of 3 and 9 o’clock, which is where the 30-minute chronograph counter and small seconds are located instead, respectively. A white tachymeter scale is printed on the perimeter of the dial. Also in white is the historic Montblanc emblem, printed at 12 o’clock. Large red gold poire squelette hour and minute hands, along with a gold baton chronograph second hand with a red tip, finish off the vintage pilot dial.
The hour markers and hour and minute hands are treated with an “aged” luminous material. And the dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal, with a sapphire caseback showing off the exquisite movement. The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter (Ref. 112637) is water-resistant to 30 meters and is paired with a black alligator-skin strap with an 18k rose-gold pin buckle and is limited to 100 pieces. It will retail for $32,900, available late fall 2015.