At last year’s SIHH, Montblanc launched its Heritage Chronométrie collection, with designs inspired chiefly by the 1948-era Pythagore timepieces created by the storied Minerva manufacture in Villeret, Switzerland (now known as Montblanc Manufacture). This year, the brand adds two new complications to the collection: an unusual date indication and a chronograph with annual calendar.
The two new timepieces — the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Twin Counter Date and Montblanc Heritage Chronograph Quantième Annuel — join their predecessors in the collection, all of which bear the design codes of the Pythagore, including elegant Arabic numerals; faceted, applied indices; sword-shaped hands; slender cases; straight bezels; and curving lugs.
The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Twin Counter Date takes its look from double-counter Minerva chronograph watches from the 1950s, but it does not in fact include a chronograph function. What it does contain is a brand-new date complication, developed and manufactured totally in-house, and powered by the automatic Caliber MB 24.23. The movement, which includes 31 jewels and has a 38-hour power reserve, is visible through a clear sapphire caseback.
The date indication is displayed on the large, easily legible subdial at 3 o’clock rather than in a more traditional date aperture. A small, blued-steel hand points to the numerical date on the graduating scale. The date counter is balanced by a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, also with a blued-steel hand, featuring a red numeral “60.”
The watch’s 40-mm-diameter, polished steel case is only 9.85 mm thick and features curved lugs with satin finishing on the inside surfaces. The dial has a silvery-white sunray finish and rose-gold plating on the faceted sword hands, applied indices, and applied Arabic “12” and “6” numerals. The distinctive Montblanc emblem appears in relief atop the crown. The black alligator leather strap is made by the Montblanc Pelletteria, the brand’s own leather manufacturer in Florence, Italy. The entire timepiece, like others in the collection, is certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, which simulates rigorous, real-life situations for a total of 500 hours, guaranteeing its high quality and precision.
I had the opportunity to try on both new models at SIHH in Geneva. Below is a wrist shot of the Montblanc Heritage Twin Counter Date. The watch will be priced at 2,850 euros on a strap and 2,950 euros on a steel bracelet.
More in keeping with Minerva tradition, the other new watch, the Montblanc Heritage Chronograph Quantième Annuel (below), does feature a chronograph function, in addition to another popular complication, an annual calendar.
The watch, inspired by one of the first chronograph wristwatches created by Minerva in the 1920s, keeps things clear and legible on the silvery-white, sunray patterned dial despite the multitude of functions: all the chronograph-related hands are in blued steel while the hands for the hours, minutes, seconds, and calendar functions in plated rose gold. The blue central hand counts the chronograph seconds, the sectored subdial at 9 o’clock displays the elapsed minutes (up to 30), and the subdial at 6 o’clock tallies elapsed hours (up to 12). Each subdial also serves a dual purpose for the calendar indications: the days of the week are displayed at 6 o’clock, the date at 12 o’clock, and the months at 9 o’clock. Adding intrigue to the calendar indications is a sophisticated moon-phase complication that occupies the subdial at 3 o’clock. A rose-gold hand points to four rose-gold-plated moons, each representing one of the four principal lunar cycles — new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter.
This complex timepiece (with 10 hands in all) is powered by Montblanc’s automatic Caliber MB 25.09, with a 42-hour power reserve, which is visible through the caseback. The watch comes with a special Montblanc-branded pin that is used to easily set the calendar functions via four individual correctors positioned in the middle-piece of the case.
The rose-gold case of the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Chronograph Quantième Annuel measures 42 mm in diameter and 13.83 mm thick. Rose-gold plating appears on the faceted sword hands, hour indices and Arabic numerals. Like its companion, it’s fitted with an alligator leather strap from Montblanc Pelletteria and has passed the stringent requirements of the Montblanc Laboratory 500 Test.