Hard Core: Montblanc focuses on its signature collections at SIHH 2018
When attending events like SIHH, the Press likes to look for trends to report on. Things like colorful dials or quick-change bracelets. One important pattern that’s emerging is brands focusing on consolidating and redefining their offerings.
At SIHH 2018, Montblanc concentrated on three core collections: the 1858, TimeWalker, and Star Legacy lines. Here’s an overview with highlights from each grouping.
The 1858 collection has always been a crowd pleaser because aesthetically, they offer an elevated casual look. This year, Montblanc introduced five new watches in the collection: the 1858 Automatic, 1858 Automatic Chronograph, the 1858 Geosphere, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100, and the 1858 Pocket Watch Limited Edition 100.
Visually, it’s a handsome lot with lots of rugged, heritage touches. The stainless steel, 40 mm Automatic and the 42 mm Bi-Compax both come with either a black NATO or aged calfskin strap. The Automatic has a bronze bezel and the Bi-Compax Chronograph are available in either a stainless steel or bronze case for that comfortably-lived-in patinated look. And both are available with either a black or smoked champagne dial.
While Montblanc is a relative newcomer to the watch game, the brand gained their haute horology bona fides when the company bought the manufacturer Minerva in 2006 (1858 is a nod to the year of Minerva’s founding). So the tribute to tradition is not just about styling, but also to technological excellence.
The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph and the 1858 Pocket Watch Limited are both inspired by pieces from the Minerva archives. The Minerva caliber 13.20, for example, was one of the first monopusher chronos, originally developed in 1920. This limited to 100 pieces version has a smoked green, bi-compax dial and a clear caseback so you can observe the updated Caliber MB M13.21 mechanism with its signature Minerva/Montblanc V-shaped chronograph bridge.
It’s the 1858 Geosphere that has been gaining the most attention. An homage to the Seven Summits challenge (the EGOTs of mountaineering in which climbers ascend the highest peaks of each of the seven continents), this timepiece has a worldtime complication with two domed mini globes that make a full rotation every 24 hours. It’s a fine example of how Montblanc does a great job of taking well established complications and putting its own unique spin on them. You’ll notice on the dial seven peaks, each marked with a red dot. The 1858 Geosphere comes in either stainless steel or a limited edition of 1858 bronze case.
For 2018, Montblanc is making its core collections more cohesive by evolving rather than reinventing them. This is most apparent in two new watches from the TimeWalker series: the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph and the Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100.
The Manufacture Chronograph, for example combines a tri-counter Panda dial with a brand-new Manufacture automatic movement. The 43 mm stainless steel case also features a satin-finish that further emphasizes a stylistic kinship to the great watches.
The Rally Timer takes its cue from motor sports. What’s cool about this piece is that has a reverse Panda dial, and it can be converted into a pocket watch or a dashboard clock.
This manually wound monopusher chronograph’s calibre MB M16.29 also takes inspiration from the Minerva calibre 17.29 developed in the 1930s.
And finally, there’s the Star Legacy lineup with six new with six new watches: the Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon Limited Edition 58, Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph, the Star Legacy Full Calendar, Star Legacy Moonphase, and the Star Legacy Automatic Date.
That’s a lot of new watches! But again, Montblanc has done a good job of keeping the focus consistent. Aesthetically, the signature of this collection is elegance with Arabic numerals, blue leaf-shaped hands, a railway minute track, the Montblanc exploding star guilloché pattern, and filet sautéguilloché.
The highlight of the new Star Legacy models is the Suspended Exo Tourbillon. The in-house movement was three years in the making. The “Exo” in the name refers to the big 14.5 mm balance wheel surrounding the one-minute, rotating tourbillon cage. Because the balance is located outside of the rotating cage, accuracy is less affected by inertia.
Another theme that’s emerging at SIHH is that technological advances allow manufacturers to reduce certain elements of the movements. In this case, playing with the proportions of the balance wheel means that there’s no need to increase the size of the movement. And the 3D design of the nature of the ExoTourbillon delivers a more accurate distribution of energy than a typical tourbillon because the cage is lighter, making the watch even more accurate.
The watch itself is 44.8 mm and comes in 18K red gold with a guilloché dial. It’s also a limited edition with just 28 total pieces.
The new Montblanc timepieces will be rolled out throughout the year. For pricing and availability, please visit Montblanc.com for more information.