A Vintage Heart: Montblanc Launches New Minerva Inspired Timepieces
Montblanc’s rich Minerva heritage is no secret. And this year, the brand is taking full advantage of its horological history and creating something for lovers of traditional watchmaking.
There is probably no brand more proudly European than Montblanc. The brand makes this obvious even with its logo, which symbolizes the 6 summits of Europe’s highest peak and brand namesake, Mont Blanc. Founded in Germany in 1906, the brand is known as a master of writing instruments.
Over the years, however, they opened a fine leather manufacture in Florence, Italy. It is through these different accessories, the brand responded to a highly demanding clientele and diversified. As for this writer, I have always considered Montblanc to be the business professional’s best friend. And as soon as I see someone wielding a pen with the snowy star of their Meisterstück, I take it as a sign of trustworthiness.
The 2007 acquisition of the Minerva Manufacture in Switzerland was a well-calculated plan for Montblanc’s never-ending expansion. It was the logical path to success for the European-at-heart brand. Staying true to their roots, this brings us to this year's brand novelties.
Vintage watch aficionados are familiar with Minerva. Precision and tradition have run through the halls of the manufacture since 1858. From the beginning, Minerva gained fame for its highly precise pocket watches with a very distinctive V-shaped chronograph bridge. They were also renowned for the production of chronographs throughout the 20th-century and even invented one of the first mono-pusher chronographs.
After acquiring the Minerva Manufacture, Montblanc not only gained the famous name but also assumed their Swiss savoir-faire and horological achievements. Naturally, Montblanc intends to carry on the Minerva legacy, inspired by their horological feats.
Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38
While taking possession of their new manufacture, Montblanc discovered a box in the archives containing 38 original MB M62.00 Minerva movements. This manually-wound calibre was inspired by the 1948 Pythagore movement (Pythagoras in English) with its profoundly geometric shape. This year, Montblanc decided to use the remaining 38 iconic movements to create a special limited edition. And honestly, we are quite thankful they did.
To stay true to Minerva's rich history, the brand created a vintage-inspired Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38. The historical MB M62.00 movement is housed in a 39mm, highly finished stainless-steel case, but the dial is a stunner by all itself. The dial is lacquered a beautiful salmon-color with a grained domed chapter ring, giving it a 3D effect. The small second counter completes the dial with an “azuré” finish. This timepiece also marks the first time Montblanc is incorporating a secret Minerva signature between four and five o’clock.
Not to be outdone, the caseback is as stunning as the dial. The manually-wound, Pythagore-inspired MB M62.00 movement of the Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 is shown through the sapphire glass. Highly finished by master watchmakers, the movement still holds the “Minerva Villeret” signature on the plate. Every piece is numbered and engraved, “Historical Minerva movement.” This limited edition is the perfect way to have a piece of horological history on your wrist.
Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph Limited Edition
A watch fit for a doctor! Or, at least, it was back in the day because pulsographs were once a tool used to measure a patient’s heartbeat. Over the past few years, the Pulsograph has become the “Piece Maitresse” of their complications. This year, Montblanc launches the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph Limited Edition in a smoked brown tobacco-color that is eye-catching. Paired with the brand’s signature brown Sfumato alligator strap, made in their Pellataria in Florence, it’s hard to get more “in-house” than that!
The 40mm rose gold case accentuates the smoked dial. One look through the sapphire crystal caseback at the movement will have you speechless. Trust me, I know from personal experience. The movement is a real work of horological art, with the famous Côtes de Genève finish, and the iconic V-shaped chronograph bridge that I mentioned above. The watch will be limited to 100 pieces worldwide.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)