Montblanc’s Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 - Vintage Fine Watchmaking At Its Best
For several years, Montblanc has been finely honing its watchmaking offerings and bringing more visibility to its watch collections. Today, Minerva’s heritage is more visible than ever, in regards to both its movements and design. This limited edition is a perfect example of a historic movement firmly rooted in the heritage of the Villeret-based manufacture.
Montblanc's watchmaking legitimacy is apparent at every level. The dial, case, and movement should all be flawless to appeal to fine watchmaking enthusiasts. The Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 ticks all the right boxes.
The delicate two-tone salmon hues of the dial are exquisitely reminiscent of the time-worn patina of age. The interplay of different textures also gives a genuine depth to the watch face. And, the central sunray finish changes color according to the angle of the light, while the grained hour ring mixes materials to cleverly enhance the visual appeal.
The small seconds counter at six o'clock features circular guilloché finishing to lend an added dimension. Completing the design’s overall subtle retro feel is the railway track minute circle in blue.
Finally, the red 60 and 30 seconds indications stand out superbly against the salmon pink for great ease of legibility. In a first for the Heritage collection, this aforementioned legibility is heightened by Super-LumiNova coating the Arabic numeral indices at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock.
Delicate dauphine hour and minute hands are bent and shaped to sweep across the discreet curve of the watch face seamlessly. The finesse of the 39mm diameter, 8.9mm thick, polished stainless steel case and the curved lugs, further underscores its air of refinement. The whole piece is suffused with a sense of supreme elegance.
In an almost unbelievable twist of fate that made this 38-piece, ultra-limited edition possible, Montblanc discovered a hidden treasure trove of 38 original Minerva MB M62.00 manual winding calibres.
Originally inspired by the 1948 Pythagore calibre, the original Minerva borrows its highly recognizable 3-bridge architecture and classically designed balance wheel. The heart of the timepiece beats at the low frequency of 2.5Hz and offers a 50-hour power reserve. Connoisseurs will recognize the swan's neck hairspring and the iconic Minerva arrow, also portrayed on the main plate as an engraving.
The latter is crafted in rhodium-coated German silver and features delicate circular graining and hand-polished edges. The bridges, also crafted in German silver, are decorated with the Geneva stripe motif, and the broad chamfers are mirror-polished to reflect light with perfection. Enthusiasts will also appreciate the open view gold-plated wheels and, indeed, the chatons for the main screws. If all else fails to impress, the chamfering and spiral brushing on the winding barrels are sure to convince even the staunchest critic.
Since 2007, the bid to integrate the rich Minerva legacy throughout the brand has allowed Montblanc to establish a genuine legitimacy among watchmaking enthusiasts. Now, with the Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38, which for the first but probably not the last time features the Montblanc and Minerva branding jointly on the dial, the manufacture brings us a simply splendid piece.
Finally, with a price that these reflects its rarity and level of finishing (CHF 19,400), these 38 individually numbered pieces will readily capture the heart of any collector in search of a timepiece dripping with character.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)