Ahead of the upcoming SIHH 2018, Montblanc is introducing two new timepieces in its sporty TimeWalker collection —The TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph and the TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100. In addition, Montblanc reinterprets the inaugural Star collection, which celebrates its 20-year anniversary in 2018. Montblanc is changing the collection’s name to Star Legacy and is developing a more sophisticated look for the classical line. And as part of an overall consolidation of all its watch collections (from twelve to six), Montblanc in 2018 adds its Rieussec line to the Star Legacy collection.
Let’s look at the pieces Montblanc has chosen to preview ahead of the 2018 SIHH.
Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph
It seemed inevitable that Montblanc would introduce a so-called panda dial to its sporty TimeWalker collection, particularly with former Tudor exec and ‘Vintage Design Jedi’ Davide Cerrato leading the Montblanc design team.
The new watch, the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, was well worth the wait. As an addition to the existing TimeWalker collection, which currently offers an automatic chronograph with a more contemporary chronograph layout, this new 43mm model offers a vintage 1960s-era tri-counter dial (black tri-counters on a white background) – and does so with new Montblanc chronograph movement MB25.10. The new manufacture caliber features Côtes de Genève, circular graining, blue screws and a new monobloc oscillating weight made of black rhodium-plated tungsten and designed in the shape of a steering wheel. The movement is equipped with a traditional column wheel, a horizontal coupling as well as a stop-second mechanism.
To deepen the vintage feel of the new piece, Montblanc has added a tachymeter scale to the fixed black bezel, which is made of quite contemporary high-tech black ceramic. The dial also has a flange with a 5-minute track coated with SuperLumiNova for high visibility day and night. Other features include rhodium-plated, dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands and a red chronograph second hand inspired by the Minerva arrow, a nod to Minerva’s heritage.
The steel watch’s case lugs echo all TimeWalker designs and have been semi-skeletonized to mimic the air inlets of a car’s body. Likewise, Montblanc has knurled the crown and coated it with black DLC to recall vintage car radiator caps.
To match the panda dial, the timepiece features either a stainless steel metal bracelet or a new vintage brown Sfumato aged calf leather strap with perforated holes. The strap, from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, comes fitted with a triple folding clasp.
Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100
This year’s Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer retains all the technical superlatives we saw in the original model from 2017, but presents them under a so-called reverse panda dial layout and color scheme. The new version also now features a beautiful brown Sfumato aged leather calf strap.
The 50mm titanium-cased pocket watch, a limited edition of 100 pieces, echoes last year’s debut with its top-notch monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29, a design inspired by Minerva calibers of the 1930s. The modern version features a column wheel, horizontal coupling and a power reserve of 50 hours, Côtes de Genève stripes, inner angles, circular graining and beveling—as well as its fine details such as the iconic Minerva arrow, a chronograph bridge shaped in the form of a “V”, and a large screwed balance that has a traditional frequency of 18,000 bph.
As with the original model, this impressive chronograph’s 30-minute counter (at the top of the dial) is vertically aligned with a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, reminiscent of the original Minerva Rally Timer from the 1930s. In the center, the red chronograph second hand runs along a tachymeter scale, which in this 2018 model is white. Last year’s scale was black.
The watch retains its ability to be changed from pocket watch to table clock (thanks to two arms below the case) to dashboard timer. The case can be turned from 0 to 180 degrees (or from 3 to 9 o’clock) in both directions to allow readability while driving.
As noted earlier, Montblanc’s Star collection turns twenty this year, and Montblanc has decided to re-name the classic line the Star Legacy Collection while also modernizing its design. Within this re-envisioned collection, Montblanc unveils two chronographs: a thin Automatic Chronograph and a re-designed Rieussec monopusher chronograph.
Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph
Perhaps with an eye to the word ‘Legacy’ in the new title of this bedrock collection, Montblanc again looked to the past when re-designing the new chronograph. When Cerrato’s team leafed through the Minerva archives, they were struck by the detail of a 1927 Minerva Gold Hunter pocket watch and have appropriated many of that model’s details for the Star Legacy collection.
The new Star designs continue to emphasize prominent Arabic numerals, but Montblanc has refined their shape and size, making them noticeable thinner. Other important aesthetic details include a new railway minute track on this particular model that features dots instead of lines (a rare twist found only in very few models from the late 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century) and a beautiful guilloché around the dial and outlining it. Look for all the new Star Legacy entries to retain these general characteristics. The Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph is equipped with the automatic ETA-7753-based chronograph caliber MB 25.02.
Montblanc Star Legacy Rieussec Chronograph
For, 2018, Montblanc reinterprets its Rieussec monopusher chronograph, originally seen in 2008. The case and the dial have been redesigned, though the dial still includes the chronograph’s turning discs and off-center dial. Gone is the dial-top bridge that formerly connected the two chronograph subdials. Montblanc has replaced it with a fine double-sided blue leaf hand that indicates timing on both dials. The off-center hour circle and the chronograph’s titanium turning discs have been domed, adding a new three-dimensional effect.
In keeping with the entire Star Legacy collection, Montblanc has retained the black Arabic numerals, but has made them thinner and has surrounded them with a new railway minute track. The date, enhanced with blued screws, has been moved from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock.
To enhance the Inside the Star Legacy Chronograph Rieussec’s more classical watchmaking appearance (as Rieussec enters its new Star Legacy home) Montblanc has also highlighted the dial with guilloché, added azuré finishing in the center of the hour circle and added a particularly attractive guilloché decoration (inexplicably called filet sauté, which brings to mind a nice meal) around the dial. Nicolas Rieussec’s name still appears on the outer part of the dial, though in a new font.
The newly designed 44.8mm case, sporting a new domed sapphire crystal, is now more curved on the sides. For the watch, Montblanc retains Calibre MB R200, the firm’s own manufacture monopusher chronograph movement with automatic winding, equipped with a column-wheel mechanism.
Montblanc has yet to detail U.S. prices for these new models, but here are the prices for the watches in Euros:
Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph, €3,990
Montblanc Star Legacy Rieussec Chronograph, €9,000
Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition - 100 pieces, €37,000
Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, €4,990
iW will have more details about these and all other Montblanc 2018 debuts during SIHH in January.