Just released a few days ago at the SIAR 2015 in Mexico City —which we attended—, the new Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition brings the best of the vintage world to the modern era in what we think is a flawless execution. While Montblanc's watchmaking history is still short, the Richemont brand has taken great strides in the past three years to become a 'haute horlogerie' force with a very competitive pricing strategy. Taking advantage of the horological resources of the Richemont watch conglomerate, Montblanc now presents a vintage inspired chronograph powered by the legendary Minerva calibre with its iconic 'V-shaped' bridge. The 1858 collection is inspired by the heritage of Minerva as one of Switzerland's most revered timekeeping specialists and its spirit has been revived in an contemporary vintage timepiece that is just stunning in the metal. Like its historic predecessor from the 1930s, the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter comes with a black dial and historical shaped hands with aged lume. Paying homage to the roots of its manufacture in Villeret, Montblanc presents this timepiece fully inspired by Villeret's legendary Minerva Chronograph.
Fitted with a matte black dial with Arabic numerals, the focal points on this dial are the vintage Montblanc logo at 12 o'clock, the vintage inspired 18K red gold plated pilot's hands and the white contrasting tachymetric scale. The tachymetric scale eases the computing of a speed based on travel time along the delicate “chemin de fer” minuterie. The historic Montblanc emblem at 12 o’clock and the notched crown underline the vintage appearance of the timepiece. The layout of the dial is not busy at all with running seconds at 9 o'clock and a 30-minute chrono register at 3 o'clock. The Arabic numerals are printed on the dial with a nice raised appearance thanks to the applied lume on them. At 6 o'clock one can find the name of the calibre MB M16.29 imprinted in white. A red tipped chrono-seconds hand completes the equation, by adding the perfect amount of color to make the dial pop. The watch is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment that allows for excellent readability of the dial without any unwanted glare.
The Case, Crown & Strap
Fitted with a beautifully finished 18K red gold case measuring 44 mm in diameter and 13.15 mm in thickness, the case shows mirror polished slightly curved horns, a satin brushed finished caseband and a mirror polished fixed bezel also in 18K red gold. The onion shaped notched crown with integrated chronograph monopusher rises in all glory elevating the vintage appearance of this timepiece even more. Activating the chronograph doesn't require too much pressure on the crown pusher and all chrono functions —start, stop and reset— are performed via this crown. While the watch is water resistant to 30 meters, we wouldn't dare to get this beauty near a pool or the shower.
The crown is nicely engraved with the iconic Montblanc snowcap from above logo. The crown is easy to use and with excellent grip. Winding the watch via the crown takes no effort and approximately 40-60 turns will wind the watch in full.
The watch is fitted with a matte black alligator strap with black stitching and matching 18K red gold pin buckle signed 'Montblanc'.
Fully visible via the display case back treated with anti-reflective coating, the new manual wound calibre Montblanc MB M16.29 is a real treat to the eyes. This calibre was completely developed and handcrafted in-house, in a large “pocket-watch” diameter of 38.40 mm and featuring a monopusher chronograph with column wheel and horizontal disc clutch. The movement is composed of 252 parts, beats at a frequency of 18,000 vph and provides a power reserve of 50 hours. The plate and bridges are made of rhodium-plated German silver perfectly finished with circular graining and 'Côtes de Genève' on both sides. One thing we love about this low frequency timepieces is how the sweeping hand seems to almost pause for half a second before continuing to sweep. The calibre features the iconic Minerva 'v-shaped' bridge used by Minerva since 1912 and is exquisitely finished unlike many other calibres out there within this price range.
On The Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and very comfortably, perhaps just a little bit too high on the wrist. Something we would like to point out, is that even if you have a wrist smaller than 7.25", you'll still be able to wear this timepiece with no problem thanks to its slightly curved horns that help the watch wrap around your wrist. For the money, we think this watch ticks all the boxes and is an excellent option if you are into vintage inspired timepieces. A real in-house chronograph like this, with the tradition of Minerva typically can't be found at this price point. If you guys remember the Panerai chronographs unveiled at the SIHH 2014 and that we featured here, you know what we are talking about. The watch is available in a limited edition of 100 pieces, therefore, get your wallets ready because this won't last long.
Sticker Price $31,474 USD. For more info on Montblanc click here.