Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante. Hands-on with of the Most Complicated Watches From Montblanc.

Released in January of 2017 at the SIHH in Geneva, the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante in a limited edition of 8 pieces is one of the most complicated and most expensive watches from Montblanc. Combining Montblanc's patented ExoTourbillon with a monopusher split-seconds chronograph, the beating heart inside this watch is of course a Minerva movement from Villeret. During the 1930s, the workshop’s fascination with recording elapsed time led to the production of split-seconds stopwatches, also known as “rattrapante” chronographs, from the French word “to catch up”. These precise stopwatches were able to measure intermediate times without interrupting the ongoing measurement of a longer elapsing interval. Fitted with an 18K red gold case that resembles A. Lange & Söhne's proprietary honey gold more than the usual color of red gold, the new Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante is delivered on a black alligator strap with 18K red gold pin buckle.

The Case

The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante like the rest of the Heritage collection takes its inspiration from the Minerva Pythagore watch that was developed in 1948 and which featured a pure and elegant dial with applied Arabic numerals and indexes, as well as a precise minute scale. Housed in a slim polished gold case with curved horns and a stepped bezel, the Pythagore epitomized classic Swiss fine watchmaking. Today, the new Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante features a generous and very robust 18K red gold case measuring 47 mm in diameter and 18.58 mm in thickness. To give you an idea how thick and tall this watch is, the thickness of a Royal Oak Offshore is only 15 mm. Equipped with a monopusher chronograph, the crown is fitted with an integrated pusher to start, stop and reset the chronograph, while a second round pusher at 2 o'clock operates the the split-seconds function. Lastly, a rectangular pusher at 8 o'clock advances the central hour hand in hourly increments while traveling as this watch is equipped with a dual time indication.

The Dial

Fitted with a solid gold dial, this watch features classic design codes associated with fine watchmaking, starting with a grey grené lower dial that enhances the different counters and subdials, and a vertical satinated finishing on the upper part of the dial that attracts the eye to the majestic ExoTourbillon. The ExoTourbillon itself is highlighted by a double infinity tourbillon bridge, which takes one week to be hand-bevelled and polished by Montblanc’s artisans. Launched in 2010 by Montblanc and fully designed and executed in-house, the ExoTourbillon complication refers to the screwed balance wheel, which is positioned outside of the tourbillon’s rotating cage. This innovative patented complications allows for the tourbillon cage to be smaller in size. Additionally, while conventional tourbillons typically complete one rotation per minute, Montblanc's ExoTourbillon rotates once every four minutes.

The three-dimensional dial is further enhanced by raised counters and subdials that include different finishings. The running seconds subdial at 9 o'clock and the 30-minute counter both feature an azuré motif in the center and an opaline decoration on the external ring, while the second time zone at 6 o'clock and the day/night indicator between 4 and 5 o'clock have been
embellished with a sunray pattern.

The Movement

Split-seconds chronographs rank among the world’s greatest complications and are the pinnacle of the chronograph complication. Powered by the in-house manual wound Montblanc calibre MB M16.62 composed of 432 parts and 36 jewels, the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante works with two column wheels and a classic double clamp, which can be observed in motion through the display caseback. Once the chronograph complication is activated through the pusher integrated in the crown, both column wheels and the hand-bevelled levers, which are used to transfer the different commands, come into play. Thin steel springs that have been delicately curved then push the rattrapante clamps onto the split-second wheel, thus enabling the reading of the first measured interval when the wearer pushes the pusher located at the 2 o’clock position. The movement beats a a frequency of 18,000 vph to provide a power reserve of 50 hours. The mainplate and bridges are made of rhodium-plated German silver and the going-train is gold plated. Maintaining the tradition of the Minerva chronograph movements, one can appreciate the The movement of course features the iconic Minerva 'v-shaped' bridge used by Minerva since 1912 and its signature 'Devil's Tail'.

On The Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante wears bigger than its actual size —perhaps 2 millimeters larger— and a little bit too high due to its case thickness. While we really dislike this watch as far as the design goes and we would never pay such kind of money for a Montblanc watch considering their very short history making watches, we do need to admit that from an horological standpoint this watch is at the top of the list along with other Grande Complications out there. Available in a limited edition of 8 pieces only.

Sticker Price €270,000Euros —approximately $287,000 USD. For more info on Montblanc click here.