For those who know the history of Montblanc’s watches, the name of the new collection will strike you immediately. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, that’s ok, too, because we are here to give you a complete rundown of the all-new Montblanc 1858 collection – the very first in-depth look at the line that is being launched today.
The 1858 line pays tribute to the brand’s Villeret Manufacture and its roots. The house where the haute horology and hand-made watchmaking takes place in Villeret (a small town in St Imier Valley) was once the famed Minerva Manufacture—founded in 1858. The manufacture is world renowned for having created some of the most accurate chronographs throughout the 20th century, creating precise and efficient chronograph pocket watch movements that could track hundredths of a second and incorporating those calibers into wrist watches. You can read a lot more about that Minerva factory in Villeret here.
The new 1958 line is being unveiled this week at the SIAR show in Mexico City, and celebrates Minerva’s 157 years of heritage. The design of the line, which consists of a manual-wind chronograph and three manual-wind small-seconds watches, is inspired by the legendary pocket watch chronographs such as the 13.20 caliber launched in the early 1920’s. The highlight of the collection, the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, is inspired by a 1936 chronograph, and houses a superb movement that is the same size as the original pocket watch movement.
The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter deftly combines elements of the past with today’s technology for a truly attractive watch. From the outside, the watch is a stunner—crafted in 18-karat rose gold with a black dial and characteristic-of-the-era large Arabic numerals. The chronograph subdials are displayed horizontally, with the chronograph minute counter at 3:00 and the running seconds at 9:00. At the 12:00 position, the bold Montblanc logo is derived from the historical brand emblem – complete with the Montblanc mountaintop breaking up the two-syllable name.
The bicompax chronograph features alluring cathedral hands and bold Arabic numerals with antique beige Super-LumiNova for great nighttime reading, and there is a tachymeter scale on the outer rim of the dial in a railroad track motif for measuring speed and for achieving a specific sporty look reminiscent of the 1930’s pocket watch. Even the fluted crown is indicative of the times, with an easy-grasp design that worked nicely for pilots.
The 44mm 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is powered by the Minerva Caliber MB M16.29 monopusher chronograph. The 252-part movement beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5HZ) and offers 50 hours of power reserve. The Manually wound monopusher chronograph features a column-wheel activated by the single push piece built in to the winding crown. It was inspired by the original chronograph movement, the 17.29 caliber that had been designed by Minerva in 1929. A sapphire caseback allows for viewing to the meticulously finished caliber, complete with horizontal coupling and the iconic engraved “V” chronograph bridge that has been protected by Minerva since 1912. The large “swan’s neck” screw-regulated balance wheel, complete with Geneva ribbing finishes and edges, is also visible. The entire mechanisms is assembled, adjusted and finished by hand in the Villeret Manufacture. The watch is finished with a black alligator strap with cream stitching.
As a total package, this watch has it all: vintage inspiration, top-notch hand-wound 6.3mm movement and a look that is sophisticated, sporty and still edgy. Just 100 pieces will be made. Each will retail for approximately $32,900. (Technical specs are below.)
Building on the series, Montblanc also offers three different 1858 Small Seconds versions. Each of these models – crafted in 44mm stainless steel cases — also sports the historical Montblanc emblem and is powered by a manual wind movement. The watches offer a classic time display, with the small sub-seconds dial at 6:00. Powered by the MB 23.03 movement, with a large diameter of 37.2mm, the watch also recalls the beauty of the brand’s pocket watch movements. The caliber has 17 jewels and offers 46 hours of power reserve.
Versions include: black dial with beige Super-LumiNova hands and numerals, and a black alligator strap with beige stitching (858 pieces); black dial with white Super-LumiNova hands and numerals and a brown calf-leather strap with beige stitching; a black dial with white Super-LumiNova hands and numerals with a Milanese mesh stainless steel bracelet. The Limited Edition verions retails for about $3,395. (Technical specs below.)
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100 (Ident. 112637)
Movement Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB M16.29
Type of movement Manually wound monopusher chronograph with tachymeter scale
Chronograph Monopusher with column-wheel and horizontal coupling
Dimensions Diameter = 38.4 mm; height = 6.3 mm
Number of components 252
Number of jewels 22
Power reserve Approx. 50 hours
Balance wheel Screw balance, diameter = 14.5 mm; moment of inertia = 59 mg.cm2
Frequency 18,000 vibrations/hour (2.5 Hz)
Balance spring With Phillips terminal curve
Plate Rhodium-plated German silver with circular graining on both sides
Bridges Rhodium-plated German silver with “Côtes de Genève”
Going-train Gold-plated, faceted arms, diamond-polished surfaces
Displays Central hours and minutes
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Chronograph’s elapsed-seconds hand in the center of the dial’s
Counter for 30 elapsed minutes at 3 o’clock
Water-resistance 3 bar
Limited Edition 100
Certified by the Montblanc Performance Test 500
Montblanc 1858 Small Second Limited Edition 858 (Ident. 113860)
Movement MB M23.03
Type of movement Manually wound movement
Number of jewels 17
Power reserve Approx. 46 hours
Balance wheel Flat ring
Frequency 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz)
Balance spring Flat
Displays Hours and minutes from the center
Small seconds at “6 o’clock”
Case Stainless steel
Crystal Scratch-resistant and antireflective domed sapphire crystal
Back Stainless steel with inset pane of sapphire crystal
Dimensions Diameter = 44 mm; height = 10.95 mm
Water-resistance 3 bar
Crown Stainless steel with Montblanc emblem in raised relief
Dial Black dial with Super-LumiNova®-coated* Arabic numerals, rhodium-plated luminescent hour-hand and minute-hand, historical Montblanc emblem at 12 o’clock
Strap Black alligator-skin strap with stainless steel pin buckle