Montblanc first made a name for itself in 1906 when it began producing fine writing instruments. It came as little surprise when the House which had long-since mastered the art of writing announced that it had now mastered the art of writing time. Though still a young manufacture, at 15 years of age, the number of accomplishments made by Montblanc show that a long, rich and remarkable history is yet to be made. Among this year's launches are the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Hometime, the Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph GreyTech, and the TimeWriter II: Chronographe Bi-Fréquence 1,000.
Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Hometime
On 1 September 1821, a young watchmaker, Nicolas Rieussec, introduced the world to the chronograph, the first invention in history that could accurately measure short intervals of time. Inspired by the technology of Rieussec's “time writer”, Montblanc named a collection in his honour. The fifth generation of the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Collection, the Open Hometime, made its grand debut in September.
Montblanc first made a name for itself in 1906 when it began producing fine writing instruments. It came as little surprise when the House which had long-since mastered the art of
This beautiful and multifarious new timepiece has several distinguishing features. In contrast to most chronographs, the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec pieces do not have pushers above and below the crown on the right hand side of the case, controlling the chronograph’s functions. Instead, they feature a single push-piece, relying on just this one button positioned on the left-hand side of the case, at 8-o’clock, to sequentially trigger the start, stop and zero-return functions. As on the original Rieussec piece, the hands of the chronographs do not rotate above the dials, instead remaining fixed while the seconds and minutes disks turn underneath them.
The elegant case features a smoothly polished bezel with straight, finely stepped horns and a dial covered by antireflective sapphire crystal. There is a grooved, readily grasped crown inlaid on the top, with Montblanc’s emblem in mother-of-pearl. The several time, date and chronograph indicators are adorned by glittering barleycorn guilloche, which shimmer differently in changing light conditions.
The case’s screwed back is a transparent pane of sapphire crystal, through which one can admire the movement as well as the column-wheel, which controls the chronograph's functions. The piece also features a double barrel with a 72-hour power reserve.
Tucked in the valleys of the Jura, in the small hamlet of Le Locle, Switzerland, where the finest watchmakers originated and where many still live today, is the manufacturer Montblanc Montre SA. Here, master watchmakers combine precision technology with age-old craftsmanship to create both timepieces and calibres. Montblanc's first two calibres, the MB R100 and MB R200, were made here and launched during 2008's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). They were followed in 2009 by the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Date (movement MB R110). The latest addition to the Nicolas Rieussec Collection, the Open Hometime, is fitted with Calibre MB R210, a brand new movement.
The Open Hometime is available in red gold and steel, as well as a limited edition of 50 platinum pieces.
Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph GreyTech
When the original TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph (featuring Montblanc's own movement), was launched at SIHH 2011, it received a standing ovation, followed later by an award – first place "Public Choice Award", Salon International Alta Relojeria, Mexico 2011. Manufactured in steel and a limited titanium edition, the watch enjoyed so much success that Montblanc went on to create a second limited edition model, an exclusively styled version: the Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph GreyTech.
At this year's SIHH, the new Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph GreyTech was revealed to an already-smitten public. Inspired by modern glass-and-steel architecture, the sleek and distinctive TimeWalker TwinFly Grey Techcombines technical refinement and innovative materials with exceptional functionality and robust design. But perhaps most noteworthy about this watch is its absence of colour as the piece is styled using a palette of grey, with accents of black and white.
Clean, pearl-blasted finishing gives the solid titanium case a monochrome and contrast-rich aspect, while various shades of grey distinguish the watch's generous dial. The dial features seven time indicators, large apertures for the grey date disc, a pierced and anthracite-grey hour and minute-hand, and big Arabic numerals. On the back, a pane of sapphire crystal allows one to study the movement, its rhodium-plated dark grey chassis parts forming a fascinating contrast with the golden wheels, the blued screws and the red ruby bearings.
Particularly eye-catching is the chronograph function: both the long elapsed-seconds hand and a somewhat shorter counter for 60 elapsed minutes are on a central axial. When the flyback function is activated, these two indicators shoot back to their starting position before immediately beginning again, measuring another passing interval. It’s from this function that the “TwinFly” in the model’s name originates.
Created exclusively by Montblanc, self-winding chronograph Calibre MB LL100 is assembled, adjusted and fitted at the Le Locle atelier, under the auspices of Montblanc. The chronograph’s functions are controlled via a column-wheel, with Calibre MB LL100 also featuring a double barrel, giving the movement a power reserve of approximately 72-hours.
The timepiece is finished off with an anthracite-grey, alligator-skin wristband with large quadratic reptilian scales and tone-in-tone grey stitching. A pronged buckle made of bead-blasted titanium secures the strap.
The Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph GreyTech will be manufactured in a limited edition of only 888 pieces.
TimeWriter II: Chronographe Bi-Fréquence 1,000.
Montblanc was entrusted in 2007 with the manufacture Minerva in Villeret, where technical and artistic skills are still practiced as they have been since 1858. Since constant creativity is crucial to growth and success, Montblanc strives to encourage innovation and foster new talent. Through the Institut Minerva, Montblanc created the "TimeWriter" concept. Under this, projects are launched with promising young stars looking to establish themselves as independent watchmakers. The first, "TimeWriter 1: Metamorphosis", was launched in 2010. It was followed this year by "TimeWriter II: Chronographe Bi-Fréquence 1,000".
In the early 1900s, the Minerva manufacture was among the first to debut a mechanical stopwatch accurate to 1/100th of a second. Almost 100 years later, this watch became the inspiration for the TimeWriter II Chronographe Bi-Fréquence 1,000.
To measure time to the nearest 1/1,000th of a second, a mechanical watch must have a balance that completes 3.6 million semi-oscillations per hour – a frequency of 500 hertz. The TimeWriter II can measure elapsed intervals to the nearest 1/1,000th of a second, yet its balance oscillates at 50 hertz.
The secret is in its 50-hertz balance. The rapid oscillator completes 100 to-and-fro motions every second. This tempo not only guides the motion of the chronograph’s elapsed-seconds hand (the trotteuse), but also sets the pace for delivering an impulse of energy that puts into rotation an innovative wheel in the gear-train: the thousandths wheel (mobile de millième). Powered thus, it rotates around its own axis at one rotation per second, providing the resolution with which hundredths of a second can be further subdivided into sets of 10 increments. The chronograph function is controlled by a two-level column-wheel, with one level guiding the start, stop and zero-return functions and the other level controlling the thousandths wheel.
The external design of the Montblanc TimeWriter II accentuates the complexity and beauty of the calibre inside. The curvature of its 47 millimetre diameter, 18 carat white gold case flows elegantly into the horns, and as no dial exists to obstruct the view of the complicated movement, the two balances and numerous hand-polished levers are beautifully revealed. As a monopusher the watch has only one button, situated at the 12 o’clock position, precisely midway between the horns. The case has a screwed back with a pane of sapphire crystal through which the incredible mechanisms and the intricate, manually executed finishing on its individual components can be appreciated.
The watch is fixed to a black, alligator-skin band finished with a double row of red stitching and secured with a pronged buckle made of white gold.
The Montblanc TimeWriter II Chronographe Bi-Fréquence 1,000 will be manufactured in a severely limited edition of just 36 pieces.