Style / World of Watches (WOW)

SIHH 2019 Montblanc Heritage collection reinforces Watchmaking Legitimacy

The new, aptly named, Heritage collection from Villeret reinforces the history and watchmaking legitimacy of Montblanc with signature design codes and know-how

Jan 22, 2019 | By Jonathan Ho

Honestly speaking, Montblanc’s watchmaking heritage began in 1997. Established as Montblanc Montre in Le Locle, the brand’s legitimacy and heritage was augmented nearly 10 years later when parent company, Richemont Group, acquired manufacture Minerva and assigned it to Montblanc. With a history for writing instruments dating back to 1906, Montbanc’s true watchmaking heritage had often been called into question by critics. However, beginning with the first Nicolas Rieussec chronograph, the natural extension of historical chronographein or Time Writer, was not only a natural fit for the brand but the real victory lay in its solid design codes which gave the industry design language never before seen in a chronograph. For SIHH 2019, the Montblanc Heritage collection reinforces the brand’s adroitness for the watchmaking language particularly when it comes to neo-vintage editions conveying the sophisticated elegance of heritage watches.

Ultimately, I didn’t summit Mont-Blanc in a day and the provenance of a manufacture, even one blessed with the Villeret facility is not built overnight. Nevertheless, Montblanc is a nascent watchmaker with a SIHH 2019 collection which reinforces its legitimacy.

SIHH 2019 Montblanc Heritage collection reinforces Watchmaking Legitimacy

The Montblanc Heritage Collection was meant to embody the sophisticated elegance of the 40s. Pictured: Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Ho for Montblanc 4810 Club in Miami

The new Montblanc Heritage collection extends their prowess for sophisticated elegance, augmented with the talents of Head of Watchmaking Davide Cerato and Creative Director Zaim Kamal, expressing the brand’s leitmotif into a coherent collection rich with watchmaking legitimacy. With Minerva, centuries of accumulated watchmaking knowledge, heritage, and experience, expressed through  Cerato’s creative direction and then distilled into a coherent, consistent SIHH 2019 collection with cohesive design language. With Montblanc Heritage, the elegance of heritage watchmaking design codes meet with bold aesthetics and contemporary technology, expertly executed. This collection also expresses the full flavour of Montblanc’s “all price segments, something for everyone strategy” announced during the exclusive 4810 Club gather in Miami – what this means for the average watch connoisseur is that they get to enjoy an offering of Heritage Monospusher Chronograph, Heritage GMT, Heritage Automatic Day Date, and Montblanc Heritage Automatic at relatively entry level prices. For those who can afford timepieces of a more rarefied nature, the limited edition Heritage Pulsograph and limited edition Heritage Perpetual Calendar with their own manufacture calibres are emblematic of fine watchmaking.

The collection also effectively joins the talents of Montblanc Manufactures in Villeret and Le Locle. Villeret’s watchmaking tradition beginning 160 years ago, enhancing Le Locle’s own nascent expertise, 20 years ago, into one thoroughly appealing, aptly named collection. Here are some of the key watches of the Heritage collection:

Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100

Inspired by ‘doctor’s watches’, the Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 headlines SIHH 2019 for Montblanc by virtue of its appealing “salmon” dial, as well as distinctive decorative touches like sand-graining and bent hour, minute and seconds hands across a domed dial. Physicians used this specially designed watches to time a patient’s heart rate in the past but of greater note is the historical throwback to the days of payphones with 3 minute intervals (3, 6 and 9 minute markings)- denoting the moment a quarter is needed for the payphone to extend your international IDD call.

The SIHH 2019 Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 is a 40-mm steel cased timepiece powered by the Montblanc Manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M13.21 – note, the only way you’d recognise the work from Villeret is through the exemplary decorative finishes of the movement through the caseback, and the vintage design codes that can be seen on Minerva wristwatches from the 1940s and 50s.

Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar

A brand-new manufacture calibre MB 29.22 powers the SIHH 2019 Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar. Eschewing the typical 4 subdial layout for a compact tri-compax design that indicates the hours, minutes, day, date, month, moonphase and leap year in an extremely legible way thanks to its large counters at 3 and 9 o’clock; and a slightly smaller an aesthetically appropriate 6 o’clock sudbial where the date pointer and moonphase indicator resides. More importantly, Montblanc’s masterful incorporation of practical dual-time function  is cleverly and subtly displayed thanks to a skeletonised central 24-hour indicator.

Taking three years to develop, the movement of the Heritage Perpetual Calendar is composed solely of gears and wheels, in contrast to most other perpetual calendars that use levers. What results is a Perpetual Calendar that maximises user friendliness, enabling the user to adjust the watch via the crown in both directions (with is potentially damaging if not impossible on other similar complications), making the Heritage Perpetual Calendar far simpler to set than its competition.

Furthermore, an innovative new safety feature developed by the Montblanc watchmakers builds upon the SIHH 2019  prevents the user from setting the watch between the hours of 8 pm and 12 pm, when any manipulation could damage the movement as the correctors are locked.

Housed in a 40 mm case with a choice of 18 K red gold for the limited edition, or stainless steel for the serialised production variant, the sophisticated elegance of the collection is further highlighted by the SIHH 2019 Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar’s refined curved horns, a domed sapphire glass box and a distinctive silvery-white dial.

Heritage Monopusher Chronograph

Sans salmon dial, Montblanc offers a symbol of their watchmaking legitimacy through an affordably priced Heritage Monopusher Chronograph. Though lacking the exquisitely finished Minerva chronograph calibre, the watchmaker worked with Sellita to present an exclusively modified chronograph calibre for the new SIHH 2019 Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph. First unveiled in Milan to members of the 4810 Club, the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph is a compelling value offering armed with a key complication which headlines chronographs like the Nicolas Rieussec, the GPHG nominated 1858 Tachymeter chronograph and this year’s Pulsograph.

Featuring a domed, silvery-white dial with two different finishes, a visual signature of the entire Heritage collection, the Dauphine hour and minute hands accented with Super-LumiNova are also bent to confirm with the domed dial. A domed sapphire glass box emphasises the depth of the chronograph while the curved horn lugs allows the 42mm chronograph to taper to the wrist, conveying a feel of a more refined timepiece reminiscent of a bygone era. The Minerva Manufacture is embossed upon the case back.

Other notable editions of the Montblanc Heritage Collection

Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Price and Specs

Movement Manual winding Calibre MB M13.21 with 55 hours power reserve
Case 40 mm Stainless steel with 50 metres water resistance
Strap Grey Sfumato alligator
Price SG$44,600 (100 piece Limited Edition)

Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 29.22 with 48 hours power reserve
Case 40 mm stainless steel or gold case with 50 metres water resistance
Strap Brown Sfumato alligator
Price From SG$23,700 (gold variant in 100 piece Limited Edition)

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 25.12 with 48 hours power reserve
Case 42 mm stainless steel with 50 metres water resistance
Strap Grey Sfumato alligator
Price SG$7,400

Heritage GMT Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 24.05 with 42 hours power reserve
Case 40 mm stainless steel with 50 metres water resistance
Strap Grey Sfumato alligator
Price SG$2,700

Heritage Automatic Day Date Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 24.18 with 38 hours power reserve
Case 39 mm stainless steel with 50 metres water resistance
Strap Grey Sfumato alligator
Price SG$2,450

Heritage Automatic Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 24.26 with 38 hours power reserve
Case 40 mm stainless steel with 50 metres water resistance
Strap Grey Sfumato alligator
Price SG$2,350


 
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