Tag Archives: Montblanc

Dwayne the Rock Johnson wears Montblanc 1858 Automatic watch

Mountain of muscle, actor, producer, and semi-retired professional wrestler, Dwayne the Rock Johnson was recently spotted with a Montblanc 1858 Automatic with small seconds on a black dial. Clad in a trendy, patterned, black and white Hawaii shirt, The Rock was captured flashing the nigh recognisable timepiece thanks to its milanese bracelet and the signature cathedral hands.

Dwayne the Rock Johnson wears Montblanc 1858 Automatic to US Talk show Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen

Visiting the US Talk show Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Johnson, popularly known as The Rock, was on the show to talk about his new movie – Skyscraper. Among other things, The Rock also discussed his social media spat (or lack thereof) with Fast and the Furious co-star, Tyrese Gibson, who plays Roman Pearce in the movie franchise. Gibson attacked The Rock after he revealed a Fast and Furious spin-off based on his character, Luke Hobbs. But I digress.

The 47mm Montblanc 1858 Automatic is not a small watch but on Johnson’s wrist, the classic timepiece looks regular, almost gentlemanly proportioned rather than “inspired by pocket watches”. Widely recognised as the #HardestWorkingDudeInShowbiz, The Rock’s Instagram account boasts a healthy inspiration of Saturday morning workouts to maintain his epic physique and his relatable family guy brand as he plays with his kids and romances his wife, Lauren Hashian.

Thought of as the new Schwarzenegger, Johnson the sculpted colossus topped Forbes’s list of highest-paid actors in 2016 and considering he’s on his third blockbuster this year, The Rock is likely to top the 2018 list.

The Montblanc 1858 collection is home to a selection of automatic small seconds watches, Automatic Dual Time, chronograph and the pinnacle (no pun intended) of the series – the 1858 Geospheres – a timepiece which will accompany a select Montblanc team of climbers (including yours truly) to climb the peak of Mont Blanc.

If the Montblanc 1858 is good enough for certainly the most physical man in Hollywood, it’s good enough to accompany me up the face of Mont Blanc.

The Montblanc 1858 Geospheres will be accompanying 3 climbers from Singapore as they scale Mont Blanc

The Montblanc 1858 Geospheres will be accompanying 3 climbers from Singapore as they scale Mont Blanc

 

 

 

Montblanc Launches Its First High Flying Luggage Collection

Best known for their limited edition fountain pens and accessories, Montblanc is not one to shy away from exploring new grounds with their new collections. This year, the German luxury brand is stepping into a new market with the launch of their first luggage line. The brand’s #MY4810 Trolley Collection spans a set of five suitcases designed in different sizes fitted for different needs.

Explore New Horizons with Montblanc

“Our clients take a bit of Montblanc at all stages of the day: The watch, the wallet, the writing instrument, the eyeglasses. With our clients so much more on the move, a full luggage collection was definitely something that was missing.”

“At Montblanc, we are well known for being with our clients as lifetime companions,” Nicolas Baretzki, CEO of Montblanc said in an interview with Forbes, “Our clients take a bit of Montblanc at all stages of the day: The watch, the wallet, the writing instrument, the eyeglasses. With our clients so much more on the move, a full luggage collection was definitely something that was missing.”

The luggage collection comes in 5 different sizes suitable for long haul travels or simply a business carry on and everything in between. Featuring a pilot case, two cabin-sized trolleys (one with a front pocket) and two larger trolleys, the collection will be available in July at Montblanc boutiques worldwide and on the Montblanc website.

Like most luggage, high-quality materials were used to ensure the luggage suitable for heavy-duty travelling. The shell of the cases is made of lightweight polycarbonate with a nylon interior with plenty of pockets for storage. However, Montblanc made sure that the collection was not only extremely sturdy but equal parts luxurious looking. Leather – produced by the Montblanc factory – is used as stylistic touches on the handle, the corners and a band along the front of the bags with the Montblanc logo.

“We knew we needed to have a light case, but Montblanc is also about leather. So how do we integrate that asset into our new luggage line? By putting leather wherever we could; this makes us very different from today’s products on the market. It’s very important for us to have it made in Italy. For us that means leather.” – Baretzki said in a statement to Forbes

Gearing towards the millennial crowd (as with most luxury brands these days), the luxury maison has made the collection in full black, with the intention of allowing consumers to personalize their luggage to their own liking. Finishing off the bag is a TSA approved lock and a removable charger, accentuating the practicality of the luggage.

 

Montblanc started with producing petite-sized everyday luxury objects from writing instruments and leather accessories to creating one mechanical marvel after another. And now, the most highly anticipated launch for the well-travelled clients of the brand – the luggage collection will be reaching new heights whilst discovering the different facets of the world.

 

New Luxury Watch: Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection

New Luxury Watch: Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection

New Luxury Watch: Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection

The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection is a lauded series of timepieces expressing high horology watchmaking codes. The collection derives its name Chronométrie from the French word for “precision” and thus the latest Heritage Chronométrie Collection includes two new interpretations of the patented Exo Tourbillon Slim. Launched in 2016, the ExoTourbillon Slim was Montblanc’s highly discussed entry-level tourbillon, priced more accessibly than most of the competition save for TAG Heuer’s tourbillon in relative terms (since the avant garde brand’s exemplar comes paired with a chronograph) and the other new addition to the latest Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection is a modern new look for their celebrated perpetual calendar, this time executed in sapphire.

New Luxury Watch: Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection

The latest Heritage Chronométrie watches showcase all new 40-mm thin cases with new dial treatments. Eminently dressy, the cases differ from older models of the Heritage Chronométrie series thanks to slimmer horns, playing up the elegance of the high horology complications and emphasising the distinctive new dial aesthetics. In some instances, the dial has been completely eschewed with Montblanc opting a contemporary skeleton of sorts sharing much in common with a 3-Dimensional piece of art than a traditional skeletonised timepiece.

The newest Heritage Chronométrie timepieces are paired with dark blue alligator-effect straps straight from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, given the Maison’s unassailable reputation for leather goods, the suppleness of the skin makes immensely comfortable to wear. All three new models are certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, one of the harshest quality assurance tests in watchmaking for reliability and precision.

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire

Initially launched to great fanfare (and great debate – for being the most affordably priced perpetual calendar on the market), the new Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie perpetual calendar bears a smoked sapphire dial (instead of a more traditional sunray finished dial) and eschewing the silvery moonphase, a gorgeous, photorealistic 3-Dimensional, domed moon graces the face of the latest Heritage Chronométrie perpetual calendar Sapphire. You get to view all the inner workings of one of high horology’s most celebrated complications thanks to the sapphire crystal dial and the transparent subdials for calendar indications with dark-blue accents, matching the chapter ring with minute rail and the alligator strap. Refined sword-hands and rhodium plated indexes, hand applied, complete the classic look of Montblanc’s latest heritage perpetual calendar.

Heritage Chronométrie Perpetual Calendar Sapphire Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 29.15 with 42 hours power reserve
Case 40mm stainless steel with 30 metres water resistance
Strap Leather
Price SG$19,900

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim

The latest Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim, equipped with the brand’s vaunted and widely recognised pocket-friendly Manufacture Calibre MB 29.24 featuring the patented Exo Tourbillon, combined with a quick stop-second mechanism, in the same vein of another celebrated tourbillon from a certain Saxony watchmaking, is a sight to behold. Where the new Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim excels is the intelligent use of micro-rotor oscillating weight, allowing an unimpeded view of the superlative finishing of the Exo Tourbillon calibre and the artisanship of Montblanc’s Villeret manufacture.

First introduced in 2010, the namesake Exo derives its name from the Greek “outer” – in this instance – the large balance with easily identifiable screw weights outside the rotating cage. That said, the real complication isn’t the tourbillon but rather the patented construction used by Montblanc to make the cage smaller and thus more energy efficient than a traditional tourbillon; it also enjoys precision beyond a conventional tourbillon, Montblanc’s Exo tourbillon architecture utilises a balance outside the rotating cage which means that the inertia (however slight) from the cage doesn’t affect chronometry.

That said, it bears the heritage appellation but that applies to classic watchmaking know-how rather than design – a new contemporary bridge held in place with hexagonal supports and screwed with blued screws is a nice metaphor for how the maison bridges its history with its future. The slate-grey dial with vertically brushed finishing, framed by a blue flange with white minute rail lands a cohesive look to the piece. Cardinal hour numeral indexes lend an air of classic elegance to the timepiece while hours and minutes are indicated with traditional sword hands. The 42mm 18k gold timepiece enjoys a slim 8.9mm, a truly refined piece of high horology.

Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 29.24 with 48 hours power reserve
Case 40mm 18k white gold with 30 metres water resistance
Strap Leather
Price SG$47,100

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Openworked

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Openworked

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Openworked

The Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Openworked is not your father’s skeletonised watch. What it is, is a thoroughly modern take on a deeply classic decorative technique. Executed in contrast dark grey and blue, both the face and reverse of the movement have been skeletonised using a dazzle-camouflage design that gives a trompe l’oeil effect, giving the openworked Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim contemporary appeal.

However, the skeletal work is actually inspired by an old technique used in World War I – Dazzle-camouflage. Back in the 1910s, the cubist-style patterns were designed to create a visual illusion, hampering estimations of an enemy ship’s range, speed, and direction; the geometric shapes “dazzled” (hence the name) – by intersecting and creating an almost 3-dimensional effect in paint, here, in skeletonised form, the latest Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Openworked is literally 3D thanks to components and bridges which mimic the dazzle-camouflage aesthetic, enhanced further thanks to contrast finishing on the various components of the calibre.

Satinated rhodium gearwork against black rhodium sandblasted finished components with the exposed mainspring barrel, blend modernity with heritage craft.

Heritage Chronométrie Exo Tourbillon Slim Openworked Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre MB 29.24 with 48 hours power reserve
Case 40mm 18k white gold with 30 metres water resistance
Strap Leather
Price SG$55,800

Montblanc launches New Twin Smart Strap

First released in 2015. Montblanc unveiled their first e-strap as one of the first established luxury watch brands to offer its approach to the burgeoning smartwatch market. This year August, the watchmaker is releasing a new version, with some new technical functions and most significantly, sporting much better aesthetics and wearability.

Montblanc Transforms Traditional Timepieces Into Connected Digital Companions With New Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap.

The new strap that Montblanc refers to as “high quality and comfortable,” will come in two versions at 20mm and 22mm, two of the most common lug widths. The strap itself is made from high-quality rubber composite with structural blocks designed to allow guided and easy adjustment. The upper part of the strap comes in four different versions, these are black or brown calf leather, black or black and grey nylon.

 

With the Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap the brand also introduces a new mobile payment platform called Montblanc Pay. It brings contactless payment to its owner’s wrist, allowing for easy payment at compatible terminals in stores, restaurants or wherever. This means that “mechanical timepieces can act as digital wallets for the first time”

Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap consists of two parts – a smart module with a curved display
and a specially designed strap that can be mounted onto almost any timepiece.

A thin and light smart module

Made of a high quality watchmaking stainless steel, as well as a shock and scratch resistant protective glass, the mechanical clasp is designed to look seamless with most timepieces. Underneath the curved glass, a monochrome OLED displays notifications with coloured LED lights and vibration alerts.

Bluetooth connectivity ensures smooth communication with the Montblanc TWIN companion app for iOS and the NFC chip with Secure Element allow easy contactless payment. The module is IP68 water resistant and allows for up to a week autonomy on a single charge.

Sleek rubber strap

The high quality and comfortable strap will be available in two widths – 22 and 20mm. Made with of high-quality rubber composite with structural blocks, it is specially designed to allow wrist adjustments.

The upper part of the strap is customisable to suit both classic and contemporary styles, with four different versions: black calf leather, vintage brown calf leather, black nylon and black & grey striped nylon.

New Features

One of the most talked about new feature will be Montblanc Pay, a digital wallet can store up to five credit cards into the Montblanc Twin companion app. Working in “full partnership with Visa and Mastercard to ensure the highest security standards”, “the payment function will deactivate in case of theft or loss and state-of-the-art data encryption will keep your credit card and other personal data secure from hacking.”

One of the highlights for this new version is Montblanc Pay – a mobile payment platform that brings contactless payment to its owner’s wrist, a first one for timepieces.

‘Memories’ is a new feature that syncs automatically with the user’s calendar events, with an algorithm that copies any media taken during the period of each respective calendar event. Finally, these visual memories will be filed under each event and accessed in the Montblanc TWIN app, meant to “[create] a deeper emotional bond with the timepiece through this advanced function.”

Another new feature are “daily rings” that the users will receive, meant to be “a digital diary [which,] when zoomed into, give the user visual feedback and insights that can be used to take back control of his or her time.” A perhaps more romantic way to keep track of your days.

Compatibility iOS
Display OLED covered with curved SR+ Glass
Dimensions 47 x 26 mm
Thickness 6 mm at thickest point
Battery Up to a week on single charge
Water-resistant IP68 splash and rain resistant

Montblanc TWIN Smart Strap is available from August 2018 with a starting RSP of 390€. It will be available online and through retail stores.

For more information visit www.montblanc.com

Fan Bingbing joins Montblanc as Global Brand Ambassador

Widely celebrated for her charismatic femininity, Fan Bingbing has won international acclaim as one of the most influential actresses in the world of Chinese film and television.

Montblanc announces a new global face – Chinese actress and red carpet darling Fan Bingbing.

“Fan Bingbing is the quintessential modern woman, portraying confidence in different areas beyond acting. Her interest and knowledge comprises fashion, philanthropy and business,” said Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki. “This self-confidence, determination and independence are what define the ‘boheme spirit’ and we are delighted to welcome Fan Bingbing to the Montblanc family.”

Fan Bingbing on the red carpet for Ash is the Purest White 2, wearing the Montblanc Bohème watch.

Fan Bingbing has constantly excelled as an artist with her roles in Cell Phone (2004), Buddha Mountain (2010), and I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016). Her moving portrayals has won her much recognition and hearts, including the best female lead award at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Her work in I Am Not Madame Bovary especially, has earned her many accolades as the best female lead at the Asian Film Awards, the Golden Horse Awards, as well as actress of the year by the China Film Directors’ Guild. With her excellence in the film industry, Fan Bingbing has also served as a judge in the main competition at the Cannes International Film Festival and a jury member for the Academy Awards.

Beyond her on-screen role as an actress, Fan Bingbing has also boldly explored part many boundaries in her career. Just this year March, Fan launched her own cosmetics line, Fan Beauty. In 2017, she was also listed in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world along with other artistes such as Ed Sheeran and John Legend.

Whether it is creating at her own studio or joining global fashion circles, Fan Bingbing exemplifies great individuality, earnestness, and determined strength – all of which are characteristics that propels her as an epitome of the “Bohème lady”.

The Montblanc Bohème Exo Tourbillon Slim Jewelry, an elegantly bejeweled piece.

With this new collaboration, Montblanc and Fan Bingbing have joined forces to bring the
“Bohème spirit” to life in a captivating commercial, that fully displays the self-confidence that
lies within the modern woman. It is a salute to the unique style and the intellectual achievements of the “Bohème woman”. Since the debut of Montblanc’s Bohème collection in 2014, women all over the world have been expressing devotion to the Bohème collection’s way of highlighting self-confidence.

On her new role as the new global ambassador of Mont Blanc, Fan Bingbing aptly conveys the Bohème character: “Trusting yourself and daring to follow your heart is what allows the modern woman’s inner light to shine through.”

Fan Bingbing at the backstage of Cannes Press Conference for movie 355, sporting the Bohème watch.

The Bohème collection draws inspiration from the many charms exuded by the independent modern woman—her passion, her courage, her inspiration, and the way she moves those around her. In 2016, the brand brought its self-developed, patented external-frame tourbillon into the Bohème collection, fully melding the charisma, confidence, and fearlessness of the modern woman with high-end Swiss watch-making.

Montblanc’s High Artistry Heritage Metamorphosis Pen Is A Déjà vu From Nearly A Decade Ago

Montblanc High Artistry Heritage Metamorphosis Pen – Limited Edition 1 White Gold

The spider is an ancient symbol that has been a recurring metaphor in the works of acclaimed authors and poets since the late 18th century. Paul Valéry and Francis Ponge are prominent figures amongst creators who frequently feature spiders in the form of literature and art. So, too, has it been rendered as inspiration for pen-makers to work the widely-celebrated spider web motif into their works. Montblanc debuted its first spider-inspired pen in 1920. Now, nearly a century later, the brand revisits the theme once again in their latest edition of Montblanc High Artistry Heritage Metamorphosis Pen.

Montblanc High Artistry Heritage Spider Metamorphosis Limited Edition 1 White Gold

Montblanc’s High Artistry Heritage Metamorphosis Pen Is A Déjà vu From Nearly A Decade Ago

This exquisite pen is exemplary of Montblanc’s expertise in pairing high artistry with the precision of pen-making to craft a truly functional yet wholly sculptural writing instrument. With advanced stone-cutting techniques and Montblanc’s know-how in nip crafting, this unique collection features hand-engraved and polished three-dimensional spider’s web motif, adorned with 13 carats of diamonds. To top off the gorgeous design, the pen set comes with a bangle and a clip, possibly in endearment of Ovid’s “The transformation of Arachne” in Metamorphoses, as the cap bears a transformative feature with a detachable spider that can be converted into a piece of jewellery: a bangle bracelet, tiepin or brooch.

The new collection is a unique vision in gold, diamonds and precious stones available in white, champagne and red. The white and champagne gold cap and barrel are paved with brilliant-cut stones. The detachable objet d’art that accompanies the pen is made from a pearl-cut diamond, 1.07-carat oval-cut Myanmar ruby and 12.36-carat Burmese star sapphire for the respective colours, and its legs set with 16 diamonds. And if that isn’t enough dazzle, the pen’s clip is set with a baguette diamond. The 18-karat gold nib is engraved with the likeness of the eight-legged captivating creature and is set with two brilliant-cut diamonds. This is the first time the luxury Maison introduces a transformable ornament on the writing masterpiece. The adoption of literacy metaphors sees the beginning of the brand weaving its way to greater creative excellence.

 

Montblanc: Meisterstück Le Petit Prince Special Edition

Montblanc: Meisterstück Le Petit Prince Special Edition

Writing is like dancing, it requires a lot of dedication, patience, a composed yet a concentrated mind to perfect the art of strokes, without seeking the spotlight. You have to learn to listen, feel, watch and trust yourself. Writing is a solo profession, working all the time to an accuracy of fractions of a millimetre. Gradually, you will develop a special intuition to write thousands of characters by hand and ensuring the nib glides smoothly across the page, expressing thoughts and ideas, transcending dreams and making unsung songs heard.

This April, the German luxury brand Montblanc is releasing the Special Edition of the new Meisterstück Le Petit Prince, to bring together the heritage of timeless gifting favourite and the cultural influence of a great literary mind. Inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s poetic tale, the new Meisterstück Le Petit Prince celebrates the powerful symbol of education and the importance of transmitting ideas to create lasting memories and bonds.

The German luxury brand has a long tradition of supporting influential art projects and recognising talents who have devoted their time, passion and energy to perfect their craft. In this special edition Meisterstück, the writing instrument is available in three types: ballpoint pen, roller ball and the fountain pen features an 18k bi-colour nib, showing the outline of the Little Prince and the fox embellishment.

The special edition Meisterstück is inspired by a much-loved book with editions in more than 250 languages and dialects, that tells a story about “a young prince and the fox who enlightens him about the importance of close bonds and human relationships, revealing the core wisdom learned from his own life’s experiences.”

 

To complete the writing experience, Montblanc has also introduced a selection of men’s accessories inspired by Meisterstück Le Petit Prince, such as leather notebook made of fine Saffino leather with a fox scenery illustration on the cover, a pair of round stainless steel cufflinks and money clip in stainless steel, both finished in deep blue lacquer with a fox face design. The blue leather bracelet features Montblanc’s signature engraving on stainless steel, juxtaposed with a yellow star at the centre.

For more information, please visit the brand’s official website and follow Montblanc oFacebook and Instagram.

SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere WorldTime

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Successful climbs or “summiting” all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge (the most difficult one at that), first achieved in 1985 by Richard Bass.  The SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere WorldTime is dedicated to that challenge. Featuring a worldtime complication with two turning domed hemisphere globes, each making a full rotation in 24 hours, one is reminded of the superlative Tourbillon Cylindrique NightSky Geosphères, itself a homage to the daring adventurer Vasco da Gama. More importantly, the new Montblanc SIHH 2018 novelty doesn’t come with a similar eye-watering price tag and a chance to create your own legend.

Indeed, the Tourbillon Cylindrique NightSky Geospheres was a superlative hand-finished watch, with a price tag of €275,000. The same concept sans tourbillon with cylindrical balance spring is applied to the  SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere WorldTime. The resulting watch is simpler yet it still pays respectful tribute to the 160th anniversary of Minerva and while featuring a brand-new Villeret manufacture WorldTime complication, exposing the world of Montblanc fine watchmaking to a new breed of watch aficionados.

SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere WorldTime

The northern hemisphere of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere turns anti- clockwise while the southern hemisphere at 6 o’clock turns clockwise, both surrounded by a scale with the 24 time zones, along with a day/night indication in contrasting colours. A second time zone display at 9 o’clock serves as a quick reference to time at a secondary location, however the ease of reading worldtime via literal hemispheres renders it somewhat redundant if useful from the standpoint of aesthetic balance.

Aesthetically speaking, the world’s Seven summits are marked on the two hemispheres with red dots, drawing your attention to summits yet untamed. They are also engraved on the case back along with the unique drawing of the Mont Blanc mountain, a compass and two crossed ice pick-axes. Design elements are found across the 1858 collection are also found on the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere like cathedral hands and well defined arabic numerals.

By night, this worldtime instrument comes alive with the longitude reference meridian for both hemispheres is highlighted with a white line, and the continents themselves are also coated with SuperLumiNova®. Like the automatic chronograph, the watch comes in two versions, with a stainless steel case or a limited edition bronze case. Both feature polished and satin-finishing as well as vintage fluted crowns with the Montblanc emblem in relief. A new bidirectional stainless steel or bronze bezel with shiny black ceramic completes the design of the 1858 Geosphere WorldTime.

The automatic Calibre MB 29.25 of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is powered by an automatic Sellita base movement and topped with a Villeret in-house WorldTime module completely certified by the vaunted Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.

Limited to 1858 pieces.

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Price and Specs

Movement Automatic in-house Calibre MB 29.25 with 42 hours power reserve
Case 42mm stainless steel or bronze with 100m water resistance
Strap Brown Sfumato aged calf leather Bund strap with beige stitching
Price €5,190 in stainless steel, €5,890 in bronze – Singapore Price: SGD 8300

SIHH 2018 Montblanc introduces New 1858 Automatic Chronograph

The new SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph features rhodium-coated luminescent cathedral-shaped hour-hand and minute-hand, white chronograph’s second-hand and white counter- hands, historical Montblanc emblem at 12 o’clock

The last time we saw a Montblanc 1858 Chronograph, it was a Tachymeter Limited Edition In Bronze. It equipped with a manually wound chronograph calibre reminiscent of the legendary calibre 19.09 (19 lines / launched in 1909), featuring the recognizable V-Chrono shaped bridge and it eventually got nominated for GPHG 2017.  For SIHH 2018 Montblanc introduces a new 1858 Automatic Chronograph inspired by the legendary professional Minerva watches from the 1920s and 30s that were meant for military use and mountain exploration.

The 1858 collection is a homage to the 160 years of the Minerva Manufacture and its extraordinary heritage; the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph feels like an odd (for reasons we will make clear in a minute) but appealing choice for a heritage edition.

The stainless steel Montblanc 1858 automatic chronograph with slim curved horns featuring polished and satin finishing

SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph

First, the new SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph combines a strong vintage aesthetic with a chronograph function and though it follows design heritage of the Minerva Monopusher chronograph, the subdials on this edition are larger and closer together as opposed to the vintage model.

Available in a stainless steel or bronze case, the 42 mm 1858 Automatic Chronograph features both polished and satin finishing for utmost refinement and comes with a domed sapphire crystal glass box, highlighting the robustness and the vintage appeal however unlike the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter variants, one niggling aspect feels oddly (if accurately) out of place – those monopusher chronograph models featured sapphire casebacks where the finely decorated movements with hand chamfered and hand decorated chronograph calibre 16.29 – the manually wound nature of the movement embodies the spirit of the era while the open caseback was oddly anachronistic (sapphire backs didn’t exist nor was it the sort of thing watch collectors were into at the time); Comparatively, the latest Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph features closed casebacks, which while period accurate, feels somewhat disappointing because we don’t get to see high horology Minerva finishing that we have grown accustomed to.

The vintage Minerva monopusher chronograph which provides design DNA for both manual winding tachymeter and automatic chronograph variants,

For the bronze model, the case back comes in titanium coated in bronze to avoid allergies. The case back has been engraved with the emblematic Mont Blanc mountain, a compass and two crossed ice pick-axes, as a nod to the spirit of mountain exploration. Nevertheless, this SIHH 2018 Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph kicks off our coverage for the brand because there is a ton of aesthetic appeal recalling the old school bundeswehr chronographs produced for military pilots.

The bronze model with smoked champagne-coloured dial with sunray finishing, is the closest in terms of aesthetics to the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter in Bronze, providing an elegant backdrop for the bi-compax counters positioned at three and nine o’clock. The dial is completed with beige luminescent Arabic numerals and cathedral-shaped hands that are slightly domed and have been enhanced with SuperLumiNova. For both stainless steel and bronze 1858 Automatic Chronograph variants, the muse from Minerva’s historic chronographs are self-evident.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph Price and Specs

Case Stainless steel or bronze with 100m water resistance
Movement Automatic in-house Calibre MB 25.11 with 48 hours power reserve
Strap Lined black and grey “NATO” strap or a cognac-coloured aged calfskin strap with beige stitching
Price €3990

Best Way to Spend Your Holiday: Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel overlooking La Mer de Glace

You’ve worked hard for over 90% of the year and the best way to spend your holidays is to go for a trip to some of the most beautiful places; so why not head to the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel overlooking the La Mer de Glace? It’s only been housing mountaineers and travelers from all across Europe since the late 1800s.

Overlooking La Mer de Glace, Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel offers some of the most scenic views in the world. For those unfamiliar, the Mer de Glace is a valley glacier located on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif, in the French Alps and it has drawn climbers from all across the globe, leaving them mesmerised and enchanted by the sheer majesty of this geographical tapestry.The impressive and picturesque mountain-scape has attracted more artistic visitors, painters and later photographers since the 18th century until the construction of Grand Hotel du Montenvers in 1880 where it became a “must stay” hotel for all travelers to the valley glacier depicted in Joseph Mallord William Turner‘s “Source of the Arveron in the Valley of Chamouni Savoy”

Best Way to Spend Your Holiday: Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel overlooking La Mer de Glace

If you’re looking for a way to impress the heck out of your companions and to satisfy your appetite for provenance and luxury, there’s simply no better place to spend your holidays at the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel.  Legendary for its history, magical by nature and envied for its panoramic view, the Mer de Glace at Montenvers, above Chamonix is one of the finest jewels of the French Alpine heritage.

Each of the 20 rooms and suites at the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel overlooking the 7km La Mer de Glace has since been renovated but still maintain the essence of their mountain refuge roots with the original furniture has been preserved and re-used to give it new life.  Old wooden chimneys have been transformed into bookcases, bedside lamps replaced with miner’s lamps and leather travel trunks, brought back from journeys and expeditions of the past, turned into bedside tables.

In the bathrooms, the use of stone highlights the washbasins and retro bathroom fittings. There is absolutely everything you need to enjoy unique experiences with your family and friends. At 6725 feet above sea level, the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel faces the top of Europe – the Mont Blanc summit, a juxtaposition of traditional accommodations which also includes a heritage old-school dormitory which sleeps 10 in capsule style bunk-beds with luxurious restaurants and on-site coffee shop serving local alpine cuisine, this ocean of ice impresses and attracts thousands of visitors with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

A Picturesque Heritage Stay at the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel

With room rates covering accommodation, breakfast and dinner, the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel enjoys five tiers:

  1. The Refuge rooms are designed to be like intimate cocoons, offering the charm of yesteryear and old-fashioned yet comfortable furnishings: parquet flooring, reclaimed dark wood panelling, cosy beds, mountain wool fabrics and subdued lighting.
  2. The Hiker rooms really go back to basics with simple, welcoming, comfortable lodgings. Designed like cosy nests with reclaimed dark wood panelling, mountain wool fabrics and soft duvets, they are the perfect place for sharing authentic experiences like re-reading “Premier de Cordée”… There is a sofa bed for a third person. Each bedroom has its own bathroom with a shower.
  3. The Family Hiker rooms are simply and authentically decorated with comfort in mind for families to come together and share special times in the mountains. They have a double bed, a sofa bed and bunk beds and can accommodate up to 5 people. Each bedroom has its own bathroom with a shower.
  4. The Tribu rooms offer 5 or 7 beds and have been designed for families or groups of friends sharing fun times and unforgettable moments together. They offer the authentic ‘Refuge’ experience with comfortable, modern decor, light wood panelling and exposed beams, but enjoy the privacy of having their own bathroom.
  5. The Altitude suites are perfect for a cosy romantic break. They are more spacious, decorated in an authentic style and provide all the comfort needed for you to enjoy your stay. The bathroom offers a bath and a shower and is open to the bedroom giving the whole area a boudoir feel. A sofa bed can accommodate a third person.

Food & Beverage at the Refuge du Montenvers

Life at the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel is best experienced with a bit of mountain cuisine at the Restaurant du Montenvers. Savour transalpine flavors like the Snail cassolette of the Mont Blanc country, crust with morels, roast poultry or fondues signed by the master cheesemaker Boujon..

Le Panoramique Mer de Glace restaurant, the hotel’s bistro is a venue with a view featuring French cuisine promoting regional flavours: a selection of verrines, slates and dishes prepared in their cast-iron cocottes, simmered with love. Enjoy classics like the Savoyard hotpot, Pela des Aravis or grandmother’s roast chicken, a favorite family recipe. Try mountain favorites like the Mer de Glace, a homemade ice cream cup, the classic Mont-Blanc with chestnut cream or the Aiguille Rouge, poached pear, blackcurrant and gingerbread.

It’s named Le Panoramique for a reason – the best, most breathtaking views of the Mer de Glace and the Drus is found here. Ceramic subway tile, notes of light woods, a simple yet refined decor leaves the beauty to the incredible view of the Petit Dru and the Mer de Glace. When summer arrives, enjoy the incredible terrace which gives the impression of being “at the edge of the world.”

Finally, a place which guests and Montenvers skiers of the Vallée Blanche can stop and share: The Bar des Glaciers, located at the arrival station of the Montenvers train, where snacks prepared with fresh, ingredients are proposed at any time of day. Featuring rough and natural materials such as granite and wood, The Bar des Glaciers renovations echo the natural environment just steps from the terminus. A large granite countertop replicates the rocky peaks, touches of ice blue call to mind the glacier; antique photographs of the Montenvers dot the walls in contemporary style. A stop at the Bar des Glaciers is a must before returning to Chamonix!

Rooms at Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers Hotel start $300. Book here.

New Watch: Pre-SIHH 2018 Montblanc Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph

 

When it comes to Montblanc’s Pre-SIHH 2018 Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph, it might appear at first blush that it is yet another new watch jumping on the “trend bandwagon”. First, there was a DLC trend, then there was a ceramic trend, a bronze trend followed soon after and it looks like we are at peak “Panda” trend; almost every brand which makes a chronograph has one in their repertoire or added one in the last two to three years.

That said, what we perceive as “trendy” today is not exactly a momentary inclination towards that design aesthetic when the desire and appeal for those types of dials can be characterised as “ever-lasting”.

 

New Watch: Pre-SIHH 2018 Montblanc Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph

For those of you unfamiliar, the panda aesthetic literally refers to a white watch face, typically a tri-compax chronograph but also applicable to a bi-compax chronograph with black or dark subdials. The reverse panda however, refers to a black face with white subdials.

Having re-invigorated interest in the brand’s classical watches thanks to high appeals to nostalgia courtesy of their 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter and the Heritage Chronometrie collection, Montblanc casts their watchmaking ambitions towards the sportive genre with their strongest ever push yet – the Montblanc Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph.

Make no mistake, the Manufacture was not content to merely tug on the heart-strings with a heritage aesthetic, Montblanc designed a column-wheel manufacture chronograph calibre with their latest MB 25.10 and despite the post-modern outward appearance of the timepiece, elected to decorate the movement with traditional finishing such as “Côtes de Genève”, circular graining, blue screws and a thematically appropriate monobloc oscillating weight made of black rhodium-plated tungsten, designed in the shape of a steering wheel.

Suffice it to say, every element of design is rooted in racing details recalling the golden age of motor racing. Beyond the panda tri-compax design inspired by 60s and 70s racing chronographs, the dial also has a flange with 5 minute track coated with SuperLumiNova for high visibility. Other sportive accents include the include rhodium-plated, dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands and a red chronograph second hand inspired by the Minerva arrow, a nod to Minerva’s legacy and heritage.

All ensconced with a 43mm satin-finished stainless steel case and secured to scraps with semi-skeletonised lugs akin to the air intakes of a car, the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph comes with fixed black ceramic bezel for that touch of glossy elegance and durability – a reminder that despite the cream dial, this chronograph may reference a glorious period of racing history but it is really a thoroughly modern high precision chronograph.

 

 

Pre-SIHH 2018 Montblanc Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph Price and Specs

Case 43mm Stainless steel, satin-finished case with 100m water resistance
Movement Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB 25.10 with 46 hour power reserve
Strap Vintage brown Sfumato aged calf leather strap or stainless steel bracelet
Price €4990 to €5290

TimeWalker: Montblanc Singapore Celebrates The Spirit of Racing

The author with his race companion Vanessa Liok of Porsche Club Singapore

Born after 1977 and before 83, I’m part of a generation of Singaporeans who oddly embraces the vagaries and extreme spectrums of technology. Equally passionate with mechanical watches and smart devices, Xennials, the group of individuals who are sandwiched between the oft derided millennials and the long suffering generation X often enjoy the nostalgia of heritage while celebrating modern advances and creature comforts. Thus, when the new Montblanc TimeWalker collection debuted at SIHH 2017, I was a little more than enthused about the retro styling coupled with the material technology of futuristic ceramics. Thus, when Montblanc Singapore wanted to evoke the glory days of vintage automobile racing and the history of chronograph specialist Minerva with a Rally Race, I was metaphorically chomping at the bit (horse-racing providing the impetus for ever increasing precision timing devices).

Montblanc established a racing atmosphere at Fullerton Bay Hotel’s LANTERN. Of great popularity, a nostalgic throwback to our childhoods courtesy of a toy magnetic race car track.

Montblanc Singapore Celebrates The Spirit of Racing with Timewalker Grand Prix

A convoy of 46 Porsches (10 of them were specially stickered to resemble vintage rally
racing cars) from Porsche Club Singapore raced off from The Fullerton Bay Hotel and embarked on the TimeWalker Grand Prix, an island wide treasure hunt which was supposed to take 2 hours but thanks to my speedy race partner, Vanessa Liok from Porsche Club Singapore, we completed the Timewalker Rally in slightly more than an hour even after taking into account the many Montblanc Timewalker challenges (where we answered trivia questions regarding the collection and “skits” for social media)  at various locations around Singapore such as Keppel Bay, Dempsey Hill, HortPark and Sentosa Cove.

A Montblanc Grand Prix rally point where Timewalker trivia challenges were given to the rally racers.

Some of the social media skits and challenges used by Montblanc Singapore to disseminate awareness of the new Timewalker collection on social media

As exhausted rally racers returned to the Fullerton Bay Hotel for a brief reprieve, Montblanc’s VIP customers and Porsche Club Singapore co-partners could look forward to an evening of precision chronographs and imbibing cocktails at the picturesque Lantern bar. But before we could escape the relentless late afternoon sun, we glimpsed the arrival of ultra-rare vintage Porsches including the 356 Speedster, a one of a kind RUF 993 CTS 2 (993 Turbo) in
Speed Yellow, a 930 Slopenose, 1 of 2 originals from Stuttgart, and a 911E in Slate Grey
paying homage to Steve McQueen, a parade of automotive heritage.

Montblanc Singapore had managed to infuse Lantern with an atmosphere of racing with a slot car game, chequered flags and trophies and something from my Xennial childhood, a toy racing car track where we raced toy cars on magnetic rails via remote.

New Montblanc TimeWalker Collection & SGD Prices

Against this vibrant backdrop of heritage mechanical watchmaking and well engineered performance machines, Montblanc introduced their latest TimeWalker Collection combining the heritage of the legendary Minerva timing instruments with the finest technology and a vintage-themed racing style.

Backed by the legitimacy of  Minerva, a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional timing instruments since their founding in Villeret in 1858, the Montblanc TimeWalker Collection symbolizes the spirit of racing and harks back to these heritage timing instruments by offering a line of new professional watches for the modern performer
The Manufacture developed stopwatches that could measure 1/5th of a second as early as 1911, rapidly increasing to 1/10th of a second. In this innovative spirit, in 1916, the Minerva Manufacture was one of the first to produce a high-frequency movement that could measure 1/100th of a second, a development that was further technically improved in 1936, putting Minerva on the map as the specialist of professional watches and stopwatches and today, Montblanc continues the legacy of professional timekeeping through the aptly named TimeWalker collection.

The new Montblanc TimeWalker collection represents a strong contemporary expression of the ever evolving art of classical watchmaking. Today, these mechanical throwbacks to pre-industry are dressed in high tech material combinations like black ceramic, satinated steel, titanium and rubber. These timepieces were on display inside glass cases set around the cocktail area while a Montblanc watchmaker worked at his bench offered guests and watch aficionados a closer look at the technicity of the new Timewalker watches.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter and Rally Timer Voted 2017 GPHG Finalists

The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition and TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition from Montblanc are two of 72 watches chosen as finalists in the 2017 Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG) .

The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter and TimeWalker Rally Timer will compete with other watchmaking exemplars of high horology to win one of the 15 prizes that will reward the industry’s most innovative, best finished or most groundbreaking horological creations  including the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or”. The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) aims, in a spirit of sharing and cooperation, to yearly highlight and reward high-quality creations in order to nurture the advancement of the watchmaking art and the Aiguille d’Or or Grand Prix is the prize which rewards the best overall watch among all categories, it is also the Grand Prix’s most prestigious award.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter and Rally Timer Voted 2017 GPHG Finalists

A panel of jurists will meet in November to commence final selection. Each will vote behind via secret ballot under the watchful eyes of a legal notary, a strict procedure to allay fears and rumour-mongering of the often politicised Grand Prix for watchmaking. Fans of Montblanc will learn whether their beloved Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter and TimeWalker Rally Timer are winners of either category awards or the creme de la creme Aiguille d’Or at the award ceremony on Wednesday November 8th at the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva.

Profile of a GPHG Finalist: The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition

The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter was a two toned 44mm limited edition in satinated bronze and titanium. The Montblanc GPHG finalist also bears polished bezel for extra depth and elegance while the champagne dial with sunray finishing and cathedral shaped hands are matched by faux-patinated SuperLuminova which further sell the vintage appeal of the classical age of motoring.

 

The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is driven by the calibre MB M16.29, distinctive for its column wheel mechanism, horizontal coupling, chronograph bridge in a “V” shape, the so called signature “Devil’s tail” and a large screwed balance wheel beating at a somewhat leisurely 18,000 vph. Montblanc’s GPHG finalist nominee bears 50 hours power reserve and is dressed with a cognac alligator leather strap crafted at the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, complete with a satinated bronze plated buckle.

Profile of a GPHG Finalist: Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition

Reinterpreting Minerva’s historical Rally Timer, Montblanc presents an innovative and versatile timepiece strictly limited to 100 pieces. It can be used in different ways, as it can be changed from a wristwatch into a pocket watch or dashboard clock. The manufacture calibre MB M16.29 with a monopusher chronograph was inspired by the original Minerva calibre 17-29 from the 1930s, offering handcrafted fine watchmaking finishes such as chamfered angles and “Côtes de Genève” or circular graining decorations. As on the famous Minerva Rally Timer, the chronograph’s 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock is vertically aligned with the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. With a tip sculpted after the Minerva arrow, the red chronograph seconds hand runs in central position along a tachymeter scale, which can be used to calculate speeds over fixed distances. The historical Arabic numerals and the precise minuterie with red accents at five-minute markings were also modelled after its predecessor. With the same dimensions as its famous predecessor, the satinated titanium case with knurled finishing and DLC coating on the flank boasts an unusually large diameter of 50 mm. For utmost reliability and performance, the timepiece has been rigorously tested by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.

Inside Manufacture Minerva: Home of Montblanc 1858 Collection

Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary Limited Edition

Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary Limited Edition

In the pantheon of Roman gods, Janus is the one who presides over beginnings, transitions, and endings. Time itself is part of his domain, and Janus was often depicted with two faces – one gazed back at the past, while the other looked into the future. Montblanc shares a striking similarity to Janus in that both bridge the past and future: the maison constantly seeks to break new ground, yet keeps a keen eye on its heritage, both to protect it and to draw inspiration from it. This trait is characterised, quite fittingly, by the brand’s timepieces.

Dawn of a New Manufacture

Montblanc only started producing timepieces in 1997. This was admittedly a late start, especially in comparison to other manufactures that already boasted over a century of watchmaking heritage by then. Considering how the maison has managed to establish itself as a bona fide manufacture with both mass market and haute horlogerie offerings within two decades, however, it is clear that the length of time is but one factor in determining the relative success that a brand has in this field.

Montblanc's Le Locle Manufacture

Montblanc’s Le Locle Manufacture

Montblanc’s initial foray into timepieces was centred on Le Locle, where it established its watchmaking operations. The choice was an easy one to make – the little town nestled in the Jura Mountains had a long history of watchmaking, and already depended on it as its chief economic activity from the 1840s. As Montblanc was part of the Richemont Group, it could also count on technical support from sibling brands such as IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. From the get-go, however, the maison was determined to maintain its autonomy in design and product positioning. To that end, its initial offerings heavily mirrored the fountain pens that the brand was then better known for – gold cases and black dials recalled classics such as the Montblanc Meisterstück 149, and drew an instant link between the two product universes. The stylised six-pointed white star was also a recurring motif and appeared in places such as the crown and the seconds hand. Over time, Montblanc expanded its range of watches to include women’s collections such as the ultra-feminine Star Lady, and sportier lines like the Timewalker. The brand’s ability to master both the traditional and the avant-garde was evident from the start – even as it pushed the envelope with technical details such as the use of DLC in some sports watches, it also offered classic designs in lines like the Star collection.

Acquiring Minerva, Transforming into Villeret

Montblanc received a major boost to its watchmaking capabilities in 2006, when the Richemont Group acquired Minerva. The Villeret-based manufacture was nearly 150 years old by then, and the terms of the deal included unlimited rights to its calibres, existing ébauches, machines, tools, and even the building itself. Considering that Minerva did produce its own watches, it was certainly possible to establish the manufacture as a distinct brand within the Richemont Group’s portfolio, albeit one that operated on a smaller scale. The ultimate decision, however, was to integrate it with Montblanc.

Inside Manufacture-Minerva, now known as Villeret, Home of Montblanc 1858 Collection.

Inside Manufacture-Minerva, now known as Villeret, Home of Montblanc 1858 Collection.

Minerva was only named as such in 1929; the company was founded in 1858, and was initially an établisseur that merely assembled finished components into complete watches. It reached a major milestone in 1902 with the introduction of its first in-house movement and, by 1910, was producing around a dozen different ébauches alongside chronographs and stopwatches. As an entity, Minerva changed hands several times and, as was common in the past, had its products marketed under many different brands, such as the now defunct Rhenus and Tropic. There were common threads running through its history though. For one, despite the ownership changes Minerva remained private until its acquisition by the Richemont Group. This gave the manufacture an independence that also shaped its development – automation, for instance, was never considered, which kept the quantities of movements and watches produced relatively modest. In turn, Minerva’s limited scale safeguarded its independence, as it was too small to attract the attention of conglomerates keen on acquiring watchmaking assets. Ownership aside, the company’s winning of the timing contract for the 1936 Winter Olympic Games also set an important precedent by firmly establishing chronographs, stopwatches, and measuring instruments as the second key pillar of the business, in addition to watches. This business unit kept the company afloat during the Quartz Crisis, as it supplied stopwatches and other measuring devices to clients outside the watch industry.

The vaunted 500 hours test within Montblanc's Le Locle facility

The vaunted 500 hours test within Montblanc’s Le Locle facility

Inside Manufacture Minerva: Home of Montblanc 1858 Collection

Under Montblanc, Minerva was rebranded as the maison’s Villeret manufacture. This addition meant that Montblanc now had two synergistic watchmaking assets under it –the state-of-the-art Le Locle manufacture that produces tens of thousands of watches annually, and the traditional Villeret manufacture with an expertise in movement development and production honed over one and a half centuries.

Indeed, the maison took full advantage of this, and eventually separated the watchmaking functions among the two manufactures to play to each’s strengths. The Villeret manufacture now handles in-house movement development and prototyping, as well as the assembly of all in-house movements from small to high complications. Selected timepieces that are produced within the manufacture’s high watchmaking atelier are encased there as well, with each watch cased up by the same watchmaker that assembled its movement. Finally, the Villeret manufacture also produces hairsprings. This fairly uncommon capability that has allowed Montblanc to offer atypical oscillators, such as the Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary Limited Edition watch, which uses two concentric cylindrical hairsprings (one set inside the other) within the tourbillon escapement.

Hairspring production remains a key competency of the Villeret manufacture

Hairspring production remains a key competency of the Villeret manufacture

The Le Locle manufacture, on the other hand, handles the watchmaking functions outside of movement development and production. These range from the initial design and prototyping work, to the production of cases, dials, and hands, to final assembly and quality control. Montblanc’s Laboratory Test 500 Hours, which subjects all Montblanc watches with in-house movements to a battery of tests totalling 500 hours, is also conducted at Le Locle. Finally, with the recent establishment of a dedicated business unit for watches, even the staff involved in marketing and other such functions are now based there.

Minerva – Villeret – Le Locle – Montblanc: Managing Fine Watchmaking Know-how

With the cutting edge design and production capabilities of one manufacture to complement the rich heritage of the other, Montblanc has been able to flex its watchmaking muscles and offer vintage inspired watches with decidedly modern twists. The recent three additions to the maison’s 1858 collection epitomises this, beginning with the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition. This timepiece is the flagship of the three new watches, and harks back to the early days of chronograph technology with its monopusher layout. The modern self-winding chronograph movement with two pushbuttons, such as the ubiquitous Valjoux 7750, is the result of several cumulative developments, which the monopusher chronograph predates. Instead of two pushers, the sole pusher here starts, stops, and resets the chronograph sequentially, and is thus unable to total the elapsed time for separate events by stopping and restarting the chronograph – a quaint limitation today, but the norm in the past.

Left: An earlier Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in steel. Right: Its successor, 1858 Chronograph Limited Edition in Bronze

Left: An earlier Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in steel. Right: Its successor, 1858 Chronograph Limited Edition in Bronze

Choice of complication aside, the watch’s design also alludes to the past, specifically Minerva’s history of producing watches for military use. The importance of keeping accurate time in a military context should be easy to understand. Coordinating troop movements to predetermined times, for one, would maintain the element of surprise. A chronograph with a telemeter scale, on the other hand, would allow an artillery battery’s commander to gauge the distance to the enemy. Pilots, too, relied on chronographs when navigating, by timing the various legs of a flight pattern. The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition’s design is based on an earlier reference in blue, which was itself derived from a pilot’s monopusher chronograph Minerva made in 1932. Note how the cathedral hands, vintage typeface for the hour indexes, and oversized onion crown have all been maintained as throwbacks to the original.

The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition’s bronze case has been matched with a champagne-coloured dial

The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition’s bronze case has been matched with a champagne-coloured dial

In lieu of an exact facsimile, however, Montblanc opted to update the original’s design while preserving its vintage military vibe, with the most striking change being the usage of bronze instead of steel. Bronze was, of course, never used in any vintage watch – the material was only introduced as a case material in the mid-1990s. The alloy immediately imparts an aged look to the watch that will intensify over time as it acquires a patina. Lest one is worried about this choice of material, rest assured that the variant used here is aluminium bronze. This alloy will start to develop a dark, even patina after two to three weeks of wear, but lack the pitting or green discolouration commonly observed in standard bronze and brass. Meanwhile, the timepiece’s case back is bronze-coloured titanium, so skin allergies are a non-issue. The choice of bronze is certainly atypical for a timepiece positioned at this level. Davide Cerrato, managing director of Montblanc’s watch division, agreed. “It’s clearly not a watch for everyone. If you think you’re buying a gold watch, then you’ll be disappointed because it will get darker – we’ve communicated this very clearly. For the collector who wants a watch with a patina, however, it’s the perfect timepiece.”

The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition’s bronze case has been matched with a champagne-coloured dial, which is yet another anachronism. Period correct military watches would, of course, have high contrast dials in either black or white for maximum legibility. This was also deliberate. According to Cerrato, this dial colour was chosen to impart a monochromic look, for an even heavier touch of vintage appeal. The crystal also remains domed like the original, although its material has been updated from acrylic to sapphire. The finishing touch on the front of the watch is the vintage styled Montblanc logo, which currently appears on all 1868 collection timepieces.

The Montblanc MB M16.29 calibre here features impeccable hand finishing on every single component and there is much to see thanks to the chronograph's horizontal clutch layout

The Montblanc MB M16.29 calibre here features impeccable hand finishing on every single component and there is much to see thanks to the chronograph’s horizontal clutch layout

Flip the watch around, and the transparent case back presents a feast for the eyes. The MB M16.29 calibre here features impeccable hand finishing on every single component – frankly a given that’s expected of the Villeret atelier – and there is much to see thanks to the chronograph’s horizontal clutch layout. The V-shaped chronograph bridge and arrow-shaped component, signatures of the Minerva manufacture, are also present here, with the latter executed at one end of the chronograph blocking lever. In a first for the brand, the movement bridges and mainplate have been plated with red gold, to complement the hue of the bronze case. The greatest visual delight is served up by the large balance wheel, which beats at a leisurely 18,000vph. This oscillation frequency is inherently less accurate compared to movements beating at higher frequencies, and thus demands much more work to reach similar levels of chronometric performance. The consequence is of this is that every watch becomes a luxury product through and through given the time lavished on its movement.

The Rest of the Montblanc 1858 Collection

The 1858 Automatic Dual Time and 1858 Automatic were conceived to be accessible translations of the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition’s concept, and have been priced accordingly. The most striking differences lie in their designs: in lieu of full bronze cases, the watches are bi-colour instead, with stainless steel providing contrast to their bronze bezels and crowns. The two watches also have high contrast dials that are closer to the original’s in spirit.

1858 Automatic Dual Time

1858 Automatic Dual Time

Of course, the movements housed with the two watches also differ from the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition. In fact, the small complication housed within the 1858 Automatic Dual Time, a second time zone display with day/night indicator, is also anachronistic, as it had only been developed in the 1950s. Cerrato described this watch as “almost a pre-GMT”, yet again demonstrating Montblanc’s deft touch in combining the best of elements from different time periods. The Automatic Dual Time’s MB 29.19 calibre is an in-house development, and is capable of “hiding” the second hour hand below the first should the watch’s wearer not require it. Finally, the 1858 Automatic rounds out the trio as the most affordable timepiece among them, with a simple two-hand layout that only displays the time.

Despite having designs rooted in a military chronograph produced during the interwar period, the three timepieces have been refreshed with modern elements, and look like perfect blends between a modern watch and its predecessor from a century ago. What’s even more impressive is how they can effortlessly put a dressy twist on the rugged tool watch aesthetic – none of these timepieces will be out of place under a suit in the boardroom. Cerrato opined that the right combination of elements can render such categorisations moot, because “[a] good design transcends such categories”. The three watches here have certainly done that.

1858 Automatic

1858 Automatic

Standard bearers: A Guide to the Swiss Watch Industry’s Quality Benchmarks

 

Before ­­the advent of the mobile handheld computer, watches were the primary (or in some cases the only) tools of timekeeping. Ok, also clocks but time became personal long before electricity lifted the world out of darkness. Consumers of the 21st century, by way of contrast, can access the hours, minutes and seconds on nearly all powered devices in their daily lives – while also having a perpetual calendar and chronograph in the mix. Fun fact: there is more computing processing power in your mobile phone than the Apollo 11 astronauts had in their spacecraft.

Obviously, we live in times where watches are bought less for their timekeeping performance and more as a lifestyle accessory or personality enhance. Well, that requires a qualifier so here goes: watches can make you feel better about your standing in life and in society. Still, the precision of timekeeping remains the single most objective aspect for which a timepiece can be judged, as design, shape, colour and size are all subjective. It is worth remembering here that collector Henry Graves Jr (he of the Henry Graves supercomplication from Patek Philippe) was primarily interested in watches with exceptional precision, which in the early 20th century meant observatory-certified watches.

Standard bearers: A Guide to the Swiss Watch Industry’s Quality Benchmarks

The following standards show prominent third party certification bodies serve as a pillar of confidence – and how certain watch brands are doing more internally to guarantee precision.

Typically found on watch dials, the COSC chronometer label sometimes appears in other places, as seen here. Breitling has put it on the rotor of the Superocean Heritage Chronoworks where it reads "Chronographe Certife Chronometre"

Typically found on watch dials, the COSC chronometer label sometimes appears in other places, as seen here. Breitling has put it on the rotor of the Superocean Heritage Chronoworks where it reads “Chronographe Certife Chronometre”

Watch Quality Benchmark 1: COSC CHRONOMETER

The Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute is also referred to as COSC – the shortened form of its French name Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres. COSC serves as an independent institution providing testing and certification services to watch companies. A manufacturer who wishes to market a watch as a chronometer-grade timepiece must first submit the watch’s movement to COSC. At this facility, the movement is tested in five positions and at three temperature levels over a period of 15 days in order to identify the watch’s average daily accuracy. Only movements proven to be accurate within +6/-4 seconds per day are certified. Once returned to the manufacturer, these movements are cased up and the watches powered by them have earned the chronometer designation on the dial.

Geneva Seal or poincon de Geneve on a caseback of Vacheron Constantin watch

Geneva Seal or poincon de Geneve on a caseback of Vacheron Constantin watch

Watch Quality Benchmark 2: POINÇON DE GENÈVE

More casually referred to as the Geneva Seal, this standard scrutinises and certifies movements on three levels: provenance, craftsmanship and reliability. Provenance is a key emphasis here. Only movements assembled in Geneva can be certified; after all, the seal was established by the State of Geneva as a guarantee of Genevan watchmaking excellence.

According to the certification criteria, movements submitted to the testing body will be gauged for an accuracy level of +1/-1 minute per week. Functions such as chronograph, calendar and repeater are tested to ensure operational functionality. The power reserve must also be correct as per the specification claimed by the manufacturer. While the above qualities are intangible, the craftsmanship is not. All plates and bridges must be chamfered and polished by straight or circular graining such that all machining marks are removed. For this reason, a Geneva Seal watch is invariably well finished. Today, only a handful of brands can boast the seal in the form of an engraving on a movement bridge or the caseback.

The Qualite Fleurier mark on a Chopard LUC

The Qualite Fleurier mark on a Chopard LUC

Watch Quality Benchmark 3: QUALITÉ FLEURIER

The Fleurier Quality standard was officially launched in 2004. It marks a joint project by Bovet Fleurier, Chopard, Parmigiani Fleurier and Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. Taking the form of a foundation, the standard involves local governmental authority with auditing by a third party in the private sector. At the beginning of a lengthy process is the regular COSC chronometer certification. The movements are then subject to accelerated ageing and shock under what is called the Chronofiable Test. Subsequently, movements having passed the aesthetic quality criteria are cased and placed in a purpose-built Fleuritest machine for a period of 24 hours to simulate real-life wear, with alternation between more and less active periods. The required accuracy goal is +5/-0 seconds per day.

Although the foundation is located in Fleurier, the certification is technically open to watches from any other town in Switzerland, provided that the case, dial and movement are Swiss made.

Cyclotest machine at the Jaeger-LeCoultre facility

Cyclotest machine at the Jaeger-LeCoultre facility

Watch Quality Benchmark 4: JAEGER-LECOULTRE MASTER 1000 HOURS

Despite the respect earned from watch enthusiasts around the world, Jaeger-LeCoultre found it necessary to provide such customers with concrete assurances, resulting in the establishment of the Master 1000 Hours programme of rigorous testing. Assembled watches are put in a machine, which move and subject them to small shocks, not unlike when the watches are worn, to ensure that the watch components are firmly in place and to test the tension of the mainspring. The next tests concern balance spring adjustment, power reserve and reaction to Swiss room temperature (22°C), a lower temperature (4°C) and a higher temperature (40°C).

Test watches are then left on the cyclotest machine for three weeks to simulate wrist movements, both in motion and in repose. The entire test period of 1,000 hours is sufficient to serve as the run-in period. A technical glitch, if any, should manifest already and can be corrected while at the manufacture. And as a result, customer dissatisfaction is minimised.

Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 - here, testing water resistance

Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 – here, testing water resistance

Watch Quality Benchmark 5: MONTBLANC LABORATORY TEST 500

Having made a name with products other than watches, Montblanc had quite the task convincing traditional brand-conscious buyers of their watches’ technical virtues. One of the means used is the introduction of the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500. This comprehensive test program in a dedicated laboratory sees that each Montblanc watch to be released from the manufacture in Le Locle meets strict quality criteria, such that it can offer as long a service life as expected by the buyer.

Several procedures are carried out during the 500 hours of the test. For the first four hours, cased watches are tested for assembly quality and winding performance. This is followed by 80 hours of continuous accuracy control, 336 hours of functions control and 80 hours of general performance testing. In this process, daily wear and various environmental conditions are simulated by machines. The final test is two hours immersion in water to ensure perfect resistance.

At the METAS facility within Omega's HQ, an automated system alters positions of the watches and move them from one temperature zone to another.

At the METAS facility within Omega’s HQ, an automated system alters positions of the watches and move them from one temperature zone to another.

A photograph is taken for comparison with one from before the test process in order to determine the level of accuracy.

A photograph is taken for comparison with one from before the test process in order to determine the level of accuracy.

Watch Quality Benchmark 6: MASTER CHRONOMETER

This last example of in-house control comes with governmental oversight. Going beyond the regular chronometer certification, Omega has developed the Master Chronometer standard in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) as the next level of timekeeping performance.

First, COSC-certified movements are cased-up for a series of tests. Chronometric accuracy of the watches is monitored for a period of 24 hours after they have been exposed to a magnetic field of 15,000 gauss. Following demagnetisation, a machine the size of a (small) room arranges watches in six positions in two alternating temperature zones. Accuracy is rechecked at the end of the 4-day period to arrive at a daily average. Deviation in accuracy between when the watch has 100% and 33% power reserve is determined as well. A test watch must be accurate to +5/-0 seconds per day in order to be certified.

Everything is done under Omega’s roof at the firm’s facility in Biel but a room is allocated to METAS so their personnel can audit the watch company’s test results using their own equipment. This is why the certification is official and the red certificate card can bear the METAS emblem with Swiss national flag on it.

More brands are diligently working in the area of quality control. With competition being more intensive, everyone is fuelled by the need to offer added value, which is always beneficial to end users. At the close of the day, it is realistic to remember that mechanical watches do not stay accurate forever. Their performance theoretically can be affected by the knocks and bumps from everyday usage, as well as from their natural service life. This is why reasonable care should be used when wearing and handling your watches, and why you should have them serviced at the interval suggested by their respective manufacturers.

Handwriting Makes You Smarter: Put Down Your Keyboards and Pick Up your Montblanc Pens

According to Psychology Today, there are surprising benefits to putting down your keyboards and picking up your Montblanc pens because writing by hand could actually make you smarter.

Gone are the days where penmanship was a required class in school where generations of adults first learned to write alphabets and then progressed to beautiful cursive sentences. Today, Millennials are growing up in an environment of personal computing devices which render handwriting all but necessary only for tests and exam papers. In fact, with instant messaging, emails and printed school reports and essays on the rise, academic curriculars in many schools in most developed countries have dropped the “archaic skill” of cursive handwriting entirely. That said, cognitive scientists are beginning to discover that learning cursive is an important foundation for cognitive development because you are essentially learning “functional specialisation” – the act of putting pen to paper and then executing maneuvers which deliver aesthetically pleasing sentences and paragraphs creates an environment where the capacity for optimal efficiency aka functional specialisation is drastically improved.

Handwriting Makes You Smarter: Put Down Your Keyboards and Pick Up your Montblanc Pens

Regarding functional specialisation, there was debate as to whether the writing practice which facilitated neural specialization was triggered by driven perceptual feedback from the act of writing itself or the actual execution of the motor act

paper by Kersey and James of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, researchers discovered that after testing 7 year olds in a battery of handwriting tests both through active self-production and passive observation, fMRI analysis concluded that brain activation patterns were generated through active training – that is to say, the act of writing, which “increased recruitment of the sensori-motor network associated with letter perception” rather than triggered by mere passive observation.

In young adults, Researchers from Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles conducted a similar study using different experimental stimuli – that of differences between students who wrote their notes as opposed to students who typed them. Subjects took notes during a lecture using one of the two methods and were tested on the material after. In the short term, both methods of notetaking performed well in terms of recall after 30 minutes with typists having better verbatim grasp of the material but handwritten notetakers were able to better explain concepts of the lecture after a week had passed. Not to mention, they were also more receptive to the understanding of new ideas.

In an interview with Wall Street Journal, educational psychologist Kenneth Kiewra from the University of Nebraska revealed a similar study with a startling conclusion – laptop notetakers had a slight advantage because typing meant transcribing lectures verbatim but handwritten notes tended to be briefer and better organised with accompanying illustrations, this meant that handwritten notes were produced by processing the lecture and then putting ideas down on paper in a brief yet understandable way – giving the handwriters an advantage in remembering and digesting new concepts long-term.

Penmanship: Handwriting engages the brain

 

Transcription, the act of taking down a lecture word for word on your laptop doesn’t require critical thinking; but since the hand doesn’t write as fast as speech, handwriting your notes requires you to engage with the materials to put down an interpretation of the information pre-processed by you. Because the information is type-written, your brain is not effectively engaged with the material, signalling your brain to discard the lecture over the long term for the sake of efficiency.

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated, there is core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental stimulation in your brain, it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realise. Thus, learning is made easier.” – French Psycholgist Stanislas Dehaene to New York Times

 

More interestingly, in children who had practiced self-generated printing by hand, their neural activity was far more enhanced and “adult-like” than in those who had simply looked at letters and because of the varying styles – writing letters in meaningful context, as opposed to just writing them as drawing objects, produced much more robust activation of many areas in both hemispheres pf the brain.

A vintage Montblanc 246 with flexible nib allows you to replicate many signature (no pun intended) cursive styles

A vintage Montblanc 246 with flexible nib allows you to replicate many signature (no pun intended) cursive styles

 

When writing in cursive, the brain must execute each stroke relative to other strokes, while remembering the appropriate size and slant in context of the other letters before it and the details of each individual letter – this forces the brain to develop and refine categorisation skills. Thus, writing in cursive is more advantageous than mere handwriting because the actions or movement tasks are more demanding without the repetition of mere handwriting stereotypical shapes.

“Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual, and tactile information, and fine motor dexterity.” – Psychology Today

Cognitive scientists believe that cursive writing engages artistic senses in the same way learning to play a musical instrument improves brain development. Furthermore, the beauty of the writing and the aesthetics of it, reinforce the role of emotion during specific stages of “encoding” or remembering that information.

With its elegant all-metal appearance, the inspiration behind the Montblanc Solitaire Serpent Limited Edition 1906 is a historical Montblanc metal and gold writing instrument from the 1922-1932 period. The original writing instrument featured a barrel and cap made from chased silver. The chasing technique is used on this latest limited edition, intricately decorated with a magnificent serpent engraved on the platinum-coated metal surface.

With its elegant all-metal appearance, the inspiration behind the Montblanc Solitaire Serpent Limited Edition 1906 is a historical Montblanc metal and gold writing instrument from the 1922-1932 period. The original writing instrument featured a barrel and cap made from chased silver. The chasing technique is used on this latest limited edition, intricately decorated with a magnificent serpent engraved on the platinum-coated metal surface.

The design of the Montblanc Writers Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Limited Edition are inspired by ‘Night Flight’, his famous novel based on his experiences as an airmail pilot. The shape of the writing instrument recalls his Caudron Simoun plane with engravings on the night blue precious resin barrel and cap reminiscent of the rivets of the aircraft.

The design of the Montblanc Writers Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Limited Edition are inspired by ‘Night Flight’, his famous novel based on his experiences as an airmail pilot. The shape of the writing instrument recalls his Caudron Simoun plane with engravings on the night blue precious resin barrel and cap reminiscent of the rivets of the aircraft.

It may well be that the physicality of shaping letters cements concepts in the mind. For example, to type the word “typing,” I made the same motion on the keyboard six times, choosing which letter to type but not forming them. But if I were to write the same thing by hand, I’d have to shape six different letters and put them together. That takes more effort and seems to both demand more of the brain and leave a deeper imprint on the mind than typing. That imprint appears to be critical when learning new things – the more emotionally charged it was, the longer we retained memory of it and our chances of recalling specific details relating to it.

 

 

It looks like you might want to start handwriting your reports in cursive first before typing them out.

 

 

Timepieces and accessories for a good cause with the Montblanc for UNICEF collection

Watchmaking and brand-building are both about continuity, which is what makes partnerships such as the Montblanc-UNICEF initiative so special. Over the last 13 years, the Montblanc for UNICEF collection has helped raise more than US$10 million to benefit education programmes around the world. Montblanc, a brand built on the idea that writing — and consequently reading — is a “precious gift”, is the perfect partner for UNICEF in its mission to help children in need everywhere. Obviously, UNICEF’s mission is a tough one, given that some 59 million school-age children are not in school. Even where children receive some form of schooling, some 130 million will not achieve a basic standard of literacy and numeracy. Montblanc’s journey with UNICEF began in 2004 with the Sign Up for the Right to Write initiative, a campaign that used the exactly the right words — if you are lucky enough to read those words the reason should be clear.

In 2017, Montblanc has set the bar high for its Montblanc for UNICEF campaign, aiming to raise more than US$1 million. In service of this goal is the aforementioned Montblanc for UNICEF collection, consisting of limited edition writing instruments, timepieces, accessories and leather goods. Each item from the Writing Is a Gift Collection sold between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, raises the amounts Montblanc will be contributing to towards helping more children gain access to improved standards of primary education.

“There is still much to be done to ensure that every child around the world has proper access to an education, a cause Montblanc has been proud to champion for the past 13 years,” explains Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc CEO. “This new initiative gives individuals who are as passionate as we are about the written word the ability to own a Montblanc piece that carries true purpose, and by doing so, making a valuable contribution to the work of UNICEF in communities around the world where children are not always given the opportunity to learn to read and write. Writing is indeed a special gift that every child should enjoy.”

More than pretty words, Montblanc has released some specifics of how it intends to use the money it raises. In China, for example, it will be supporting child-friendly schools and the rights equal education. In Brazil, Montblanc’s contributions will help UNICEF achieve its goal of getting children aged four to 17 access to basic education; UNICEF is also helping teachers and school managers here to stymie the dropout rates of the most disadvantaged boys and girls. The mission continues in other places, of course.

Father’s Day 2017 gift idea: Montblanc’s Legend, a new cologne for men

Back with a bang is Montblanc with a legendary new fragrance for men—the Legend. A scent for the confident, virile and ambitious man, Montblanc pours its vision of timelessness and elitism into this fragrance. Fashioned by perfumer Olivier Pescheux, this scent is the epitome of subtle masculinity.

The Legend’s muse is British model Simon Clark, portraying the essence of a charismatic man. Photographed by Peter Lindbergh in black and white, the campaign effortlessly pulls off what wearers of the fragrance embody—strength in simplicity.

Opening with a whiff of lavender, the scent diffuses into a fresh pinch of Bergamot from Calabria and Litsea Cubeba. A lively burst is created from these notes before settling into an intense harmony of Evernyl and Pomarose. The former is reminiscent of oakmoss, displaying its warm woody scent before the injection of fruity rose and apple from the latter. “I wanted it to be the true heart of the formula,” explains Olivier, “so I was very generous with it.” For a contemporary twist, Geranium is added to the mix, lifting the scent higher. The base notes feature the pliable Coumarin, before adding a touch of irresistible Sandalwood to complete the scent.

Not skimping on presentation, The Legend is dressed in Montblanc’s signature black and white colours. The bottle encapsulates the timeless masculinity in the brand’s design, bearing the iconic Montblanc hallmark. Slightly curved, the sleek black bottle is crafted from black glass and topped with a shiny metal stopper. Three rings around the cap and the emblematic star in the middle are homage to the brand’s signature symbols. The box’s design mirrors that of the bottle, bearing the design of curved metal thread, and the iconic star in the middle.

The Montblanc Legend is available at all Sephora and departmental stores. The 30ml is priced at $65, the 50ml at $90 and the 100ml at $120.

For more information, do visit Montblanc.

 

New luxury watch designs: Interview with Davide Cerrato on Montblanc’s passion for fine watchmaking

Montblanc may not have as storied a history in the art of fine watchmaking as others but a lot of thought goes into crafting each timepiece that leaves its factory in Le Locle. Who better to walk us through the decision-making process involved than the Managing Director of Montblanc‘s Watch Division, Davide Cerrato. Join us as we get an insider’s guide as we explore the design process of the brand’s new watches.

Why the choice of bronze?

As I was looking through the watches that Minerva produced in the 1930s and 1940s for inspiration, it became clear to me that bronze would be an interesting choice to express the vintage touch of the new watches. The alloy is a good material to express the idea of ageing, and to create an aged product. The patina every watch case acquires will also be unique, which translates to a different ownership experience depending on where the wearer lives, as well as how he wears his watch.

Was everything else built around this material choice?

Yes, we went with a very specific shade of champagne for the dial, instead of the black or dark chocolate brown that actual vintage watches had, to match the bronze case. The aim was to create a mono-colour or mono-material look for a very powerful design language. Similarly, the look of the case back was considered, and we chose to use red gold plating for the bridges and mainplate to complement the bronze case.

What about the two-tone execution for the other watches?

The monopusher chronograph was planned to be the main highlight. As always, however, Montblanc wants to continue sharing its passion for fine watchmaking, so we aimed to recreate the same vintage rugged military look, but at an affordable price point. Matching bronze and steel, which had never been done before, was the perfect way to do this, because you could have patina on the bezel and crown, but keep things affordable with the rest of the watch in steel. Military chronographs of that era often looked largely similar.

Was it challenging to create something unique for Montblanc’s reinterpretation?

Yes, it was. This was the reason for the choice of a champagne dial instead of one in black. There was no specific detail that we put in just to create a different look though it was more the overall look of the watch, both on the front and back. The inside of the strap, for instance, is full alligator leather complete with scales, to frame the view of the movement nicely to convey a similarly precious feel.

This article was originally published in WOW #43 (Festive 2016) issue.

Luxury watch brands: Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award 2016 recognised Peggy Guggenheim

Over the past 25 years, Montblanc has recognised the invaluable contribution of modern-day patrons of the arts from 17 various countries through its prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. The award is part of the brand’s commitment to actively engage in the promotion of arts and culture across the globe. To accompany the award, each year, Montblanc commissions a unique limited edition pen inspired by a historical patron of the arts.

The Montblanc Patron of Art Edition 2016 paid tribute to Peggy Guggenheim, one of the most influential art collectors and exhibitors of 20th-century art. If her name sounds familiar, it is because she is the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, the eponymous founder of the Guggenheim Museum. As a significant figure in the Western art world, Peggy Guggenheim dedicated most of her life to protecting the art of her time by discovering and nurturing new talent, while building an important collection of works, which are currently housed in a Venice museum that carries her name.

Born in 1898 to a family whose fortune was made from the mining and smelting of metals, Peggy grew up in New York and travelled to Europe at the age of 23. Marrying first husband Laurence Vail, Peggy soon found herself at the heart of Parisian bohemia and American expatriate society. In 1938, she opened her first art gallery in London, and a year later conceived the idea of opening a ‘modern art museum’ formed upon historical principles. Throughout and in spite of the war, Peggy busily acquired works for the future museum, with a resolve to “buy a picture a day”. Some of the masterpieces of her collection, such as works by Francis Picabia, Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí and Piet Mondrian, were bought at that time.

Peggy Guggenheim, recipient of the 2016 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.

Peggy Guggenheim, recipient of the 2016 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.

Eventually, Peggy left France in 1941 and returned to New York where she finally opened her museum-gallery, Art of This Century. The gallery hosted innovative exhibition rooms and soon became the most stimulating venue for contemporary art in New York. She exhibited her collection of Cubist, abstract and Surrealist art in the gallery. Peggy also held temporary exhibitions of leading European artists to unknown American ones. This led to a cross-pollination of styles and ideas. Peggy and her collection thus played a vital role in the development of America’s first art movement of international importance. She spent the last 30 years of her life in Venice, bringing American avant-garde art to Europe and continued to collect works of art and support artists.

The pen commissioned for the 2016 Montblanc Patron of Art award pays homage to Peggy’s life from her arrival in Europe to her later life in Venice. Created in the Montblanc Artisan Atelier from the finest materials and shaped by highly skilled master craftsmen, the design of the writing instrument is inspired by the art deco style that surrounded Peggy when she arrived in Paris in the 1920s, with clean lines forming the straight shape of the cap, clip and barrel. The skeletonised gold structure of the barrel mirrors the dramatic gates to the Guggenheim Collection in Venice. The lion head clip design refers to the Lion of Saint Mark, symbolic of the city where Peggy chose to house her collection. A red lacquer inlay spiral is inspired by the iconic striped mooring poles lining the canals of Venice. Crowning the cap, the Montblanc emblem is crafted in white marble, mirroring the distinctive marble façade of Peggy’s palazzo.

Through the artistry of great craftsmanship, Montblanc shares the story of the woman who championed so many modern artists with passion and determination. Peggy’s contribution to cultural life is undeniable, and she joins a small group of historic patrons to be honoured by Montblanc. The limited edition writing instruments serve to inspire contemporary patrons by commemorating historic patrons of art. The Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award has been awarded since 1992 and is still awarded annually to recognise today’s patrons for their contribution and commitment to arts and cultural projects.

This article was first published in Art Republik.