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

Managing Director of Montblanc’s watch division on the design process and decisions behind Montblanc’s bronze 1858 collection watches, released at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève 2017

Mar 21, 2017 | By Jamie Tan

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.

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