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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Two New Montblanc 1858 Collection Watches Tout The Minerva Heritage

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

Two new limited-edition timepieces for the Montblanc 1858 Collection were unveiled Tuesday at SIAR 2015, the luxury watch show in Mexico City. Both watches, as with the rest of the collection, pay tribute to the 157-year history of the Minerva watch manufacturer, known for its hand-made chronograph movements. 

The watch manufacturer was acquired by luxury holding company Richemont in 2006 and is now part the Montblanc brand, which Richemont owns. Montblanc changed its name to Villeret, after the picturesque Swiss town where the facility is located. It still produces hand-made high chronographs, tourbillons and classic watch lines; and bespoke timepieces for private clients. It also provides specialist movements for Montblanc’s main watch manufacturing facility in Le Locle. 

The newest pieces for the Montblanc 1858 Collection were modeled after a chronograph launched by the Minerva manufacture in the 1930s in both appearance and function. 

The main product released Tuesday is the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter. The 18k red gold 44 mm-diameter case features a design with rounded forms inspired by those of the Minerva chronograph from 1930. In keeping with the original design and function, the watch has a beveled winding crown with a monopusher function to activate the chronograph. 

The vintage-style dial has “cathedral” hands coated with beige Super-LumiNova, so they can be seen at night. The display is laid out around two counters, the first displays the seconds at 9 o'clock, and the second subdial shows the minutes that have elapsed once the chronograph complication has been started. The dial background painted in deep black with the historic Montblanc emblem shows a traced rail track with a tachymetric scale for measuring speed in terms of a timed kilometer. 

The MB M16.29 caliber of the hand-wound monopusher chronograph is the same size as that of a pocket-watch. It was inspired by the original chronograph movement, the 17.29 caliber, designed by Minerva in 1929, and has many of the same functions. The column-wheel is activated by the single push-piece built into the winding crown. The iconic engraved Minerva “V” chronograph bridge can be seen through the transparent case back (pictured above). 

The horizontal coupling in this classic construction is combined with a lever that holds the chronograph's hammers, and is finished off with a little arrow, the visual signature of Minerva. This classic mechanism, assembled, adjusted and finished by hand in Villeret; comprises 252 components, has a depth of 6.30 mm and oscillates at 18,000 vibrations per hour, with a power reserve of about 50 hours.

It is being sold as a limited edition of 100 pieces.

The other product launched at SIAR 2015 is the Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition timepiece (pictured above). The stainless steel, 44 mm diameter case has a design that contains many of the codes of the historical chronographs produced by Minerva. A direct-drive small seconds is located at 6 o'clock and has a hand-wound caliber with a beveled winding crown. 

Like the previous timepiece, this watch has a vintage-style black dial has Arabic numerals, “cathedral” hands coated with beige-painted Super-LumiNova, and the historic Montblanc logo. 

The MB 23.03 manually wound caliber has 17 jewels and an approximate 46-hour power reserve once the barrel has been fully wound. It has a balance that oscillates at 21,600 vibrations an hour. The visible finishes can be seen through the transparent caseback.

It is being sold in a limited edition of 858 pieces, paying tribute to the birthday of Minerva in 1858. 

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