Informed By The Past

Montblanc’s New Watch Draws Design Inspiration from Minerva’s Irresistible Watchmaking Heritage


January 14, 2019 Watches By Photo by Montblanc
This week, the Palexpo facility in Geneva, Switzerland, will become the center of the watch world for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, a luxury watch show rivaled only by BaselWorld in relevance and prestige. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.

Upshot: Montblanc has released a whole bevy of new heritage pieces, including a limited-edition Pulsograph (chronograph with pulsometer scale); a limited-edition perpetual calendar; a monopusher chronograph; a GMT; a day-date; and an automatic 3-hander. The Heritage line draws inspiration from the historical Minerva references of the 1940s and 1950s and include classic touches such as curved, faceted lugs, dials in salmon, caramel and silver-white, and dot indices.

Heritage Automatic

Key Specs
Price: ~$2,229 (steel case on leather); ~$2,458 (steel case on Milanese); ~$9,030 (red gold)
Availability: TBD
Movement: MB 24.27
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Unique Features: Silvery-white or salmon-coloured dial

Heritage Automatic Day Date

Key Specs
Price: ~$2,800
Availability: TBD
Movement: MB 24.27
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: Stainless steel (silvery-white or salmon-colored dial); red gold (smoked caramel dial)
Unique Features: Numerous dial and strap options, as well as two case material options

Heritage GMT

Key Specs
Price: ~$3,086 (on leather); ~$3,372 (on steel)
Availability: TBD
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Unique Features: Silver-white or salmon-colored dials available

Heritage Monopusher Chronograph

Key Specs
Price: $5,372 (on leather); ~$5,658 (on steel)
Availability: TBD
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 42mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Unique Features: Monopusher-activated chrono

Heritage Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition

Key Specs
Price: ~$17,145 (steel); $28,577 (red gold)
Availability: TBD
Movement: MB29.22
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: 18k red gold or stainless steel
Unique Features: Crown can be adjusted in both directions; included dual-time function

Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition

Key Specs
Price: ~$32,006
Availability: TBD
Movement: Montblanc manufacture MB13.21
Winding: Manual
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Unique Features: Pulsometer scale; dual-finish dial; dual-register, monopusher chrono

Available References: For fans of vintage Minerva watchmaking (or vintage watchmaking in general), there are some beautiful offerings from Montblanc that check all the vintage-inspired boxes. The Pulsograph offers a pulsometer scale (often utilized by doctors to check a patient’s pulse) as well as a dual-register chronograph and salmon dial. A manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M13.21 fitted into a steel 40mm case and visible through a transparent case back makes for a beautiful piece.

The second limited edition on offer is the red gold Heritage Perpetual Calendar, powered by the brand-new manufacture calibre MB 29.22 that indicates hours, minutes, day, date, month, moonphase and leap year, and also features a dual-time function, 24-hour indicator and 48 hours of power reserve. The movement evidently took three years to develop and allows the user to adjust the watch via the crown in both directions, which should alleviate much cursing and frustration amongst perpetual calendar users. A steel, non-limited version of the watch will also be available.

What else, what else…oh! A monopusher chronograph. Drawing inspiration from Minerva’s history of crafting monopusher chronograph movements, the new model features a 42mm steel case with dual-register layout and silver-white dial done in two distinct finishes. There’s also a Heritage GMT in a steel 40mm case available in three dial versions: a silver-white domed dial with grey alligator-skin strap, the same dial color available with a steel mesh Milanese bracelet, or a salmon-colored dome dial with grey alligator-skin strap.

Rounding out the offering from the Heritage Collection is an automatic day-date in a 39mm fully polished stainless steel case with silver-white dial, and the Heritage Automatic time-only in a steel 40mm case (also available in 18k reg gold with smoked caramel dial), available with either alligator-skin strap or Milanese bracelet.

Insight: Montblanc has been relying heavily upon its Minerva heritage lately, which has resulted in some beautiful pieces this year. With the vintage market (and by extension, the vintage-inspired market) remaining so strong, it seems only natural that Montblanc would want to capitalize on this trend by continuing to manufacture watches that are rooted so heavily in 20th century design.

While the salmon-dialed Pulsograph is perhaps a bit too esoteric for the casual wearer (though it’s certainly striking), the perpetual calendar (which is available both in gold as a limited edition and in steel as a non-limited version) will likely find appeal amongst fans of complicated watchmaking who perhaps are in the market for an alternative to the standard complicated offerings from brands like Patek and Vacheron. The Monopusher chronograph is similarly a beautiful design, though at 42mm, it may be pushing the upper limit of wearability for a timepiece this elegant.

The GMT, day-date and automatic Heritage models, which are non-limited, steel pieces all in 40mm or smaller cases, will likely find the widest appeal. These are handsome models whose designs, if not ground-breaking, are rooted in classic 20th century watchmaking language that is attractive to the widest range of customers. The availability of the three-hander in gold with a caramel dial gives the customer who desires something a bit more elegant a further option.

More from SIHH 2019

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