Montblanc is establishing its position in the world of sports watches by drawing on the specialist timekeeping legacy of Minerva, the movement maker it has owned since 2006. Founded in 1858 and known for its expertise in chronographs and precision instruments that accurately measure brief intervals of time, Minerva was the first to produce a high-frequency movement that could measure 1/100th of a second. It also introduced the renowned Rally Timer that was used to time motor racing.
In honour of this heritage, Montblanc dedicates this year to the relaunch of its TimeWalker collection, a series of masculine watches (four chronograph watches and one three-hand model with date function) that are all about precision, functionality and resilience. Featuring a combination of materials such as high-tech black ceramic, satinated steel, titanium and rubber, the watches’ structures are inspired by the sleek aerodynamic lines of classic race cars. Other design details referencing motorsports include the knurled bezel, flank and crown, three-dimensional counters, red accents, smoked glass case and skeletonised horns.
Created specifically with watch collectors and motor racing enthusiasts in mind is the 100-piece TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100. Inspired by the famous Rally Timer stopwatch, it is a wristwatch that may be used as a stopwatch, table clock or dashboard-mounted rally timer. The timepiece is powered by the MB M16.29 calibre, a manually wound monopusher chronograph featuring a column wheel, horizontal coupling, and power reserve of 50 hours. The architecturally stunning movement, which is inspired by the Minerva calibre 17.29 from the 1930s, shows off a large balance wheel that oscillates at a leisurely cadence of 18,000 vph. Despite its gigantic 50mm measurements, its weight is kept manageable thanks to its grade 2 titanium casing.
In an appreciative nod to Minerva’s seminal high-frequency movement that could measure 1/100th of a second, the TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 in DLC titanium is also being offered in a limited run of only 18 watches. What is infinitely interesting is that instead of repackaging something that had been accomplished a century ago, Montblanc takes precision timing to a whole new level with this watch, offering timekeeping accurate to 1/1000th of a second. Its patented chronograph integrated mechanism relies on the “thousandth wheel” located on the chronograph’s gear train, set into motion by the tempo of the balance wheel that oscillates at 360,000 vph. Rotating on its own axis at 10 rotations per second, it further divides the hundredths of a second into sets of 10 increments, resulting in a watch that can measure time up to 1/1000th of a second.
A second patent pertains to the MB M66.26 movement’s bi-directional manual winding system that winds both the chronograph barrel and the time barrel using one crown. Lying dormant until it is activated, the chronograph function stores enough energy to measure intervals of up to 45 minutes at one time, a duration that can be increased by simply winding the crown counter-clockwise even while the chronograph is running. Winding it in the clockwise direction powers the time barrel that guarantees a power reserve of 100 hours.
The watch boasts a futher 22 auxiliary patents, and is equipped with two balance wheels: one that oscillates at a traditional 18,000 vph to regulate the time functions; and another that oscillates at 360,000 vph (50 Hz) for the chronograph.
Click to read our report of A. Lange & Söhne at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
Click to read our report of Audemars Piguet at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
Click to read our report of Cartier at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
Click to read our report of Girard-Perregaux at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
Click to read our report of Greubel Forsey at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
Click to read our report of IWC at the 27th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie