It’s hardly unusual for a watch marker to dip back into its archives to find inspiration for something new (just look to Hublot’s recent Classic Fusion collaboration with Italia Independent and Rubinacci). But for the all-new 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100, first debuted earlier this year at SIHH 2017, Montblanc went back into the past to borrow technical cues from vintage Minerva Manufacture movements at the same time that it accomplished something unprecedented: using bronze for the first time ever.
Main Features of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100
Named for the year Minerva Manufacture was founded in Villeret, Switzerland, the design of this 44mm watch is inspired by the brand’s early 1930s chronographs. (Montblanc acquired Minerva in 2006, giving the brand access to the watch manufacturer’s impressive archives and watchmaking prowess.)
The manually wound mono-pusher chronograph features a 252-part Caliber MB M16.29 inspired by the original Minerva caliber 17.29, and uses almost the exact same shapes for most of its components. The chronograph is a column-wheel design and measures elapsed seconds from the center hand, as well as 30-elapsed minutes on the subdial at 3:00. Harmoniously balancing that subdial is the continuously running seconds subdial at 9:00. A minute track circumscribes the outer portion of the dial. And just like its predecessor, the movement is entirely hand made. The watch offers 50 hours of power reserve and is water resistant to 30 meters.
A Departure From Tradition
For its contemporary twist on the original, Montblanc has added some new touches, including a champagne-colored dial with sunray finish, a tachymeter on the bezel, and a very fortuitous display back, giving full view into the gorgeous chronograph with components rendered in both steel and 18-karat red gold-plated silver.
Of course, the most obvious change is the use of bronze, which up until recently, is rarely used in watchmaking. Its use here in a vintage-inspired watch couldn’t be more appropriate, though, thanks to the way the material patinas over time, giving it a distinguished, aged appearance. (The case-back is made of titanium with a bronze-colored coating so your wrist won’t turn green)
The watch also features the Montblanc logo from the 1930s, complete with historical font and emblem of the mountain for which the brand is named. The alligator strap, made at the Montblanc Pelletteria atelier in Florence, Italy, is cognac color to complement the satin-finished case.
Price and Availability
The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100 watch will be available for sale at Montblanc boutiques and via authorized retailers around the world beginning April 1. Just 100 pieces will be made, each retailing for $27,500.
For more watches made of unusual materials, read our reviews of the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days, the Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon, and the Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti Scritto.