t is a unique case of grafting the roots of an ancient and venerable watchmaking company, Minerva, onto the contemporary proposals of a house that has its origins outside watchmaking: Montblanc. Davide Cerrato is the mastermind behind this delicate surgical operation, being observed with great interest both by watch heritage enthusiasts, and by the Richemont group, which decided to acquire Minerva in 2006 and then hand it over to Montblanc.
This year’s Montblanc offering is inspired by the icy transparencies found on the edge of the Alpine massif. The flagship collection, 1858, is decked out in blue, including the model that has for the past two years embodied the brand’s aesthetics, the Geosphere.
This year’s Montblanc offering is inspired by the icy transparencies found on the edge of the Alpine massif.
Although Minerva’s influence can now be found in all of Montblanc’s lines, the Heritage collection is undoubtedly the one that best reflects this integration. And its watchmaking pinnacle is the Pulsograph (see below).
Davide Cerrato outlines the key aspects of Montblanc’s watchmaking ethos, influenced by Minerva, and introduces 2020’s new “hybrid” livery.
- Davide Cerrato, General Manager Montblanc Watches Division
THE INTEGRATION OF MINERVA
“This integration strategy has been in place for the past four years. Both our design and our technical development have been influenced by it. It is a “virtuous” integration, incorporating both the artistic language and the mechanical codes. But that doesn’t mean that everything at Montblanc is vintage. In addition to our 1858 collection, we also have a much more contemporary offering with the TimeWalker and Star Legacy lines. And we are also working on bringing in innovative materials such as titanium.”
“This integration strategy has been in place for the past four years. Both our design and our technical development have been influenced by it.”
THE HERITAGE COLLECTION
“The Heritage line finds its place as Montblanc’s classic-vintage collection, alongside the rather sporty, classic 1858 collection. Launched last year, it represents a new stage in the redesign of Montblanc watchmaking following the integration of the Minerva manufacture. Even if Montblanc’s watchmaking history is fairly recent, our output is particularly interesting thanks to the acquisition of Minerva. We have 1,200 models in our museum: a vast heritage to draw on. The new models we are presenting in 2020 in our Heritage line directly reference Minerva designs from the 1940s and 1950s.”
- Montblanc Heritage Automatic
- The new Montblanc Heritage Automatic comes in 18K yellow gold with a brand-new lacquered dial in British racing green, with a matching sfumato alligator strap for a vintage look. This new colour combination is enhanced by yellow gold details on the dial, including 18K yellow gold-plated curved dauphine hands accented with SuperLuminova, along with applied Arabic numerals and dot markers also in yellow gold. The timepiece is powered by the Calibre MB 24.27, an automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve, water resistant to 50 metres.
“Among the new models is the Heritage Automatic model in 18k yellow gold, equipped with a new British racing green lacquered dial and a matching sfumato alligator strap giving it a retro look. Yellow gold is a material that has been somewhat neglected by contemporary watchmaking, but which perfectly evokes the 1950s. We are also introducing the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph model with a salmon-pink dial.”
“We have 1,200 models in our museum: a vast heritage to draw on.”
- Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph
- The Heritage collection welcomes a new model in stainless steel with a salmon pink dial. It features the latest chronograph design, with a domed salmon pink dial with black rhodium-coated Arabic numerals and dot indexes. Other features include a blue minutes track, black rhodium-coated luminescent dauphine hands for the hours and minutes, and contrasting blued steel baton hands for the seconds and the chronograph indications, providing great visibility. A closer look at the minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock reveals an indicator for 3, 6 and 9 minutes – a vintage touch from the days when we used coin-operated telephones and needed to track the length and cost of a call.
“The flagship piece in this collection is a 100-piece reissue of the Pulsograph, with a pink gold case and tobacco dial, luminescent hour markers and particularly warm tones. Its movement is the MB M13.21 in-house calibre, equipped with a large 18-screw balance, a column wheel and horizontal clutch, the V-shaped chronograph bridge patented in 1912 and the hand-finished Minerva arrow.”
- Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 pieces
- This timepiece is inspired by what collectors call ‘doctors’ watches’, used by physicians in the past to check a patient’s heart rate. Following the launch of the Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition with its salmon-pink dial, this new model comes in an 18K rose gold 40 mm case with a distinctive smoked tobacco-brown dial and matching sfumato alligator strap, reinforcing the on-trend vintage style.
THE 1858 COLLECTION
“The 1858 collection is inspired by Minerva military chronographs from the 1920s and 1930s. Over the past two years, the Geosphere has become our signature model, embodying the new face of Montblanc watchmaking. Last year we presented a version in bronze and khaki, which quickly sold out. We are continuing our exploration this year with a capsule of 1858 models in blue, inspired by the translucent ice caves found notably around Mont Blanc. This gives the Geosphere model a cooler, more contemporary feel, with a titanium case that contrasts well with the steel or bronze used in previous versions.”
“The 1858 collection is inspired by Minerva military chronographs from the 1920s and 1930s. Over the past two years, the Geosphere has become our signature model.”
- Montblanc 1858 Geosphere in Blue
- The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere watch, with its two distinctive rotating hemisphere globes and worldtime complication, is one of the key icons of the 1858 line. This year, Montblanc is presenting the 1858 Geosphere in grade 5 titanium combined with blue and contrasting icy white design details, drawing inspiration from the colours of glaciers and ice, which can range from the purest white to the deepest shades of blue. All those elements create a very cold and modern look. The icy blue colour is the result of millions of years of pressure that removes the air bubbles in the ice, causing the light to reflect only the blue from the colour spectrum.
“In the same blue capsule from the 1858 collection, we also present – still in cool shades evoking ice and mountains, a legitimate territory for Montblanc – an automatic model, a chronograph, and a 100-piece numbered edition of a top-of-the-range model with split seconds, which is a reinterpretation of a Minerva single-pusher chronograph from the 1930s. This model is distinguished not only by its centrally coiled tachymeter scale, but also by its dial in gradient blue grand feu enamel.”
“The vintage soul of the 1858 line is also expressed this year by new single-pusher automatic chronographs with dials inspired by Minerva dials from the 1930s, with a beige minute track. They are introduced in steel on a leather strap or steel bracelet, as well as in bronze on a new beige Nato strap.”
- Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100
- Montblanc reinterprets a 44 mm historical Minerva military monopusher chronograph from the 1930s, equipped with the calibre 17/29, with a highly distinctive dial comprising a snail-shaped tachymeter scale in the centre and a telemeter scale on the internal flange. The new Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100 comes in a vibrant blue colour executed in graduated enamel, combined with a 44 mm satin-finished grade 5 titanium case for robustness.
- Montblanc 1858 Automatic
- Featuring all the usual design codes of the collection, the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic watch is one of the purest vintage-inspired timepieces, carrying the blue theme across the dial, case and strap. The case has a new bi-directional steel rotating bezel with a matching shiny blue ceramic insert, engraved with four luminescent cardinal points. Housed in a 40 mm stainless steel case with slim curved lugs decorated with polished and satin finishes, the 1858 Automatic also has a unique picture of Mont Blanc itself engraved on the case back, along with a compass and two crossed ice axes.
- Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph
- Reminiscent of the colour of glaciers, the blue aesthetic of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph is combined with a new bi-directional steel bezel, enhanced with glossy blue ceramic and four engraved luminescent cardinal points. The timepiece was inspired by an original Minerva monopusher chronograph from the 1930s. Its striking vintage styling is showcased with a smoky blue dial, cathedral-shaped hands, bi-compax counters at three and nine o’clock and a domed sapphire crystal.
THE STAR LEGACY COLLECTION
“The Star Legacy collection has two new models: an automatic timepiece and a day-date chronograph, with a diameter of 43mm. Their design is inspired by Minerva pocket watches from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Star Legacy line is the successor to the former 4810 collection, which is no longer in production. We are trying to bring more clarity to Montblanc’s watchmaking by structuring it around a smaller number of references.”
- Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date 43 mm
- The new Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date comes in a 43mm stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal treated with an anti-reflective coating and a sapphire crystal case back. There are two dial colours, one in ivory with a silvery-white flange and 18K rose gold-plated Roman numerals, indexes and hands, and the other in anthracite with black rhodium-plated Roman numerals, indexes and hands. Both are enhanced with SuperLuminova for better readability at night.
- Montblanc Star Legacy Chronograph Day&Date 43 mm
- The new Montblanc Star Legacy Chronograph Day&Date is housed in a 43mm stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal on the front and a sapphire crystal on the back, allowing the wearer the possibility to admire the MB25.07 automatic chronograph movement beneath. The MB25.07 chronograph movement has a 48-hour power reserve and indicates elapsed seconds via a central chronograph seconds hand, elapsed minutes on a 30-minute counter, and elapsed hours on a 12-hour counter. The day and date are displayed in apertures at three o’clock.
“The Star Legacy line is the successor to the former 4810 collection, which is no longer in production. We are trying to bring more clarity to Montblanc’s watchmaking by structuring it around a smaller number of references.”
RESPONSE TO THE CANCELLATION OF PHYSICAL EVENTS
“We are stepping up our efforts in digital and e-commerce. This crisis is in fact a series of events, staggered in time. China is gradually emerging from the state of crisis. The first places hit by the pandemic are returning to normal. We are reserving a second highlight for September this year.”
“The integration of Minerva will remain the foundation of our watchmaking strategy, while offering neo-vintage and contemporary products. We will continue to invest in the themes of mountains, the outdoors, adventure. The coronavirus will certainly bring changes to our perceptions in this respect. As we emerge from the crisis, I think that the topics of freedom and nature will be very present, after the period of confinement.”
“We will continue to invest in the themes of mountains, the outdoors, adventure. As we emerge from the crisis, I think that the themes of freedom and nature will be very present, after the period of confinement.”
“New generations are particularly sensitive to the environment and sustainable development. With our link to the mountains, we are going to work more on the theme of preserving glaciers. We want to make the 1858 collection a reference in terms of outdoor leisure. As such, the coronavirus crisis will at least have led to a drastic reduction in pollution levels worldwide.”