This year Montblanc won the award for the best chronograph at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève with its 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100. The highly classic mono-pusher chronograph in its steel 44mm case with blue dial was inspired by models from the 1930s, and that is easy to see in the layout of the dial and the rounded bezel.
It wasn’t easy to decide on the perfect balance of colours. They are very soft, subtle colour combinations that have to be exactly right otherwise it all starts to look far too contrived. I think the watch looks honest and genuine; vintage modern [Davide Cerrato]
The steel model won gold, and now a bronze variant has been added to the collection. The latest Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition has more retro elements than the blue award winner, but that was only possible thanks to modern materials. The case is made of bronze and the case back of bronze-coloured titanium. The bronze the case is made of is not the patina-style bronze that we know from Oris, Panerai and Anonimo, but a colour-fast ‘bronze’ like the type used by Tudor. In other words, the case is made of an aluminium/bronze alloy.
Bronze & champagne
Davide Cerrato, the new Watch Director at Montblanc, previously worked for Tudor and was responsible for the Black Bay collection. He refuses to answer the question whether this Montblanc is made of the same material as the Black Bay Bronze, albeit with a smile. Sometimes that kind of answer is as clear as an outright ‘yes’. The combination of the softly glowing bronze with the champagne-coloured dial is something that Cerrato is very proud of: “It wasn’t easy to decide on the perfect balance of colours. They are very soft, subtle colour combinations that have to be exactly right otherwise it all starts to look far too contrived. I think the watch looks honest and genuine; vintage modern. I’m not exactly sure what strap we will be using. Alligator is an option – it’s luxurious and of course this is a true luxury watch, but a more rugged leather with a more worn look also fits the sporty character and the functional history of this watch very well.”
A closer look at the movement
That functional history is very evident when we take a closer look at the movement used for the watch. Calibre MB M16.29 is a handwound movement that was inspired by the classic Minerva calibre 17.29 from 1929. Like the classic chronograph, the new calibre is equipped with a column-wheel construction that is activated by a single pushbutton incorporated in the winding crown. The typical ‘V’ of the chronograph bridge has been a Minerva characteristic since 1912 and the same applies to the arrow at the end of the lever for the horizontal coupling. The frequency of 18,000 vph is once again very classic, but functional as well: this frequency allows for the measurement of lapsed time to exactly 1/5th of a second. The decoration of the movement, which consists of 252 components, is of the very highest level. The price of this model, limited to 100 pieces, is on application.