By Magnus Salbu
During the past decade or so, Montblanc has gone from being a brand mostly recognized for their pens, to becoming one of the big, Swiss watch manufacturers. They started out producing pretty standard watches with ebauche movements such as ETA that many people dismissed as fashion watches. But today they make a wide range of watches, with one of them even winning a GPHG (Grand Prix de Horlogerie Geneva) award.
The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in bronze is essentially the same watch as the one that got a GPHG award last month for the best chronograph. The difference is this one is in bronze and has a silver dial. As you know, Montblanc bought all of Minervas equipment, movements, and rights, so naturally, their watches are often based on old Minerva watches. This particular watch is a monopusher chronograph that uses an upgraded version of a Minerva pocket watch movement. It’s almost identical to another two register monopusher that Minerva created in the 1960’s, except this one has a tachymeter and a silver dial, as opposed to the original with a black dial.
Like the original, this is a 44mm, two register chronograph. By far my favorite aspect of this watch is the movement. The calibre MB M16.29, based on the original Minerva calibre 17.29, is a stunningly beautiful, manual wound chronograph movement. The combination red gold bridges and steel components makes for a beautiful contrast. Any watch enthusiast will immediately see that this has a very high-grade finishing. The movement is also engraved with the name ‘Minerva’ instead of Montblanc, which is a really cool touch. The movement has a comfortable 50-hour power reserve and just like a traditional pocket watch it beats at 2.5 Hz, or 18.000 vph.
If you didn’t know this was a new watch, and it didn’t have sapphire crystal or a display case back, this could easily be mistaken for a NOS (New Old Stock) chronograph from the 1950’s. The bronze case gives it a rather rough look as well. One interesting detail is that the case back of the watch is not bronze, as it would not react well with your arm. It is in fact titanium with a bronze coloured plating.
If you like the look of vintage chronographs, but you’re not comfortable with the generally small sizes, this is definitely the watch for you.
This is essentially the same watch that won a GPHG award this fall so you know you’re getting a real high horology watch here. And any watch enthusiast’s jaw will drop as soon as you turn it around. This truly is up there with some of the most stunning movements I know of.
The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in bronze is a limited edition run of only 50 watches, but I hope we will see this movement, or maybe a smaller variation of it in more watches from Montblanc. The price is €27,500. For more info, please visit montblanc.com