By Summer Sheffer
Montblanc has proudly presented its new Homage to Nicolas Rieussed II model. It is designed to honour the second invention created in 1825 by Nicolas Rieussec, the inventor of the first inking style chronograph which was patented in 1821. The instrument featured a process for marking the duration of time periods through the tip of a direct-drive seconds hand loaded with ink. Issued in a limited edition of 565 timepieces, the 43mm-diameter Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec II watch in steel is highlighting its ties with the first 1825 hand-equipped chronograph, this new model emphasises Nicolas Rieussec’s constant insistence on the need to reach greater levels of precision.
In order to guarantee precision over short time periods of time, the revolving counters indicating the seconds and the recording of 30-minute time periods (formerly located respectively on the left and right of the dial in all models), are now swapped for slim chronograph hands. These will not, of course, deposit a drop of ink on the counters, but will be halted in position by pressing the push-piece set at 8 O’clock. The corresponding lever acts on the column-wheel, which in turn transfers the order via a vertical clutch to the wheels that carry the hands pointing towards a railtrack circle with numerals resembling those showing up on the dial of the original chronograph. In addition, the chronograph seconds hand set on the left contains a counterpoise inspired by that found on the long hand of the original 1825 timepiece.
In terms of indication, for the hour ring and the graduation of the counters, Montblanc has opted, as in the case of the Homage to Nicolas Rieussec I chronograph, for an ultra-modern hybrid ceramic with the exclusive Montblanc Mysterious Super-LumiNova®, the sharpness and excellence of which is reminiscent of the enamel used in traditional dials. In daylight it displays a railtrack minute-circle similar to that found on the watches of the period, but in the dark its full potential is revealed. In fact, this ceramic includes pigments of Super-LumiNova® to trace out Roman numerals in a typographic style identical to that employed by Nicolas Rieussec for his 1825 chronograph. This strange display technique contributes an added element of magic that reinforces the impact of the dial with its surface showing a grained appearance. This is inspired by the treatment used for the metal parts of the original timepiece and highlights the apertures with a delicate satin-finished background displaying the date at 3 o’clock and a graceful guilloché pattern displaying the day/night indication at 9 o’clock. A second time-zone indication is shown by means of a skeleton hours hand.
The new dial covers the self-winding MB R200 Manufacture caliber. This combines traditional watchmaking craftsmanship with the most advanced technical research. A meticulously milled column-wheel links the movement’s gear-train to the monopusher chronograph mechanism through the use of a vertical clutch that operates with practically no friction and prevents any unwanted jumping action of the seconds hand when the chronograph function is activated. The double barrel guarantees a 72-hour power reserve. However, this mechanism is noteworthy not only for its technical performance, but also for the qualities of its design in terms of watchmaking aesthetics. Its finishes, such as beveling and the use of the Côtes de Genève motif, and the presence of blued screws in the traditional style and an aligned gear-train, all contribute to concentrating attention on the balance-wheel, which exerts an almost hypnotic effect with its 28,800 vibrations per hour. This greatly balanced movement is produced and assembled in the Montblanc workshops in Villeret.
The automatic caliber seen through the timepiece’s transparent case back is protected from external impacts by a steel case with a diameter of 43 millimeters. Produced to the very highest standards of quality, this traditional timepiece with contemporary dimensions features a curved profile, specially conceived to make it a wonderfully comfortable fit for any wearer’s wrist. Water-resistant to three bar, the Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec II model features on the dial side a slightly domed sapphire crystal designed to fit the curvature of the bezel, and on the back a flat sapphire crystal that allows for close observation of the finishes of an automatic movement that includes 319 component parts, each carefully crafted. This monopusher chronograph, produced in a limited edition of 565 pieces, is worn on a black alligator-skin strap with a triple folding buckle.
The Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec II model is delivered with a certificate ensuring that its high level of performance has been tested for 500 hours by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.
For more info, please visit montblanc.com
SUMMER SHEFFER – CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Summer’s stepfather introduced her to the world of watches when she was at a young age. He’d gotten a watch with a face that lit up, and she’d become incredibly intrigued. Years went on, and she did more research about watches, mostly what’s on the inside. She was fascinated by how they were put together. As for luxury watches, Summer prefers Breitling. Though her favorite brands are Franck Muller and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Read her articles here.