By John Galt
Four years after the first Metamorphosis piece wowed the horology world, Montblanc have released the follow-up, and boy is it a stunning piece of watch engineering!
The Metamorphosis II took four years to develop and like its predecessor it is a regulator, meaning it has a central minute hand and seconds running from the centre and shown on the outer edge of the dial, with a red tip on the second hand to differentiate itself from the minutes. Hours are shown on a sub dial at 12 o’clock. Its red-gold crown is a mono-pusher chronograph, meaning the wearer can start, stop and reset all through the one pusher. The case is a highly-polished rose gold with lovely curved lugs and slightly curved case to sit perfectly balanced on the average-sized wrist, which given its size – a hefty 52mm – does stretch the imagination and definition of a formal timepiece.
The in-house movement is hand-wound calibre MB M67. 40 85-jewels with power reserve of 50 hours. The main plate is rhodium-plated nickel silver with circular graining on both sides. Cotes de Genève decorate the rhodium-plated bridges. In total the movement has 746 components – 494 of which are solely dedicated to the metamorphosis function of the piece, and that is where this watch will really amaze you. It is brilliant.
The picture above is NOT 2 versions of this piece – it is the SAME watch and it’s superb. I’ll run you through the wonder that is the metamorphosis. On the left the hours are displayed by Roman numerals with a date window at 6 o’clock, then the activator slides at 10 o’clock (which reminds me of an activator on a minute-repeater) and the subdials change before your eyes in roughly 5 seconds.
The subdials actually split in half and retract back into the case, revealing two new subdials at 6 & 12 o’clock. The Roman numerals are replaced by just the numbers 12, 3 & 9, and the date dial is replaced by a 30 minute Chrono function with the seconds hand springing to the 12 o’clock position, ready for the Chrono function to be started from the mono-pusher. When you have finished using the chronograph function, just use the slider again to return it to the classic time and date dial with the seconds hand catching up to the correct running position. The chronograph function and date function remain independently active from the watch face, meaning if the chronograph function is started and the dial is changed back to classic it will continue to run, so when the minute counter is revealed again the elapsed time will be shown. All in all, it’s a very neat theatrical trick.
The dial is decorated with gold throughout and so many different decorations – I counted eight different!!! From the satin finish on the classic hour subdials to the guilloche-spiral on the chronograph hour dial with fillet saute, straight satin and dark clous de Paris guilloche margins as well. And just to add a contemporary twist to it, Montblanc have added a sapphire-crystal bridge between 5 & 7 o’clock.
Limited to just 18 pieces in 18k rose gold with a price rumoured to be in the region of $320,000.
This is very neat indeed from Montblanc – a choice of both a sporty dial and classic dial is yours. I’m sure that if I owned one I would never get bored of watching the dials change from one to the other. BUT at the price it is rumoured to cost, would you wear it most of the time? It will most likely be sold to collectors and sit in a safe never to see the light of day or be worn I…but as a feat of engineered horology it is brilliant and very beautiful indeed. For more info, please visit montblanc.com
John Galt – Contributing Editor
John Galt caught the horology bug 4 years ago on his first visit to a London watch show and has snowballed since; John has become an avid writer and blogger of timepieces of all kinds, from everyday timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology, his favorite brands being HYT and Greubel Forsey that push the bounders of modern watch-making. John keeps a keen interest in the UK watch scene with their many emerging brands and timepiece’s. John Galt currently contributes watch related articles for online publications in the UK and USA. You can follow John on Twitter @johng73 Read his articles here.