By John Galt

Montblanc have just released this beauty at SIHH 2015, the newly developed and completely built in-house ExoTourbillon was first released in 2010 but now Montblanc have put their patented tourbillon into the new Heritage Chronometrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph and boy is she pretty and very clever so let me explain. Montblanc’s strive for the perfect timekeeping i.e. a larger balance wheel for better chronometric stability but in the tourbillon the entire escapement including the balance wheel rotates inside the cage.

Montblanc’s exceptional watch makers have developed a tourbillon with a large balance wheel that sits outside of the tourbillon cage, by keeping the tourbillon cage small the rotations will use less energy than with the balance wheel inside with the cage not having to carry the weight of the large balance wheel they are able to save 30% energy of a traditional construction, a true feat in watchmaking.

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The chronograph seconds and minutes are shown through two semi-circular dials at 4 O’Clock and 8 O’Clock, with them being semi-circular Montblanc have added two hands to each dial one in gold other in red slightly smaller to show elapsed time. The date is shown via a grey circular dial surrounding the dial’s centre with a red semi-circular tip showing the current date. The tourbillon cage wheel also acts as a seconds dial with a red arrow shaped marker.

The dial is a creamy white colour with red-gold numbers at 3,9&12 only and 6 applied indexes surrounded by a railway minute track. The single pusher between 3 and 4 starts/stops the chronograph with Montblanc also integrating a stop-second function that not only allows for precisely seting the hours and minutes but also the seconds thus allowing the wearer to precisely set the piece right down to the second.

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The case size is 44mm which in my option is a perfect size for a piece like this, too small and the wearer would strain to see the tourbillon or sub-dials but much bigger and it would lose its sophisticated elegant looks. The rose-gold case features a slight concave bezel to aid with scratch protection, the faceted lugs are satin finished on the inside and polished on the outside to continue the elegant look further.

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Turn the piece over you are greeted to an exhibition case back with its window into the stunning manufactured calibre MB R230 its heart beating at 21,000 vph with an excellent power reserve, given the tourbillon, of 50hours. The movement perfectly combines the elements of traditional chronograph with contemporary construction. Finishing off the piece is a black alligator strap crafted at Montblanc’s Pelletteria in Florence. The cost of this piece will be 38,000EUR.

Also available from Montblanc is the limited edition dedicated to Vasco De Gama and his ship the Sao Gabriel.

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The dial is dark blue with many small dots to give the illusion of starry night sky with a diamond positioned at 12’oclock which I can only assume is meant to represent the north star. The central date dial has a beautiful wave-shaped guilloche, the case is 44mm but in white gold as opposed to rose.

Heritage Chronometrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco Da Gama Limited Edition will be priced at 45,000EUR and limited to only 60 pieces.

Conclusion

I do like the fact that Montblanc are not sitting on their laurels and definitely moving their watch designs to the next level. I like the minute chronograph in rose gold, it works for me with its tourbillon exposed and semi-circular dials, but ever since I saw the piece my mind has been niggling me where I had seen a similar design then it dawned on me; the 8 day pocket watches off old. For more info, please visit montblanc.com

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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.