An unbelievable day . A Minerva - Villeret manufacture visit

May 07, 2015,12:30 PM

Just back home from a magnificent day in Switserland
This morning we went to Wevelgem where a private jet was waiting for us

This was a jet owned by Richemont and we feel very privileged  that we got the chance th fly with it. I'm sure this is something not many clients will ever experience. 

as you can see, the Cartier plane  smile

Inside the private jet, enough space for 10 of us  …. and yes it were the usual suspects  .. The Belgian gang  LOL
We all know each other for several years

just a picture taken above the clouds

almost 1000 km/h

let's take a look in the cockpit

 arriving ….

and that was what we wanted to see

A wonderful lady 'Gaëlle'  showed us the entire manufacture
we started upstairs for some drinks an a little talk

great furniture with tons of vintage watch parts  

old Minerva pocket watches

old enamel dials

a room with a view  …

and now, to the workshops
first of all , this really looks like the did it 50 or 100 years ago
I saw several other  manufactures but these were always  BIG factories, some of them look more like a hospital than a
watch manufacture. At minerva  it  just ha much more charm

ofcourse they also need big machines , it's not all  hand finishing of tiny parts. These  make the parts before we start finishing them to a superior level

raw material  smile

and ofcourse they also need some CNC machines. But most manufactures have  rooms full of these CNC
machines where at Minerva I think I saw only 3

the tiny pieces ;-)
ready to go to the 'finishing' department

one of their symbols

the room where the did the finishing ( bevelling  etc)

calculations  smile

Hand polishing   … and one of the best I have EVER seen

but unfortunately my iPhone does not do any justice to this amazing craftsmanship
Believe me, even with e watchmakers loupe this was beyond my expectations !

some boxes and bottles , but just look  don't they look great  … vintage !!

and what is this machine for ?

ohhh, wait a minute …. Minerva is one of the VERY FEW that makes the hairspring in-house

more hand finishing

2 top chrono movements

making the balance

once again, sorry for the iPhone crap pictures
the finishing is PERFECTION

Ready for dinner  …

but first let's have another look into these freak OLD books

after dinner   … the Montblanc watches
As we know Minerva works for the MOB brand and  indeed they did some things for Panerai too

know 2 things
1 the iPhone does not do justice to these watches
2 these are prototypes so some of them are not finished to the level they are finished  when they are sold to clients

the most affordable

but now  …. the TOP selection

being a chronograph fan myself, these watches and movements are among the most beautiful I have ever seen


more sporty


that was about it

so we had to go back home

with the Cartier Champagne on the Richemont Jet  smile

before I forgot  … there are goodies and goodies

This was the best goodie ever  LOL

We got a Montblanc pen   .. with our name engraved in the pen smile

a friend can post a picture from the pen,  I forgot to take a pic lol

last but not least

THANK YOU to Mr Ronny Haessevoet , owner of the magnificent shop in Waregem who sells  MB and other interesting watches, The 2 men from MB and Richemont

What a day  ……..

a final note
MB is really much more than pens smile 
Some of these watches are thanks to Minerva on par with the big VC, Patek and others  …. but for a much better price !!

More posts: Collection Villeret

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An unbelievable day . A Minerva - Villeret manufacture visit

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 7th, 2015-12:30
Just back home from a magnificent day in Switserland This morning we went to Wevelgem where a private jet was waiting for us This was a jet owned by Richemont and we feel very privileged that we got the chance th fly with it. I'm sure this is something no...

This kind of posts should be banned.

 By: dr.kol : May 7th, 2015-12:57
I never considered a MB watch. But Robin lat me play with his Villeret chronograph in Singapore and now your post. Perhaps I should consider... Your post was one belonging to the group "Great Posts". Thank you. Best, Kari

Kari, until yesterday I had the same feeling

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-00:32
would I buy an expensive montblanc if I can have a Lange or patek for the same price Well in fact, some look much better than for example a datograph and they cost A LOT LESS. So just like me I think you ne d to take a closer look at will chang...

I would like to have a closer look

 By: dr.kol : May 9th, 2015-02:25
but I am scared to take such a step. Especially after playing a bit with Robins chronograph. Best, Kari

If you compare the retail, the Minerva Chrono movements are more impressive than some from

 By: amanico : May 7th, 2015-13:02
So called prestigious brands. Here is what I call a movement finishing... Really impressive. Best, and thanks for this supersonic report. ;) Nicolas


 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-00:35
the finishing is unbelievable The 13/20 months cement for example is one of the best I know

Here is an old one I am considering to buy...

 By: amanico : May 8th, 2015-00:39
Cal 17 - 29 CH I just have to check with MB if they can restore the case and the movement... Best, Nicolas ...

Good PR is...

 By: Ares501 - Mr Green : May 7th, 2015-13:05
mighty weapon ;) Minerva Chrono is one of best looking movements ever made What was the watch that pilot was wearing? Best D

Something else

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-00:36
lol Something from the richemont group but not a montblanc... A Cartier ballon bleu

Again, what's more to say than ..

 By: Mr.Orange : May 7th, 2015-13:13
... it was a fantastic day. Montblanc inhering one of the finest manufacturers of movements. Exepionally skilled and driven people. Thanks again for a great experience. One happy pen owner :-) ...

Fantastic report again Bruno

 By: Mark in Paris : May 7th, 2015-13:30
...and I guess P@trick should be hidden not far somewhere :p I discovered several Villeret pieces 3 years ago and realised what Minerva was about when integrated to Montblanc. You did a very nice job and I think that Swiss customs start to know you now :)...

damn !

 By: P@trick@Belgium : May 7th, 2015-14:06
I hoped to fly under the radar on this one !! but helas :) ...

I knew it ! [nt]

 By: Mark in Paris : May 11th, 2015-07:41

quite a trip report. maybe there will be a PuristS tour there...

 By: Ronald Held : May 7th, 2015-14:05
In the future.

I can only recommend it [nt]

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-00:38

This post here is better than watch magazine articles even with

 By: Salamanca : May 7th, 2015-16:31
the crappy iPhone pictures!

You made me curious, Bruno.

 By: marcelo : May 7th, 2015-17:40
Is the pen a fountain one? Best! Marcelo


 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-00:41
not a fountain pen but nevertheless a SUPERB gift I write with pens and FP so I will use this pen with pleasure And writing with it will always remind me to that day

Congratulations! ;)

 By: marcelo : May 8th, 2015-13:10

Again: great thanks to MB & Haesevoets

 By: ambel : May 7th, 2015-22:07

Super shot! [nt]

 By: amanico : May 7th, 2015-22:12

Incredible Report! [nt]

 By: jonathan.nachman : May 8th, 2015-00:15

Thank you [nt]

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-00:42

Holy moly!

 By: Esharp : May 8th, 2015-03:23
Sounds like you had a fantastic time! My little old Minerva cal. 48 says hi and bows in reverence at the quality of what's being done today. Now - you show a time-only watch, with a small hour register - I've just looked at Montblanc's website and it's NO...

can you copy the picture

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-12:26
don't know which one you mean

of it is...

 By: Esharp : May 8th, 2015-21:55
It brings together a few of my loves - Minerva (that reference at four o'clock is tiny!) and hand-guilloched dials (see the text opposite, at eight). I'd love to see what the movement looks like. I'm not quite sure about the dial arrangement yet, and I'd ...

this is the movement, and a bit extra info

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 9th, 2015-23:33
indeed, at 4 o'clock ' Minerva 1858' and at 8 'Guilloche main Suisse' Cal 16.18 limited to 8 pieces 47mm detour-à-zero fonction ( easier to set the watch with down to the second precision. Pull out the crown and the second hand jumps to zero and stays the...

Very interesting...

 By: Esharp : May 10th, 2015-08:31
Lovely movement - check. Hunter caseback - check. But only 8 pieces! What a shame... Thanks! Best E.

Great report.

 By: VMM : May 8th, 2015-08:38
It's always nice to see where these beauties are created, specially the very nice Minerva movements. Thanks for the tour. Vte

glad you liked it [nt]

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-12:26

Great photo report and commentary. Thanks.

 By: Rock1 : May 8th, 2015-09:36
What's interesting also is the "Minerva Villeret" printed on the movement. I remember a couple years ago it was "Montblanc Villeret". Could be mistaken but I think it's appropriate to use the Minerva name as a "subsidiary" to the Montblanc ownership. Than...

I think it has always been Minerva Villeret on the movement

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : May 8th, 2015-16:04
So far all the Montblanc Villeret watches still follow this tradition. Here is my Calibre 13.21 Y bridge Cheers Robin ...

Outstanding commentary. pictures, tour, watches...

 By: SteveG : May 8th, 2015-10:12
the works! Thanks so much! I am very glad to see that Minerva has landed in such apparently enthusiastic and supportive hands, they had some very difficult years early on this century. Here is one of mine, almost their last hurrah in the year 2000 ...

Thanks Steve, btw I love your Minerva! [nt]

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-12:28

Beautiful Minerva Steve!

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : May 8th, 2015-16:05
Thanks for sharing! Cheers Robin

and something extra :-)

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-12:24

 By: Bruno.M1 : May 8th, 2015-12:25
:-( doesn't seem to work

A great report on the Montblanc Villeret manufacture !

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : May 8th, 2015-16:10
Now the Montblanc Movement and Innovation excellence center. Love your photos and definitely the Villeret watches are ever so charming ! Thanks for the report Bruno! I have been in New York for work the past week and have been wearing my Montblanc Villere...

And an Unbelievable Report!!!

 By: Speedie74 aka Mr. Torquise : May 9th, 2015-02:08
Thanks for it! I didn't know, that Minerva still has a lot of parts: dials, hands, movements etc. I wish they awaken again their legendary watches under their own brand's name: MINERVA. As I see their stock of parts, it won't be impossible... I missed onl...

A possibility indeed

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : May 9th, 2015-02:31
Hope Montblanc is listening to us here :) Doesn't hurt to have some Limited Editions of Minerva on the dial :) Cheers robin

Fantastic report, Bruno, Bravo! A great report, with awesome pictures

 By: ThomasM : May 9th, 2015-13:47
I know how hard great pictures can be to take in situ, yours are amazing! Thank you, and thanks to MontBlanc for continuing to impress and tantalize us watch obssssed!

All I can say is JEALOUS!!!

 By: KL670 : May 9th, 2015-13:56
what a great report you did!! I wonder what it takes to have a private tour like that!!!

Montblanc hospitality

 By: Tick Talk : May 10th, 2015-08:13
Thanks for this wonderful trip report, a reminder of Montblanc's unsurpassed hospitality! The Villeret facility is such a magical place. Did you gain any intelligence on new developments? Have they worked the bugs out of the Geospheres, and any update on ...

just had to read this again :-)

 By: Bruno.M1 : January 20th, 2016-08:57
I can tell that 2 of the people who joined the trip bought this super nice watch (steel blue dial) ...

simply terrific report on a very special visit.

 By: Rock1 : March 22nd, 2016-05:24
I was there in Villeret by myself for an incredible tour back in 2013 together with an elegent lunch joined by Mr. Cabbidu in the penthouse overlooking the beautiful town and fields in the distance. You succeeded in capturing the history, superb watchmaki...

Dream trip....

 By: Horology75 : April 1st, 2016-08:05
Seems like a lot of fun... Best,