jrwong23 (aka watchthebin)
Montblanc 1858 Collection – Part One
Lots of of details have been discussed on
PuristSPro’s Montblanc forum, concerning the new Montblanc 1858 collection —
especially the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, with the beautifully-designed and
finished calibre 16.29.
I would like to share a three-part post on the
1858 collection, to explain the inspiration behind the creation of this new
collection, the design codes of the watch and the movement’s inspiration, as
well as the watches of this new collection. There is one watch that is not
widely shown yet and I will give a preview in this first post.
Inspiration behind the Montblanc 1858 Collection
This collection is inspired by the Minerva
manufacture, which is now part of Montblanc. It is Montblanc’s responsibility to continue to grow, safeguard
and build on this proud heritage and the know-how it has inherited from
Minerva. It makes sense then for Montblanc to create new collections and
watches that are inspired by Minerva, to draw on its rich history and to continue
to build from Minerva’s glorious past, especially its reputation in
chronographs and precision measurement of time.
The Minerva manufacture, has an uninterrupted
157-year heritage of Swiss watchmaking since 1858 when their founder,
Charles-Yvan Robert founded the manufacture in the village of Villeret in the
Portrait of Charles-Yvan Robert
The Minerva manufacture soon gained recognition
as one of Switzerland’s most respected specialists in chronometric functions
for precise time measuring.
The manufacture in the old days.
Today, the workshop is still in the same
location in Villeret.
The Minerva Heritage – Precision and Expertise
In the early 1920s, Minerva launched the calibre
13.20, a revered chronograph for wristwatches. It was one of the earliest
chronographs in a wristwatch, with a chronograph movement completely designed
for a wristwatch.
Note: I don’t think anyone knows for sure but
Longines probably produced the first chronograph wristwatch in 1913, a
As one of the most renowned experts and
innovators in precision timekeeping, Minerva was able to build on its strength
and developed calibres that could measure time with frequencies starting from
1/5th, 1/10th and up to 1/100th of a second. In
fact, Minerva was the first to unveil a mechanical movement that could measure
up to a hundredth of a second.
Minerva (now the Montblanc Villeret manufacture) always had a
gem in its hand, i.e. the complete in-house manufacture of its own balance
wheel and hairspring. This technical expertise, which is really rare in the
world of watchmaking, combined with Minerva’s mastery of various timekeeping
frequencies, enabled Minerva to establish its reputation in chronometric
precision and especially the production of chronograph watches.
The 1858 Collection – Design and Movement
Since Montblanc’s new global CEO joined the
company in mid-2013, we have observed Montblanc releasing several new watches
and especially two key collections, the Heritage Spirit and Heritage Chronometrie
collections. Those were good calls imho as they enhanced Montblanc’s offerings
in the classical watches genre (at accessible prices generally), beyond their
traditional classical watches in the Star,
Nicolas Rieussec and Villeret collections, which Montblanc continued to build
on with some exciting new models e.g. Homage to Nicolas Rieussec as well as
several new Timewalkers including the Extreme, Urban Speed and the latest
I had been thinking after the launch of the Heritage Chronometrie
collection, what would be a new collection for Montblanc? Another line with
classical design cues would be too boring, in my opinion. I was also hoping
Montblanc would continue to draw more inspiration from the rich archives of
Minerva when they create new collections or to enrich current collections.
Hence the appearance of the new 1858 collection pleased me personally a lot.
The 1858 collection, by virtue of its name, is
definitely a collection that pays homage to Minerva, which was founded back in
1858. The flagship timepiece launched in this new collection, i.e. the 1858
Monopusher Chronograph Tachymeter, has the calibre 16.29, which is a worthy
successor of the calibre 17.29 used in a Minerva Monopusher chronograph back in
The huge movement, very large slow oscillating
balance wheel and beautifully designed layout of the chronograph levers and
movement plates are apparent in both the vintage and current calibres.
The current 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter in red
gold side by side with its vintage sibling from the 1930s.
Of course, we also know by now there is also a
gorgeous 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter in steel with blue dial. Here I am going
to confess something: I have ordered that watch! Once it comes in 2016, I will
share it with fellow PuristS here.
Of course, there is also the 1858 Manual small
seconds in the 1858 collection but it is discussed less often here, compared to
the flagship Chronograph Tachymeter.But did we know the 1858 Manual Small Seconds
also has a blue dial version? A teaser here
In the next part of my post, I will share more
on the design codes of the new 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter and how the dial,
case and movement are inspired from the vintage Minerva Chronograph.
robin This message has been edited by jrwong23 on 2015-12-12 20:53:58