Montblanc 1858 Collection – Part One

Dec 12, 2015,19:28 PM

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. smile

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 Saint-Imier valley.

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 monopusher chronograph.

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 Inspiration 

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 ExoTourbillon Chronograph.

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. smile

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 1930.


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. smile

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 smile

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.

Stay tuned!

This message has been edited by jrwong23 on 2015-12-12 20:53:58

More posts: 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter 1858 CollectionCalibresCollection VilleretExoTourbillon ChronographHomage to Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher ChronographNicolas Rieussec Chronograph AutomaticNicolas Rieussec Collection

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Lol bro!

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 12th, 2015-22:04
You mean my writing is that boring?!! :p Cheers Robin

Hehe. I was pulling your leg bro

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 12th, 2015-22:48
But yes that was the killer statement from my post indeed. I am doing lots of wrist exercise now to hopefully increase wrist size lol Cheers Robin

Doing more push-ups now

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-01:58
I doubt it will increase wrist size to be honest Luis but at least it is helping me to keep fit Cheers Robin

Just don't forget the isometrics and the rubber ball.

 By: TheMadDruid : December 13th, 2015-05:36
And congratulations. I can't wait to see it on your wrist!

Congrats on a great catch!

 By: NT931 : December 13th, 2015-02:19
Thanks to your well written article, I am also now tempted by the 1858 Small Seconds, albeit the black dial one with the vintage lume. Alas, my skinny wrist may not be able to handle it. So like you, it's time for me to do some push-ups! ;-)

Lol NT

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-02:36
We can do a push up gtg for the gang! :p The 1858 manual small seconds is also quite big at 44mm and as it is thinner, I feel it wears even larger on the wrist. Go and try the regular 1858 Manual Small Seconds when you have the time at the Montblanc bouti...  

PuristS fitness club sounds good my friend

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-05:22
Gtg with sports watches as main theme lol Cheers Robin

Already practising...

 By: NT931 : December 13th, 2015-07:03
going to buy this and put my left hand to work, while using my right hand to guzzle those protein shakes! ...  

It was thanks to you my dear friend Nico

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-02:04
That this steel blue dial 1858 chronograph Tachymeter caught my attention. Initially I had assumed this watch is just too big for me and I would pass but now I am convinced and prepared to wear a larger pilot theme watch . Remember you teasing me to share... 

Interesting post and happy for you to know you finally

 By: patrickh : December 12th, 2015-23:06
decided to add it (the blue steel version) in your beautiful collection. Wait to discover parts II & III ;-)) Congratulations Robin, Cheers, Patrickh

Thank you Patrickh

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-02:00
Part 2 and 3 will come soon I really hope to showcase the 16.29 more. Really a beautiful movement which I had targeted for the longest time - just that it has always been on Montblanc Villeret watches that were too big for me like 47mm (even the 43.5mm Vi... 

Thanks my friend!

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-02:01
You had covered some of it in your review too I hope to expound on this topic more Cheers Robin

Congrats Robin. I blame you, you blame Nico, it's all good!

 By: MichaelC : December 13th, 2015-07:07
I replied the first time I saw the photo of the blue you posted. It is definitely a watch to have.

Yes, your old buddy JL coming around to haunt us all!

 By: MichaelC : December 13th, 2015-11:57
What a job he is doing with Montblanc.

Lol! The white wizard

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-17:36
I thought he was Wizard of Oz, the strong and mighty :p Cheers Robin

The allure of this Montblanc 1858 Chrono Tachymeter blue dial in steel

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-17:35
Is growing very strong in you Michael! Don\'t resist anymore! Ask your local AD or boutique soon Yes you can blame me, I blame Nico, Nico blames Jerome.... Actually I should blame Alex Schmidt - he was the first one who showed me this watch in the metal! ... 

Resisting? I'm way past that...

 By: MichaelC : December 13th, 2015-17:56
I placed one on hold in October ;-)

I didn't know that!

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-18:09
Must have missed your post on this. Congrats my friend!! Soon we can do a roll call! With Alex 007 too Cheers Robin

I guess I did not actually announce it

 By: MichaelC : December 13th, 2015-18:22
But in the very first thread about this new collection, I indicated the blue steel chrono would hopefully be my first MB. Usually I don't post when I have something on hold, I never count on it until it is fully "in hand". Hopefully this one will be, next... 

Got it Michael. Fingers crossed! :)

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-18:29
I can\'t wait! Mine will also be in 2016 after SIHH - could be Feb or March Let\'s patiently wait for now Cheers Robin

Yes!!! Excellent. [nt]

 By: amanico : December 13th, 2015-22:32

We all know you will be the Captain of this club ;-)

 By: MichaelC : December 14th, 2015-06:36
Quit screwing around and get it locked up. Or have you already as well?!?

I suspect Vlad will get one too

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 14th, 2015-07:09
And yes be our captain lol!! :p Cheers Robin

Me too... hence I am in no rush!

 By: MichaelC : December 14th, 2015-16:32
But I really should keep off this forum to help myself cope.

The Vlad vs the White Wizard

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 15th, 2015-18:33
Who shall prevail?? Muahahahah Cheers Robin

I think it is always interesting to what where our watches come from

 By: Mark in Paris : December 13th, 2015-07:59
That's what I did with the 5170 too. Very interesting post Robin and of course... huge congratz for the purchase! This is a great model to have indeed and I'm looking forward to your future posts about it. Have a nice Sunday, Cheers, Mark

Thanks Mark!

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-17:38
Indeed I am always fascinated by the inspiration of watches - especially if the source has a strong heritage. Some call it marketing ... I am ok with this as I like a story behind a watch Cheers Robin


 By: KMII : December 13th, 2015-10:07
Soon your number of appendages will not suffice for the next meeting, in spite of double booking

Hahaha that's funny my friend

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : December 13th, 2015-17:39
I will have to bring my treasure chest watch box then Cheers Robin

:D [nt]

 By: KMII : December 13th, 2015-20:42