Reaching for the stars before Villeret - the Montblanc Star Chrono GMT Perpetual Calendar
Montblanc itself - in spite of being 111 years old - is a fairly new hand at watch making. At least if you consider the original operation, prior to acquiring Minerva in 2006 (which dates back to 1858). The history started in 1997 and about 10 years later the iconic in house movement for the Nicolas Rieussec formed the next great leap.
At the same time, however, Montblanc was not averse to using high quality movements from outside for their high end pieces - a common practice in the industry up until very recently.
One such watch - the pinnacle of the pre-Villeret era I believe - has been the Star Chrono GMT Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition 100, launched in celebration of the brand's 100th Anniversary in 2006.
The combination of complications was a serious statement of intent, as were individual details, such as the 43 faceted 'Montblanc cut' 0,55ct diamond gracing the crown. The six sided glacier design motif has been applied elsewhere, too, such as for the counterweight on the chronograph seconds hand, or on the GMT subdial.
The watch is definitely a presence on the wrist, with its 43mm diameter (not wearing smaller, even if the lug design ensures it is a comfortable fit even on slimmer wrists) and gold / platinum weight (there were 100 each in WG, YG, RG and 3 in Pt).
The movement is nicely finished but not quite the masterpiece one got used to from the Villeret manufacture in the years since.
The watch makes for an interesting historical piece from Montblanc in my opinion, from an era we rarely discuss. In spite of its intent and definite appeal, events following its introduction, such as the acquisition of Minerva or the launch of the in-house chronograph movement have perhaps overshadowed what is quite a fine watch.
Any owners out here, or people handling one at SIHH 2006 or thereafter? Opinions?
Was definitely a pleasant surprise finding one, in NOS condition and researching its history subsequently.
Thanks for viewing!