Salon Belles Montres 2013: Montblanc
Montblanc was one of the few Richemont brands which attended the 7th edition of the Salon Belles Montres a few days ago in Paris. It was not a surprise since Paris and France are a very important market for the brand. The large boutique located at the rue de la Paix is a proof of this statement. It is also a way for Montblanc to highlight and to display to the visitors the horological contents of its collections. It is a key point in Monblanc strategy and the specific role played by the Villeret collection: everything is done to reinforce the horological legitimacy in order that Montblanc is perceived by any watch amateur as a credible player of the watch industry.
I must confess that the job done during the last years has been impressive. Just an example: the Rieussec collection, based on in-house movement is enlarged year after year with new complications or time display. With a catalogue based on three pillars (external movements - in-house movements - high-end Villeret movements), Montblanc already owns the right technical assests and the production processes. The feeling I have is that a new sales dynamic has to be found again to accelerate its growth and to take advantage of the investments done. I'm sure that under the leadership of its new CEO, Jérôme Lambert, this objective will be achieved.
The Montblanc booth gave to the visitors the opportunity to browse the full Montblanc catalogue with watches from the different collections. The wonderful surprise was the presence of a watchmaker, Thierry Pellaton, who worked during three days on a Rieussec movement. I don't know how many times he assembled it but believe me, he was very busy during the full duration of the Salon!
Let's start with some pictures of the booth:
Each wall was dedicated to a specific collection:
On the foreground, the workbench of the watchmaker:
He had to answer to a lot of questions about his job, the Montblanc movements... Thierry Pellaton wears a very famous name in this industry and he is a proud descendant of his prestigious ancestors!
But before leaving Paris, this Rieussec movement had to be assembled again!
Thanks to the Montblanc staff, I could browse the full current catalogue with a focus on the 2013 novelties: I selected to shoot watches which are good flag bearers of the collections they represent.
Of course, I couldn't resist to start with the ExoTourbillon
This watch is a superb proof of the skills of the Villeret Manufacture featuring a Tourbillon with a very large balance wheel. As you know the Rattrapante version has been unveiled a few weeks ago at Watches & Wonders but the pictured watch is the first version. You can recognize it at first glance at the shape of the Tourbillon bridge.
The two hands on the lower subdial are dedicated to display the hours of the first and second timezones. The minutes are displayed thanks to the large central minute hand:
The finishings of the dial are perfect especially the way the different subdials are outlined:
Sadly, the movement of the watch was not fully assembled. So I couldn't take a picture of it. Anyway, I could appreciate the feeling of this piece on the wrist. With a 47mm diameter, the ExoTourbillon
is a large and heavy watch but its size is fully coherent with its powerful design and its large balance wheel.
Let's go to another manufacture now, this time located at Le Locle!
I wished to see the Rieussec Rising Hours
which redesigns the way to display the hours.
At first glance, the watch seems to feature an usual hours display with a disk. Actually, the watch has two disks, one overlapping the other. The invisible disk plays a specific role: to propose a nigh/day indicator totally embedded inside the display! This disk is rotating with a variable speed and so the colours of the figures change at the right time.
Tha lateral openings are dedicated to the days of the week and to the date.
The different layers of the dial make us appreciate the flawless finishings. I like the bridge which holds the two tiny hands over the rotating disks.
The movement is the MB R220 with a column wheel chronograph which is activated thanks to a monopusher. It is a movement nicely done but more importantly, it was cleverly designed to be reliable and efficient.
It has a 4hz frequency and 3 days of power reserve.
The balanced wheel is maintained by a transversal bridge. The shape of the winding rotor allows to observe the main part of the movement elements and parts:
The stainless steel case diameter is 43mm and thanks to the shape of the lugs, the case is well positionned on the wrist. This watch is one of my fav of the Rieussec collection.
We leave the Rieussec collection to reach another side of the Montblanc catalogue with the Star Quantième Complet
Why another side? Simply because the watch is not powered by an in-house movement. But it is not a reason to ignore it. Actually, it would be a big mistake since this watch symbolizes the new Montblanc ambition with the Star collection.
With its very classic dial lay-out and its nice "rice" guillochage, I was seduced by the quiet and traditional design of this watch.
I appreciate the way the moonphase display is inserted on the dial:
It is a Quantième complet so there is no "calendar function" like an annual calendar or a perpetual one. So you will need to set the different displays if required at the end of the months.
The two main hands are beautiful:
The watch is powered by a Sellita movement + a DD module:
The 42mm case is perfect on my wrist.
I was positively surprised by this watch. I'm usually not a great fan of the Star collection but I think that this Star Quantième Complet
has all the ingredients to become its best representative.
An elegant watch which improves the perceived quality of the Star collection:
The Timewalker Worldtime Hemispheres
, here in its northern hemisphere
version is a watch dedicated to the people who travel or who work with colleagues in any place in the world. I often say that worldtimer watches (which allow to display the 24 timezones at the same time) are true fantasy pieces because we travel with our mind by browsing the different cities on the peripheral ring.
The central ring displays the hours of the home zone integrating a nigh/day contrast. I would have preferred to see the hours ring close to the cities one in order to ease its legibility because I find it a bit too small even if the different segments on the dial try to create clear links between the cities and the hours of the ring. Anyway, this Timewalker Hemispheres
remain a very nice watch with an unusual dial.
One Purists member, Dave, pointed out the fact that the marks on the hours ring and on the main dial are similar to "11". I think it is a fair comment and maybe dots would have been more appropriate at least on the hours ring to avoid any confusion.
Hopefully, yo can travel to the Southern Hemisphere with this watch! The caseback gives you the main indications of the timezones. Of course, the Southern Hemisphere watch does the same with the Northern Hemisphere cities.
The case diameter is 42mm which is the right size for this watch due to the map of the Earth on the dial. But I would have loved to see it without the date window which seems to be a bit too lost on the dial.
The last watch of this report also belongs to the Timewalker collection. The Twinfly chronograph
is in my point of view a very interesting watch since we can take advantage of the MB LL100 movement in a different context than the Rieussec collection.
I like the dial design and its very contemporary atmosphere. You will notice the dial window located at a very unusual place, at 9 o'clock.
features a flawless dial with some very subtle details: look at the way the different subdials play with the central scale.
The originality of this timepiece is the way the minute counter is designed.
Look at the picture below: you will see a small red hand below the second hand of the chronograph. It is the minute hand of the chronograph and It follows the central scale: this system enlarges the minutes counter which is positive since it is the most important counter.
A very coherent and contemporary design:
The MB LL100 movement has a 4hz frequency and 3 days of power reserve. It is an evolution of the automatic Rieussec movement.
The watch is large on the wrist with its light dial and its 43mm diameter. If we can compare them, it looked much bigger than the 42mm Star Quantième Complet.
A superb dial:
With insights into the Timewalker, Villeret, Rieussec and Star collections, this report had the objective to give you an overall view of the current Montblanc catalogue. I hope that it meets this objective and that it will give you the wish to learn more about these different collections. They deserve to be better known!
I can't wait now to discovery the SIHH 2014 collection and we just have one month to wait for them.
I would like to thank a lot the Montblanc team at the Salon for the warm welcome and for the time they dedicated to me.
This message has been edited by foversta on 2013-12-15 14:24:53