Watches and Wonders 2023: Hands on review on the Montblanc 1858 Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva Limited Edition.

May 15, 2023,09:59 AM

Last year, Montblanc surprised us with the Unveiled Secret and the Red Arrow. This year, there is another version of the Unveiled Secret, but I would like to first focus on the real novelty of this year, which is, in my opinion, one of the most surprising and original watches, all brands included, the 1858 Unveiled Timekeer. 

In fact, there are two versions, one in steel, limited to 100 pieces, and one in lime gold, limited to 28 pieces: 

It obviously is a Chronograph, but there lies a question: Where is the pusher? For a moment, I thought it was subtly located in the crown, but it is not the case. 

So, how does it work? 

The originality which, as far as I know is unique, is that the chronograph starts, stops and resets to zero through the... Bezel! Turn it clockwise once, and it starts. Twice, and it stops, and a third time and it resets to zero. The feeling is not very smooth, but how funny it is to activate the chronograph functions this way! 

I only know three chronographs which don't have pushers: A Habring, which uses its crown, the Jaeger Lecoultre Amvox 2 and 7, which uses the pivoting case, and this Montblanc, with its bezel. 

Without the(se) pushers, the case gains in purity and class. I would have preferred a slimmer bezel, though. As for the bezels, they both are in gold ( white for the steel / lime for the... Lime gold case ). 

The case is 42, 5 mm big, 13, 85 mm high, which is, if my memory serves me well, the bigger case housing the Cal 13.21. The case is water resistant to 30 meters. The beveled lugs are generous, which is a detail I enjoy a lot. 

The crown, I find it to be really exquisite. And original, as its shape is different from the other Montblanc Minerva watches I know. 

The front sapphire glass is domed. And below, you find a traditional 1858 dial, which is a sunray decorated in blue for the steel and in green for the lime gold, with Cathedral hands.

A notable difference with the other 1858 dials is the presence of applied hour markers, filled with luminova.

Some live photos of the 1858 Unveiled Timekeeper: 

The feast is also in the back case, with, as always with Montblanc Minerva, the Cal 13.21. It is a rather small chronograph movement, with a diameter of only 29, 5 mm. But what a beauty! The level of decoration and finishings is on par with the best manual winding chronographs you can find on the market. 

Let's remember that it has a power reserve of 60 hours. 

If I had to find three flaws with this " Unveiled Timekeeper ", it would be the a bit too large bezel, a tad too big case. 40 / 41 mm would have been more to my taste. Third flaw, the price... 45, 000 Euros for the steel, 60, 500 Euros for the lime gold, that starts to become... Pricey. 

But the price is relative, compared to what the contenders offer at this level of quality. 

Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,



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The idea is good

 By: andrea~ : May 15th, 2023-10:23
The execution lacks refinement. The bezel is too big and the interesting actuation mechanism isn't worth the big size delta and off-looking proportions. The monopusher version is much more wearable and aesthetically pleasing.

Both watches look very nice β€” not sure about the durability of the bezel mechanism β€” and the price! Thanks for sharing them.

 By: orahu : May 15th, 2023-10:31
Do you know what the significance is of the years on the back of the case? I find them a bit distracting, even with beautiful movement to grab my attention.

Interesting, but does it sacrifice practicality?

 By: Esharp : May 15th, 2023-11:20
How much time does it take to start or stop the chronograph? And is it possible to stop the restart it, or only to progress start - stop - reset? Best E.

Mixed emotions here

 By: TeutonicCarFan : May 15th, 2023-12:07
I like that they are thinking outside the box with this mechanism. Overall I don't like the design cue which began last year with the knurled bezel. I guess there is some historical precedent here. The case size is a few mm too big... they could have gone... 


 By: amanico : May 15th, 2023-16:13

Thanks again for the review, Nico

 By: Jtl : May 15th, 2023-12:37
The case and bezel both appear large as compared to the dial but I pretty much like the design on the back of the case. The blue prints of the years of significance which may be distractful to some but they have served the purpose of making the 16.21 move... 

For sure!

 By: amanico : May 15th, 2023-16:34

too bulky in appearance for me - but thanks for your report Nico

 By: penfriend : May 15th, 2023-16:31
I really prefer the more refined cases of their 2006-2015 pieces (that's why I have got some of them)

Very interesting!

 By: jmpTT : May 15th, 2023-19:45
42.5 mm is a bit large for this movement. The 16.x movement series offered aesthetic benefits plus the crown monopusher. Always felt the sub 40 mm case sizes afforded by the 13.x movement were an advantage, not a disadvantage. On the other hand, it's very... 

I live the blue version...

 By: Champthekid : May 16th, 2023-23:37
but would have prefered a pusher instead of the bezel thing.

Well, the bezel system

 By: Champthekid : May 17th, 2023-11:59
is a deal killer for me. The movement is a 10. So are the dial and hands. Oh well. πŸ˜€


 By: amanico : May 17th, 2023-21:28

Too bad the red arrow isn’t 40mm.

 By: Champthekid : May 17th, 2023-21:59
I still love it anyway 😁