Pre-SIHH 2016: MontblancWritten by Alvin Wong
Two collections – one classic, the other, contemporary – suggest that Montblanc’s 2016 offerings will be defined by variety.
First, a follow-up to last year’s debutant, the Heritage Chronométrie. Launched in 2015, the classically inspired range featured three options: a three-hander, a dual-time and a high-complication, the Exo-Tourbillon Minute Chronograph.
This year, the collection is boosted by two complications: a date model, and a chronograph with annual calendar. Like its brethren, the new watches’ flaunt austere, vintage-y designs that take their cues by Minerva’s Pythagore watch from 1948. The calendar option (below), while pared down, keeps things interesting with subtle design accents like blued sub-counter hands, and single red markers on the date and seconds counter.
Elsewhere, the annual calendar (below) reiterates Montblanc’s value-for-money proposition. This timepiece, which come encased in pink gold with a top-of-the-line, hand-decorated calendar movement, costs approximately €18,900. Very reasonably priced, considering a similar creation from other brands would cost almost 50 per cent more. It is not quite the €10,000 steel-cased perpetual calendar that Montblanc introduced two years ago, but the Heritage Chronométrie is certainly one to check out if you are seeking a value-buy complication.
Last but not least, we have the Timewalker Exo-Tourbillon Minute Chronograph. This watch’s ingenious movement, recognised by its plus-sized balance wheel that oscillates above the tourbillon cage (typically balance wheels are house within the tourbillon carriage), would be familiar to Montblanc collectors, having been rolled out in various executions in the classically styled Villeret range.
This year, the in-house complication is housed in the Timewalker’s sporty cloak, and looks totally different as a result. Sheathed in red and black, the watch exudes machismo and stateliness in equal measure, giving your Audemar Piguets and Richard Milles a run for their money.
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.