INTRODUCING: Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph
Montblanc continues to reinvent the iconic chronograph collection while paying homage to the innovator who inspired it.
For the longest time, it was believed that French clockmaker Nicolas Rieussec was responsible for creating the chronograph in 1821. But about a decade ago, horological history books were subject to a rewrite as it became evident that the first proper chronograph came from Louis Moinet in 1816. Although the original idea has been refined substantially over the years, Moinet’s initial model was well ahead of its time: running at 216,000 vibrations an hour, it could time 1/60th of a second.
That said, Rieussec, the sixth royal watchmaker to the King of France, is credited for using the word ‘chronograph’ for this complication. His chronograph was built into a box and could record its timings on paper. The chronograph took about 100 years to appear on a wristwatch, and it is considered one of the most popular complications today. It is also the most practical – the data on your mobile phone’s lock screen renders an annual or perpetual calendar useless, no one really needs a moonphase display, and a minute repeater is a fanciful toy since we can now tell the time after dusk.
Montblanc has maintained a regular collection of chronographs under the Nicolas Rieussec banner since 2007, which boasts its first in-house movement. Its interpretation of Rieussec’s invention on a wristwatch was intriguing, to say the least. Two chronograph counters, one for elapsed 60 seconds and the other indicating 30 minutes, are horizontally aligned at the bottom half of the dial. Instead of each counter having its own rotating hand, the counters were the ones to turn, with a single central index marker placed between the two indicating the elapsed time.
Last year’s headlining timepieces for Montblanc were two Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph models in a smaller 43mm case size. This year, it returns with two new contemporary references of this special model. The first is limited to 500 pieces in stainless steel with a black DLC coating and an anthracite dial. The second, in unlimited numbers, comes in stainless steel with a deep blue dial with rhodium-coated hands and counters. Both include details that reinforce the historical Paris connection, where Rieussec’s story with chronographs began.
Most evident is the Clous de Paris motif on the dial (replacing the previous Grain d’Orge decoration), which originates from the geometric design of Paris’s cobbled streets. The pattern extends to the textile strap and the oscillating weight, which is uncommon. Then, “Académie des Sciences de Paris – 1821” is engraved on the flange as a reminder of the year the institution validated Rieussec’s invention. In addition to the chronograph and time displays, the watch has a date window at 6 o’clock as well as a second time zone hand sharing the same axis as the hours and minutes hands alongside a day/night indicator at 9 o’clock of the off-centred sub-dial.
Both watches tick to the tune of a most meaningful engine – the self-winding monopusher chronograph MB R200 calibre, which was the Maison’s first in-house movement. It is equipped with a column wheel, and to improve the chronograph’s functions, the connection between the gear train and the wheels is alternately engaged and disengaged by a vertical disc clutch. The pusher is positioned at 8 o’clock so the wearer’s thumb can conveniently operate it, while a rapid-reset mechanism for the hour and date is very practical for switching time zones. The double barrels provide 72 hours of power, and the open-worked balance bridge ensures precise positioning of the oscillator for optimum shock resistance.
Both models are inimitably stylish. While the limited-edition black DLC-coated is indeed very beautiful, the blue model with silvery accents has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it very appealing. In paying homage to Rieussec’s invention and the city of its birth, the newly introduced design elements keep this classic timepiece relevant and refreshing for experienced collectors and novice watch lovers alike.
End of content
No more pages to load