Montblanc’s 2017 TimeWalker And Bronze 1858 Watches: Sporty And Automotive With A Healthy Side Of Nostalgia

Quill & Pad
Jan 17, 2017 · 7 min read

by Elizabeth Doerr

Montblanc really hit a homerun with its 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, which until now has only been available in limited editions. This chronograph, which unsurprisingly won its category at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, is a real heart stopper for lovers of vintage good looks, clean and clear dials, and sensational manufacture movements.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition

And the latter is really where this charming stopwatch for the wrist excels: Caliber 16.29, whose architecture is derived from a beautiful Minerva pocket watch movement from 1929, has been lovingly and impeccably executed at the factory in Villeret, including gorgeous hand-finishing.

View through the display back of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
View through the display back of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

View through the display back of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition

This purist’s chronograph illustrates perfectly how to utilize the Minerva heritage and know-how that Montblanc acquired in 2006.

Beautiful movement of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
Beautiful movement of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

Beautiful Minerva-inspired movement of the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

And as good as that chronograph with its prominent vintage cues is, the brand-new limited edition of the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in bronze is that much better.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

And this is where I must profess that I am still a little on the fence regarding this new “trend” in watchmaking, that of bringing bronze watches into more of a mass spotlight, effectively starting to turn its use from the odd, bold occurrence to a regular collection element. Some of these are more “me too” products and some look really good, but bronze — which changes color as it gets worn — doesn’t necessarily always add anything special (see Give Me Five! Bronze Watches At Baselworld 2016 From Hautlence, Urwerk, Bell & Ross, Tudor, And Oris to make up your own mind on this).

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter

The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition, however, is really right on the money with its special bronze alloy making the case look uniformly patinated to go along with the choice of champagne-colored dial.

This takes my breath away, truly.

And I will actually chalk it up to Davide Cerrato’s new influence on the Montblanc designs. Headhunting him away from Tudor was brilliant, and these first designs under his stewardship prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt (see Montblanc Creates New Watch Division Headed By Davide Cerrato, Previous Head Of Marketing, Design And Product Development Of Tudor).

Montblanc 1858 Automatic
Montblanc 1858 Automatic

Montblanc 1858 Automatic

This first use of bronze at Montblanc is a hit, and luckily Cerrato and his team thought of much more than just the dyed-in-the-wool collector set: along with the luxurious chronograph, the bronze line also includes a quite affordable automatic dual time and an automatic three-hander with date.

Back of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic
Back of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic

Back of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic

These cases are actually more two-tone stainless steel with bronze bezel, but the effect is still that of them being encased in bronze.

And differentiating them from the chronograph even further, these two have black dials, making them look more like modern pilot’s watches — though from when would be a hard question to answer with just a quick glance.

For more information, please visit:
www.montblanc.com/en/collection/watches/montblanc-1858-collection/112637-montblanc-1858-chronograph-tachymeter-limited-edition and www.montblanc.com/en/collection/watches/montblanc-timewalker-collection/110579-montblanc-timewalker-automatic-dual-time-special-edition.

Quick Facts Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition
Case: 44 x 13.5 mm, bronze with titanium case back
Movement: manually wound Caliber MB M16.29 with monopusher column wheel chronograph, red gold-plated German silver plates and bridges, 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, monopusher chronograph
Limitation: 100 pieces
Price: €27,500

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time

Quick Facts Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time
Case: 44 x 12.30 mm, stainless steel with bronze bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 29.19 (base Sellita SW300–1) with in-house complication
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, second time zone with day/night indication
Price: €4,990

Montblanc 1858 Automatic
Montblanc 1858 Automatic

Montblanc 1858 Automatic

Quick Facts Montblanc 1858 Automatic
Case: 44 x 11.10 mm, stainless steel with bronze bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 24.16 (base Sellita SW260–1)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: €3,490

Montblanc watch division head Davide Cerrato "driving" the new 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition with Quill & Pad's Ian Skellern photographing the action
Montblanc watch division head Davide Cerrato "driving" the new 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition with Quill & Pad's Ian Skellern photographing the action

Montblanc watch division head Davide Cerrato “driving” the new 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100 with Quill & Pad’s Ian Skellern photographing the action

TimeWalker . . . or driver

The TimeWalker is a collection that has gone through countless transformations since the king of writing instruments entered the watch business. Therefore, it is at times hard to know what this line stands for if you’ve been following it for a while.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC from the back
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC from the back

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC from the back

But, as to be expected, Cerrato had a vision, and as of 2017 the TimeWalker also pays tribute to Minerva’s heritage while at the same time throwing us back to the glory days of motor racing (which were also Minerva’s glory days).

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic

The revamped TimeWalker endeavors to capture the spirit and values of motorsport history without going the full vintage route — which would be hard to do considering these black watches have shiny ceramic or black DLC bezels.

 Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date
 Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date

Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date

The new TimeWalker watches are “reborn,” so to speak, to put the spotlight on performance and modernity rather than nostalgia.

And one big advantage of this sporty new collection is the price-conscious view on today’s market for the unlimited pieces, while the limited pieces once again represent something special.

TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 on the wrist
TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 on the wrist

TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 on the wrist

TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 (right) and its inspiration
TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 (right) and its inspiration

TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 (right) and its vintage Minerva inspiration

The TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100, for example, is more an “object” than anything else. Inspired by an original Minerva rally timer from the 1970s, this could be considered a classic re-edition of a rally timer were it not for its changeability: this timepiece can be worn on the wrist with a strap, can be used as a classic stopwatch, or it can stand by itself on a desk like a clock. And just for kicks it can also be screwed onto a leather-covered plate to perform as a mechanical timer in your (rally) car.

View through the display back to the movement of the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100
View through the display back to the movement of the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100

View through the display back to the movement of the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100

This convertible timepiece is powered by Montblanc manufacture Caliber MB M16.29, whose inspiration comes from Minerva Caliber 17.29 from the 1930s, which was used in both pocket and wristwatches.

But the Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100 is where the nostalgia ends with these new TimeWalker watches.

TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100
TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100

Montlblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100

While it is not hard to recognize where their origins lie — in particular thanks to the use of the Minerva arrow on the tips of the second hands — the hits of reminiscence are completely left behind in the polished ceramic bezels, angular cases and lugs, and strong coloring mainly comprising black with hints of white, red, and Super-LumiNova.

The design codes from the racing world are clearly evident.

The larger case sizes clinch the modernity and make a statement on the wrist. The size and design clarity also make them good choices to wear while driving as the time is easily seen with a quick glance.

Quick Facts Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100
Case: 50 x 15.20 mm, titanium with black DLC case band
Movement: manually wound Caliber MB M16.29 with monopusher column wheel chronograph, red gold-plated German silver plates and bridges, 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, monopusher chronograph
Limitation: 100 pieces
Price: €37,000

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC

Quick Facts Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC
Case: 43 x 15.20 mm, black DLC-coated stainless steel, ceramic bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 25.03 (base ETA Valjoux 7754)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph, three time zones
Price: €4,990

Quick Facts Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic
Case: 43 x 15.20 mm, black DLC-coated stainless steel, ceramic bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 25.07 (base Sellita SW500)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Price: €3,990

Quick Facts Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date
Case: 41 x 11.38 mm, stainless steel, ceramic bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 24.17 (base Sellita SW200–1)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: €2,990

Originally published at Quill & Pad.

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