There’s something innately cool about a split-second chronograph. It might not get the love of high complications like minute repeaters, but it’s not too far off in the haute horology stakes, especially in a more traditional version such as Montblanc’s 1858 model from last year. Now, we get an updated version of that stunning chronograph in a fantastic new colourway.
The focal point of the new piece is the striking blue grand feu enamel dial, created by painting powder onto a solid gold dial and firing it at high temperature. The depth of colour is magnificent and, with orange highlights here and there, makes for a charmingly retro sports look, perfect for a split-seconds chronograph.
Other than the blue, the dial is dominated by a pair of chronograph read-outs. The first is around the edge as per usual, but is actually a telemetric scale used for measuring distance using sight and sound – like a flash of lightning and the thunder that follows. The usual tachymetric scale – for measuring speed is actually in the centre of the dial in a spiral. It’s an odd but practical layout – if you were actually using this as a stopwatch at any rate.
If it looks like there’s a lot going on with that dial, flip the watch over. The calibre MB M16.31 is one of the most incredible-looking movements out there, essentially a shrunk-down pocket watch calibre. The entire thing is made in-house (properly in-house, none of this third-party crap) and is a more historical take on modern watchmaking. It’s Montblanc flexing the horological chops that comes with their lauded Minerva manufacture.
This being a haute horology heritage throwback, it comes with a serious price tag of $36,000 – just under £28,900 – but given what’s on offer, i.e. one of the most beautiful watches of the year, that’s not too bad at all. It’s not exactly accessible, but then there are only 100 of these babies around anyway. Accessibility isn’t important here; excellence is.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100
Case/Dial: 44mm diameter x 14.55mm thickness, grade 5 titanium, deep blue grand feu enamel dial
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Calibre Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB M16.31, manual winding
Power reserve: 50h
Frequency: 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds; rattrapante chronograph with tachymeter and telemeter
Strap: Blue Sfumato alligator-skin strap from Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, Italy with Titanium pin buckle
Price: $36,000, available September 2020, limited edition of 100 pieces
More details at Montblanc’s website.