Whatever would Swiss watch brands do without their cellarful of archives for guidance and inspiration? So many new collections produced in the modern era are tributes to watches made in the heyday of the 50s, and with a collection named Montblanc Heritage, you just know this new collection from Montblanc is going to be looking backward more than forwards. That said, the 50’s certainly witnessed some of the most exquisitely elegant watches ever to grace men’s wrists, so it’s hardly surprising that Montblanc, among the more traditional and conservative Swiss brands, looks back longingly to their vintage pieces time and again.
These new additions to the Heritage collection take their inspiration from the Minerva classic watches of the 1940s and 50s which Montblanc describes as a neo-dandy style. There are 3 new pieces, one of them a limited edition. Neo-dandies we are told, are attentive to every minor detail of their attire, from the feel of a fabric to the cut of a jacket, to the careful coordination of colors so as to arrive at the perfect ensemble. (That’s great, but let’s see what 3 months of government-enforced socially isolating Coronavirus lockdown does for their fashion sense. It’ll be tee shirts and sweat pants just like everyone else.)
Back to the Heritage collection and the new models, water-resistant to a splash-proof 50 meters, come in highly polished 40 mm and 42 mm cases, featuring delicately curved horns and fitted with domed shape sapphire crystal. The choice of dials come in a rich lacquer coated 50’s color palette of salmon, tobacco-brown, and the vintage favorite, British-racing-green. The curved Dauphine hands are treated with modern-day SuperLuminova with a mix of Arabic numerals and dots for hour markers.
The Sfumato straps, (a painting technique employed for softening the transition between colors), are made of alligator straps which come in British-racing-green, grey, and tobacco-brown. Here are details of the 3 new Heritage watches.
Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 pieces
The Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100, is also known as a ‘doctor’s watch’ and such a watch was often presented by proud parents to a newly qualified doctor to be used throughout his career. Back in the day, when you could actually get to see a doctor, the doctor would check a patient’s pulse by means of the pulsograph complication. Today you might use a Fitbit digital pulse monitor but you’re always left wondering how accurate it really is. The watch comes in a 40mm 18 K rose gold case with warm tones of smoked tobacco-brown on a matching Sfumato alligator strap.
This model was last revisited by Montblanc in 2014 and again in 2019 but in steel. Visible through the caseback is the elaborate Montblanc Manufacture monopusher chronograph Calibre MB M13.21, a high-end column wheel movement with a 55-hour power reserve and a latter-day frequency of 18,000 A/H. complete with rose gold-coated plate and bridges.
The domed smoked lacquered gradient dial features a “grainé” hour ring. Grainé means ‘seed’ in French and if you look closely at the hour ring it is indeed as if it has been painstakingly seeded. US$33,000.
Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph
This is a non-limited chronograph in sensible polished stainless steel with a salmon-colored dial. Placed somewhere between a dress watch and a sports watch, the 42mm Heritage Monopusher has Minerva savoir-faire, with Minerva Manufacture embossing on the case back, but comes without the costly Minerva movement, instead featuring a caliber MB 25.12, which is based on the Sellita SW510. The grainé dial has black rhodium-coated Arabic numerals and dots for indexes. It’s matched with black rhodium-coated luminescent dauphine hands for the hours and minutes, and contrasting blued steel baton hands for the seconds and the chronograph indications. Note the extended markers on the minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock. They are intended to mark 3, 6 and 9 minutes. Back in the days of coin-operated phones, you could use this feature to time the length of a phone call. The watch comes on a matching grey Sfumato alligator strap. US$4,950.
Montblanc Heritage Automatic
Lacquered British Racing Green meets lustrous 18 K yellow gold, a classic color combination mounted on a matching Sfumato alligator strap for this 40mm three-hander automatic.
The green, with the same grainé effect for the hour ring, and the sunray gradient dial, which changes color depending on the light, is enhanced by yellow gold details for the numerals and indices. The 40 mm case is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal. The watch is powered by Calibre MB 24.27, a Sellita SW300 base automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve. US$8,900.
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