I recently toured the Montblanc manufacturing facilities in Le Locle and the famous Minerva manufacture in Villeret, all of which was very enjoyable and extremely impressive. The thing that really stood out to me was the Montblanc 500 Hour Test that the majority of Montblanc watches are obliged to undergo.

Obliged by whom?

Is this some sort of industry-mandated requirement?

No, it’s just something that Montblanc itself does.

Something done by no other brand in the industry.

Making it all the more impressive.

As Montblanc explains in its own press materials: “The ‘500-Hour Test’ for all manufacture watches from Montblanc Le Locle is an iron-clad guarantee for reliability, an accurate rate and longevity, i.e. the three principal criteria by which fine mechanical wristwatches are judged. Reliability is crucial so that one should always be able to rely on the proper functioning of one’s timepiece. Precision timekeeping is essential lest a faultily running wristwatch cause its owner to miss a connecting flight. And a long lifespan is important because exclusive watches are often purchased as investments with the character of collector’s items.”

Let’s take a closer look…

Montblanc

The 500-Hour Test is designed to simulate real life on the wrist of a customer. By subjecting each manufacture watch to a three-week-long test, Montblanc does its best to guarantee that no repairs or other maintenance will be necessary throughout the interval from the moment when the watch is purchased until its first routine servicing.

Unlike the COSC certification that only examines and certifies the movement, the Montblanc 500 hour test is performed on the watch after it has been put into the case. Montblanc decided to test complete watches because so much can happen to a movement and its function when it is encased, the dial inserted and the hands assembled. It is important to Montblanc to test the watch exactly as it is delivered to the customer.

It’s important to note that each and every manufacture watch goes through this test. Many manufactures test a percentage of their production, but Montblanc tests each and every watch.

Here are the tests the watches undergo:

Test No. 1—Winding Performance (duration: four hours): Checks the winding performance of the watch

Test No. 2—Accuracy Test (duration: 80 hours, in all positions): Monitors the precision of the watch in all positions

Test No. 3—Cyclotest (duration: 336 hours): Tests the overall functioning of the watch

Test No. 4—General Performance Test (duration: 80 hours): Tests the rate and the functions (e.g. pushers, chronograph elapsed time accuracy, perpetual calendar corrections, etc.) in all positions

Test No. 5—Watertightness (duration: two hours): Tests the water-resistance (air tightness, humidity test, submersion)

Montblanc
Montblanc
Montblanc

A watch is not released to be sold unless it has successfully passed each and every one of these tests. In this way, Montblanc can safely guarantee that their timepieces will function properly for the first three to five years of their “lives”–until the first regular service. This represents quite a commitment, as the test delays delivery by these three weeks (or more), adds expense and more work to Montblanc’s watchmakers.

“The 500 hour test is very important for the Maison because it shows our engagement to deliver very reliable and qualitative products,” says Davide Cerrato, the head of Montblanc’s watch division. “We simulate three weeks of real active life of our timepieces on the wrist of a client and guarantee that everything works perfectly before delivering the watch. The 500 hour test is the supporting evidence of the engagement of Montblanc with our customers. It’s indeed a very good application of what we mean when we say ‘Sharing passion for fine watchmaking’–passion and pleasure to wear come also as a consequence of reliability and mechanical precision of the watch especially when we speak of complicated watches. It is definitely a key component of the essence of fine watchmaking.”

The lengths that Montblanc goes to ensure the quality of their watches is really something special in today’s watchmaking world, and we at Revolution celebrate this.

Montblanc

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