Formulating a design language for a nascent watch collection can be a difficult challenge. Refining an existing one is far more complex. But that’s what Davide Cerrato, the managing director of Montblanc’s watch division, has spent the last four years doing, and it feels like he’s finally completed the first part, and all of Montblanc’s timepieces have experienced a facelift of sorts.
Apart from the re-organizing of the watch lines, he’s also given each collection some distinct identity, much of which has tied back to the Minerva manufacture that the company acquired in 2006.
For better part of the last decade, Minerva existed mostly as a rarity and elevated offering from Montblanc, primarily because of the limitation in production of movements from the Villeret manufacture.
But since Cerrato’s appointment, he’s made sure not only to capitalize on the manufacture’s production capacities, expanding it steadily, but also on its historical significance. Minerva was known for its highly precise and refined watchmaking, often seen in racing timepieces. The gentleman has adopted that theme and played up its significance through each collection. The latest to experience this revival is the Heritage collection.
Four is the Magic Number
According to CEO Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc’s watch range today is centered across four categories: Sport and Classic, Contemporary and Vintage, a combination which makes lots of sense to us. The vintage classic timepieces constitute the Heritage collection, with designs that should be clear from their earlier description.
The latest to emerge from this is a particularly impressive watch, the Heritage Small Seconds Limited Edition 38, featuring a Minerva movement that’s fully worthy of the manufacture’s reputation — the MB62.00 Minerva calibre.
This movement is an original Minerva development, and had previously been used in the Collection Villeret 1858 before, back when the brand still set a clear distinction between its Le Locle and Villeret timepieces.
The Villeret Seconde Authentique and Villeret Seconde Authentique Diamonds came in two versions — a limited edition couple’s watch with a limitation of 58 pieces, and a gemset reference for ladies with a mother-of-pearl dial. Since then, the brand has uncovered a box of 38 movements, which they have housed in the new Heritage Small Seconds.
The movement itself is fantastic to behold: 162 components running at a leisurely 18,000 vph with a power reserve of 50 hours in a highly compact design. Despite that, it still offers the same massive balance that is a Minerva icon, with a solid mass ratio that ensures the movement is highly resilient to shock input.
Like all of the Villeret movements, they are paired with an in-house produced hairspring, with a Phillips terminal curve, and individually matched with the balance wheel best suited to deliver ideal isochronic performance.
Since the watch is limited by the number of movements available, this is thoroughly worth snapping up, in addition because the watch is double signed, with the MB62.00 calibre on the dial and the Minerva manufacture indicated on the bridge of the centre wheel on the back of the movement. We certainly hope more creations like this will be produced in the future.
Manual-winding Minerva MB 62.00 calibre; hours, minutes and small seconds50-hour power reserve
39mm in stainless steel; two-toned salmon-colored lacquer dial; case back engraved with “Historical Minerva Movement”; water-resistant to 50m
Grey Sfumato alligator leather strap with stainless steel triple folding clasp