When current CEO of the Richemont, Jérôme Lambert, was appointed head of Montblanc in 2013, there was no doubt that the group was taking the brand’s watch production seriously. After 11 years at the helm of Jaeger-LeCoultre and two as Chief Executive of A. Lange & Sohne, Lambert’s watch credentials were second to none and his move to Montblanc was seen as a purposeful attempt to turn the maison’s watchmaking division into one to be reckoned with.
Concentrating on paring back the number of timepieces on offer, subsequent years have aimed to strengthen the core families within the range. And, with the following recruitment of current MD of the Watchmaking Division, Davide Cerrato, in 2015, things have gone from strength to strength with each incarnation of the core collections setting new standards for Montblanc.
When the refreshed TimeWalker collection was introduced in 2016, it was with an emphasis on contemporary motorsport. Cerrato saw a need for a story to unite all the watches within the collection, from the accessibly priced to the high-end, and he found his inspiration in motorsport. With a starting point of Minerva – the brand acquired by Richemont in 2006 and now the centre of movement research and manufacture for Montblanc – and its archive of chronographs, stopwatches and timing instruments, Cerrato determined to reinvent the sporty TimeWalker as a young sporty collection using the mission statement “Instruments of Glory”.
Following the success of the past two years, 2019 will see two new TimeWalker Automatic Chronographs with retro, sporty-looking, black-and-white, reverse panda dials. A 41mm version features twin sub-dials at 6 and 12 o’clock, while the 43mm model has three sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Super-LumiNova on the indexes and minute track aid easy reading, plus a tachymeter scale on the bezel. Like every TimeWalker, these new chronographs have undergone the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 which mimics real-life wear-and-tear on an assembled watch for 500 hours.
The Star Legacy
If the TimeWalker range provides perfect, robust, everyday timepieces, the Star Legacy collection, which is even more closely linked to the heritage of Minerva, is the epitome of reliability combined with style and sophistication. At the heart of the range, is the new Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, which is an exercise in the contemporary execution of classic signatures such as the generous pebble-shaped case, stepped lugs and onion-shaped crown, while the traditional guilloché dial has received a modern twist thanks to the exploding star motif, which is emblematic of Montblanc.
A tribute to the inventor of the chronograph, Nicolas Rieussec, the watch was previously available in steel with a silvery-white dial. 2019 will see two new versions released – one in stainless steel, the other in red gold, both with an anthracite dial and anthracite sfumato alligator-leather strap made at the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence.
An offset domed dial at the 12 o’clock position gives the hours and minutes via leaf-shaped hands and Arabic numerals, as well as providing a second time-zone and a day/night indicator. A date window takes position at 6 o’clock. In typical Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec style, there are 60-elapsed-second and 30-elapsed-minute counters at 4 and 8 o’clock on two rotating sub-dials with fixed hands.
Beating within the 44.8mm case, which is water-resistant to 30m, is the self-winding, in-house Calibre MB R200 monopusher chronograph movement with column-wheel mechanism. Twin barrels guarantee 72 hours of power reserve and the second timezone features a rapid reset function allowing the hour-hand and date display to be moved forward or backward. As a guarantee of reliability, the watch has undergone the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.
Also new to the Star Legacy range for next year will be two stainless-steel Automatic Date models – one in a 39mm case, one in a 42mm case. Both feature the Montblanc exploding star guilloché pattern, leaf-shaped hands and a railway track around the edge of the dial. Powered by the Calibre MB 24.01 the watches give hours, minutes and centre seconds plus a date at 6 o’clock. Finally, there will be a 42mm Full Calendar model powered by the Calibre MB 29.12, providing hours, minutes, seconds, day, date, month and moonphase.