SIHH 2018 The Montblanc 1858 Collection
Inspired by the legendary professional Minerva watches from the 1920s and 30s that were meant for military use and mountain exploration, the 1858 collection pays tribute to the 160 years of the Minerva Manufacture and its extraordinary heritage. These watches were highly accurate, legible and robust for use in extreme conditions and are the inspiration behind this new collection which is being enriched with new vintage exploration-inspired timepieces, featuring distinctive aesthetics, innovative complications, a mix of materials and a choice of different case sizes.
The collection will be composed of five different designs: 40 mm automatic watches (more information and the price here) and 42 mm chronographs (more information and prices here) , a 42 mm Manufacture Worldtime Geosphere (more information and prices here), a slender 40 mm wristwatch with a 13-line monopusher chronograph movement (more information and the price here), and a new multiple-purpose pocket watch with a 24-hour indication and equipped with a 16-line monopusher chronograph movement.
Minerva - 160 years of fine watchmaking heritage
Montblanc Villeret’s watchmaking tradition began in 1858 when Charles-Yvan Robert founded a watch workshop in the Saint-Imier valley.
The Manufacture progressively gained international recognition for its precision timepieces, becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches. Minerva produced a number of movements equipped with chronograph functions such as the legendary calibre 19.09 (19 lines / launched in 1909), featuring the recognizable V-Chrono shaped bridge.
Several patents for precision timers were filed during this period, attesting to the Manufacture's innovative spirit.
In the 1920s, Minerva invented one of the first manually wound monopusher chronographs specially developed for wristwatches, marking a new chapter in the Manufacture's history. This was possible thanks to the smaller size of the movement, the calibre 13.20 (13 lines / launched in 1920), featuring the iconic V-shape bridge – whose design was protected in 1912 – a column wheel, an horizontal coupling and a traditional frequency of 18,000 A/h. In addition to the calibre 13.20, the calibre 17.29 was produced during the 1930s and was one of the slimmest monopusher chronographs of the time, measuring a mere 5.6 mm in height.
These developments symbolize the level of mastery and innovation reached by Minerva over the years and consolidate its reputation in the manufacture of monopusher chronographs with various case sizes and complications.
Upholding the extraordinary Minerva legacy and paying tribute to 160 years of fine watchmaking history, these horological achievements have become the inspiration for the development of the new Montblanc 1858 timepieces.
The Spirit of Mountain Exploration
The Montblanc 1858 collection finds its inspiration in the world of mountain exploration. Reinterpreting the Minerva pocket watches and chronographs from the 1920s and 1930s, the new Montblanc 1858 timepieces capture the spirit of the past in a modern way, expressing the trend of back to nature and adventure. Combining materials such as a special alloy of bronze that evolves over time with innovative and useful in-house complications, like the Worldtime Geosphere, these timepieces are designed for the modern-day explorer who likes to set his own challenges. He is someone who likes to express his own personal style, lives an authentic way of life, loves adventure, and finds harmony with nature that allows him to reach new heights.
The vintage codes are directly rooted in the spirit of mountain exploration with distinctive designs that are reminiscent of the original Minerva chronographs.
The satin-finished cases have been slightly reworked with horns that have been slimmed down thanks to polished, beveled edges that underline their shape. Other details include fluted crowns that recall those on period timepieces and domed sapphire crystal glass boxes, increasing the robustness and the look of each watch.
For utmost legibility and design, the dials feature striking colour contrasts with their historical luminescent cathedral-shaped hands with “cloisonné” design that have been slightly domed for the finest finish, Arabic numerals coated with SuperLumiNova, railway minute tracks and the original Montblanc logo from the 1930s era with its historical font and emblem of the Mont Blanc Mountain.
Each timepiece is unique thanks to the use of living materials such as bronze cases and aged calfskin leather straps. Very few companies have the knowledge and skills to source the best skins from tanneries and transform them into the finest quality leather straps like the Montblanc Pelletteria, the Maison’s centre of leather excellence where ancestral craftsmanship, state of the art technology and enduring design come together. This expertise allows it to develop a distinctive range of vintage straps, such as Bund strap, that match the aesthetical codes of the Montblanc 1858 collection.
Providing a contemporary look, the watches are also available with high-quality woven “NATO” straps. These straps are handcrafted in France at a traditional weaving manufacture that has been in production for over 150 years. Thanks to this artisanal know-how, the “NATO” straps are refined, robust, durable and extremely comfortable on the wrist.
In order to guarantee the performance of the product line, all the Montblanc 1858 models undergo over 500 hours of simulated wear, with specific testing and controls under extreme conditions. The Automatic, Chronographs and Geosphere models are also water-resistant to 100 meters, ensuring performance in all environments.
For more visit Montblanc Online.