THE MONTBLANC 1858 COLLECTION AND THE INTRODUCTION OF BRONZE
The Montblanc 1858 Collection can be seen as the vintage offer of the brand and a faithful tribute to the rich past of Minerva, the haute-horlogerie manufacture that Montblanc acquired a few years ago. During the 1930s and 1940s, Minerva was specialized in military and pilots’ chronographs, such as the one you can see below. The Montblanc 1858 Collection relies on historical design codes taken from the original 1930s Minerva chronograph, including large cathedral hands, with their cloisonné design filled with beige luminous paint, luminescent Arabic numerals, vintage shaped crowns and classic minute railway tracks that encircle the dials. Furthermore, this collection shows the return of Montblanc’s historical font and emblem (the Mont Blanc Mountain). Montblanc will only be producing 50 pieces of this very limited edition.
In terms of style and design, Davide Cerrato, the recently appointed Head of Watches for Montblanc fortunately only changed the materials and colors, staying true to the design already seen in the gold and steel versions. So we find back the same 44mm case –yes, that’s large, but it fits the concept of a military chronograph and its actually faithful to the vintage watch that was used as an inspiration (see photo below) – which is now manufactured in a bronze alloy. This metal is used for all the parts – central container, bezel, lugs, crown, but not the caseback, which is bronze-plated titanium (bronze ages and in contact with the skin, it’s not very healthy. Usually, bronze watches have a steel or titanium caseback). As said, the alloy used here has a relatively cold and light color, thus clearly differentiating from gold. This Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Bronze was almost unworn when photographed, so it was still very “bronzy” but it will change color, turning into a vintage green while worn.
The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Bronze is powered by the MB M16.29, which is a fully in-house manufactured column wheel movement designed to mimic the behavior of the 17.29 pocket chronograph movement, a Minerva-portfolio caliber which dates to the early 1930s. However, the modern M16.29 is similar only in actuating behavior to its inspiration – the movement is home to some otherwise extensive modifications which contribute to the back of the watch being the real star of the show