At the 2017 SIHH, Montblanc surprised everyone by introducing its new TimeWalker collection. The brand has been revisiting some of its iconic lines lately, including a fresh look for the 1858 Collection, and the rebirth of TimeWalker collection is a part of it. Montblanc has never had a direct connection with the world of racing, but Minerva that Montblanc acquired some time back does. In fact, Minerva was famous as one of the leading specialists in professional watches for measuring small intervals of time with utmost precision. The renowned “Rally Timer”, a stopwatch that was created to time motor racing with precision, beautifully showcases its rich heritage and legacy in the motorsports world. The new Montblanc TimeWalker collection combines the spirit of motor racing from Minerva’s legendary timing instruments of the past with classic simple-to-understand style and functionality. The vintage-themed TimeWalker collection can be segmented into three basic models. Two of the models have two dial options (silver or black) on a strap or steel metal bracelets.
TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18
One thousandth of a second is an incredibly short unit of time; however, it might make all the difference in a race. Car racers strive for faster lap times by pushing the limits of themselves as well as their machines. In the same way, Montblanc has endlessly endeavoured to innovate and push the boundaries of fine watchmaking. In 1916, the Minerva Manufacture developed its iconic 1/100th of a second stopwatch, which was further technically improved in 1936, this put Minerva on the map as the specialist of professional watches and stopwatches. Montblanc has pushed the innovation even further with a new timepiece offering ten-fold precision: a chronograph precise to 1/1000th of a second.
The TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 is a marvelously complex watch. The movement of the watch has two separately functioning parts: one dedicated to timekeeping and a dedicated chronograph mechanism. Its high-frequency movement boasts two patents and 22 auxiliary patents combining performance and innovation like never before. Similar to the rest of the new TimeWalker collection by Montblanc, the Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 was designed in-line with vintage motor racing styles. The chronograph power reserve indicator is inspired by old fuel gauges, while the black and red details and the 1/1000th of a second indication are reminiscent of early dashboards. Knurled crowns and bezels evoke vintage petrol tank caps, and red holes in the black alligator strap are typical of the driving gloves that were so popular with gentlemen racers. The balance wheel is inspired by the performance of racing cars and a monopusher chronograph mirrors the Minerva stopwatches that were used for timing car races.
The timepiece is equipped with Montblanc’s Manufacture Calibre MB M66.26. This manually wound monopusher chronograph is decorated to the finest standards of Swiss watchmaking that include Côtes de Genève, circular graining, hand chamfering and burnishing. It comes with a light yet robust 46.4 mm case which is made of satinated titanium with black DLC coating. TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 marks a new chapter in Montblanc’s history. Only 18 TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 watches will be made with each priced at 175,000 euros (approx. $187,000).
TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100
The first of the three models is the new TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100. It is inspired and based on the famous Rally Timer stopwatch which was produced by Minerva Villeret for recording road racing. The reinterpretation of the historical rally timer shares the same dimensions as its predecessor, the satinated titanium case with knurled finishing and DLC coating on the flank boasts an unusually large diameter of 50 mm. The versatile timepiece can be used in different ways, as it can also be changed from a wristwatch into a pocket watch or a dashboard clock.
The wristwatch comes with a beautiful black leather calf strap, but can be easily converted into a pocket watch or a dashboard clock by folding the strap attachments under the case and turning the case from 0 to 180 degrees. Similar to the original Minerva Rally Timer, the chronograph’s 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock is vertically aligned with the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. As with all the Minerva calibres, one of the movement’s components is shaped into the form of the Minerva arrow to pay tribute to the Manufacturer’s heritage. The manually-wound monopusher chronograph Manufacture calibre MB M16.29 features a column wheel, horizontal coupling and a power reserve of 50 hours. The calibre was inspired by the original Minerva calibre MB 17.29 from the 1930s. The new version is instantly recognisable thanks to its beautiful hand-crafted finishing — Côtes de Genève stripes, inner angles, circular graining and bevelling. The timepiece is water-resistant to 30 metres and has been rigorously tested by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, simulating intense real-life wear for over 500 hours. Just 100 pieces will be made in titanium with a retail of about 37,000 Euro (approx. $40,000)
TimeWalker Chronograph UTC
The highlight of the new TimeWalker collection is the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC reference 116101. The all-black DLC-coated steel 43mm case as well as the movement which is a base 7750 matic with a GMT (UTC) hand makes this model distinct. The black DLC crown and pushers are finished with a knurled decoration that takes its inspiration from the design of the petrol caps popular in classic racing cars. Silver and red elements contrast with three-dimensional counters on the black dial. The chronograph seconds are indicated via the iconic red central hand with the tip shaped in the form of the Minerva arrow, while the chronograph hours are displayed in a subdial at 6 o’clock, and the 30-minute chronograph counter is positioned at 12 o’clock.
The timepiece is equipped with the calibre MB.25.03 that shows the time in three different time zones. The movement can be seen through a smoked sapphire crystal on the back of the case. the watch displays local time through the rhodium-plated hands, while home time is shown by a dark central hand enhanced with a red arrow with a SuperLuminova tip. The date is synchronized with the local time. A third time zone can be indicated at any time by turning the unidirectional rotating bezel to the new time zone, with the location of the 24-hour hand as the point of reference. Readings are accompanied by a 24-hour scale on the bezel.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC comes with a choice of a perforated leather strap or a perforated rubber strap with a black lining that shows through the holes. The rubber strap has been designed with a raised grip pattern on the inner lining to provide better aeration to the skin and improved adhesion to the wrist. All strap options are equipped with a new triple folding clasp that was developed specially for the Montblanc TimeWalker Collection to offer flexibility and maximum comfort on the wrist. It’s the most affordable timepiece in the collection with a price-tag of 4990 Euro (approx. $5335).
The TimeWalker collection is a celebration of automobiles, driving, and the spirit of racing and with its introduction the brand has set off into a new direction. The current TimeWalker collection is great, but there is a possibility that it might be discontinued to make way for this newly introduced family. Nevertheless, Montblanc has impressed the industry again by achieving a feat of horological engineering with its Chronograph 1000 timepiece and even the rest of the models in the collection perfectly showcases how the brand is constantly innovating and bringing a contemporary touch to the classics.