For 2014, German/Swiss watchmaker (honestly they ride both lines) Montblanc is equipped with a new CEO who happens to be Jerome Lambert. He arrives after spending a good long time up in the Swiss mountains with one of our favorite brands - Jaeger-LeCoultre. After captaining Jaeger-LeCoultre into the perpetual center of our horological attention he is engaged on a new and very different journey at Montblanc. Nevertheless, with new and interesting products like the Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar watch in a brand new product family, we begin to see a lot of what Lambert is good at coming out at Montblanc very early into his tenure.
At first I didn't think this new Meisterstuck Heritage collection had anything to do with Mr. Lambert. The reason is that new products take a few years to materialize. So I expected to see Lambert-directed new products in 2-3 years from now. Regardless, Montblanc assured me that this is a brand new collection that Mr. Lambert is responsible for, and despite the complicated movement and beautiful presentation, this timepiece isn't even the star of the Meisterstuck Heritage collection - but that is also a story for another article. I don't want that to make this piece not sound important, because in many ways it is the most important new watch Montblanc has released. It is not only very beautiful, but a sign of exactly where the brand is headed over the next few years - a refined look that upgrades the overall feel of Montblanc with an emphasis on more accessible haute horology.
So what is the Meisterstuck Heritage collection? Quite simply it is a focus on what elements to incorporate into a Montblanc watch to tie it in with its heritage as a writing instrument maker. "Meisterstuck" is the name of the brand's famous and historic pen collection. It has been applied to watches before, but the Meisterstuck Heritage collection is a new family of watches with a look that... well a look that honestly looks a lot like a baby Jaeger-LeCoultre. Now there is nothing at all wrong with that, and it makes sense given Lambert's history. It also means that in a sense that is his vision for at least a lot of what Montblanc should offer - at least in the mid-range. The complicated part is that Montblanc still offers both entry-level and very high-end items from their Villeret collection. A timepiece like the Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar - given its theme and movement - creates a brand new niche for itself in the brand.
At 39mm wide the Perpetual Calendar is only about 10mm thick. That is pretty good given that the movement is a base with a module. Monblanc will offer the Perpetual Calendar both in steel and 18k rose gold. The real value of course is in the steel case with the rose gold hands and hour market appliques. It will be a Perpetual Calendar - a nice one at that - for a price that most people have never seen before.