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Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At SIHH 2016, Montblanc introduced its new “1858” collection of watches which not only have a new logo (separate from other Montblanc products) but also contain two limited models known as the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition pieces that come in either steel or red gold, each in a set of 100 pieces. I found this collection interesting and am happy to show you the good looks of the blue-dialed steel model. The collection isn’t without its quirks, but it shows just how fragmented and interesting Montblanc’s watch family has now become as they keep adding additional “watch personalities” to their product line-up. aBlogtoWatch originally debuted the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition watches along with the more simple Small Second variants here.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Some context for those who aren’t familiar with the various tiers of Montblanc watches is necessary here. Several years ago, the Richemont Group purchased a historic and collector-loved Swiss watch brand called Minerva located in the town of Villeret. This is the same town as where Blancpain’s haute horology manufacture is located. Montblanc incorporated the Minerva manufacture into its brand and used the location to produce its more high-end and complicated watches. Check out, for example, this hands-on article with the Montblanc Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Chronographe watch here.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Montblanc seemingly changed its approach to how to market and communicate about the “Montblanc Villeret 1858” watches a few times over the years, and I still don’t think they have found the perfect groove. The movements are lovely, but from a branding, pricing, and design perspective, you can see them struggling a bit when it comes to having everything make perfect sense to the consumer – especially when it comes to all the fierce competition out there. So what you have here for 2016 is perhaps a new marketing and branding strategy for at least some of the watches to come out of the Montblanc Villeret “Minerva” factory in Switzerland.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Nevertheless, as if to make things more complicated, this new Montblanc 1858 collection of vintage-style pilot-themed watches isn’t “all Minerva.” Only the two limited edition Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter models use calibre MB 16.29 Villeret-made movements while the time-only Montblanc 1858 Manual Small Second watches (not all limited) use the Montblanc calibre MB 23.03 which is a base Swiss ETA Unitas 6498. It is a movement which, I might add, is on an entirely different plane than the much more interesting and high-end MB 16.29. Thus, despite good efforts, I am afraid that Montblanc hasn’t made things more simple for consumers when it comes to understanding the relative relationships between Montblanc products and how they stack up against one another. Instead, the changes do make things a bit different, but it still takes a lot of research and education to summarize what products are the most appealing for dedicated watch enthusiasts.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

From a design perspective, Montblanc points to 1930s-era Minerva pilot chronograph watches as the inspiration for the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition watches. I’ve included two pictures of such vintage 1930s models below, and you can see that these modern Montblanc watches do indeed recall the look and feel the more historic Minerva models. One thing that Montblanc could have done but didn’t, for some reason, is replicate the look and feel of the cursive text logo.

Not that they needed to per se, but as you can see, the 1858 collection of watches now bears a brand new Montblanc logo. I don’t think for a minute that this logo is a replacement for the much stronger (in my opinion) current Montblanc corporate logo, but it is rather there to differentiate a particular collection of models. Where this collection will go is still to be seen. In my opinion, the most logical thing to have done would have been to make a Montblanc logo using a similar cursive-style as the traditional Minerva logo that collectors are familiar with.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Instead, Montblanc went with a logo that separates Mont (“mountain”) and Blanc (“white”) and adds a little graphic of the mountain between the words. The letters use a rather basic sans-serif font in a slight italicized “lean.” They seem quite ordinary but not actually vintage in style. The logo frankly seems amateur and doesn’t resemble either the traditional Montblanc logo or that of Minerva. I appreciate the boldness to create something new – truly I do – but I just don’t understand the logic here. With that said, I don’t think this watch is the type of timepiece you invest in because of the logo, and by themselves, the case, movement, and overall design have merit.

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Comments

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  • I think the mountain logo looks more like white flames. Perhaps a snow cap (all white) would have reinforced the “white mountain” notion.

    Nice looking chronograph (but I think the Minvera originals have more charm) but I wonder if the mono-pusher will dig into your wrist.

    On one hand, the price difference between steel and gold seem surprisingly reasonable (under $7K USD). But then the “base” steel reference is far from being cheap. And you’d think they could have done 50 m of water resistance (not that you are likely to go swimming with this watch and strap).

  • A_watches

    Nice looking movement, but dial looks slightly flat (the same applies to a number of montblanc watches I have seen) and as Ariel mentioned, the white mountain looks somewhat amateurish (slightly like a white turd, sorry!). I actually quite like how the 2,4,8,10 curves around the sub dials. Overall, I’m not sure who would pull the trigger on this one given the many many other watches this sort of money can buy. Wish montblanc would lower their pricing structure to reflect the fact that there are still a relative newbie to the segment of luxury watches, no matter how much history they try and buy.

    • Sometimes it looks like they just try to price themselves a bit below sister company JLC (in which cases the prices seem pretty good). But I totally agree on this one – lots of competition in this price range. Cheers.

  • Aditya

    The pricing makes this watch seem wonky. The finishing, especially of the movement, while not bad, isn’t what I’d respect or expect at this price.

  • iamcalledryan

    Looks gorgeous. The logo does not do it for me. It is genuine in the sense that it adorned pens in the 30’s and I get that they don’t want to run Minerva like a sub brand but I think I would still have preferred the modern logo. Overall this is a very well executed and attractive chrono however.

    • iamcalledryan

      Here’s the logo.

      • Ariel Adams

        There it is!

    • cluedog12

      At first I thought Ariel had a hot take on the logo. The press release for the watch indicated a very old Montblanc logo was used, but I hadn’t personally verified it. So I Googled “old montblanc logo” and the picture below popped up. Visiting the source, the same post included some old Montblanc ad copy, showing the use of this exact logo.

      The “fake” amateur logo happens to be the original Montblanc logo.

      That’s the difference between a hot take and a face-palm error. It happens, but the review should be amended.

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    I do not find the logo as disturbing as Ariel and some, and it kind of works for a vintage inspired watch. The price of the steel version seems to a bit over what it supposed to be – especially considering how MB are introducing a number of very competitively priced complications in other watches.

  • I_G

    ‘1948’ would be a better match for the style.

  • “…the dial bears a tachymeter scale which adds
    style, but realistically offers zero functionality as I have yet to meet
    anyone who ever uses these in tandem with a chronograph”

    How else would you use a tachymeter on a watch with a fixed bezel? I haven’t met anyone from JPL that uses his moonphase watch to calculate launch windows, but that doesn’t mean it has zero functionality.

    • JimBob

      Yeah, since that doesn’t make sense I chose to interpret his statement this way: that he’s never met anyone who uses the tachymeter scale.

  • BNABOD

    Sublime movement, horrid logo shame it really distract from the beauty of the piece.
    I just like the Longines mono pusher better in the looks department for a fraction of the cost

    • srs144

      That Longines is a good looking watch. I would argue the 2 watches are priced the same — this movement is finished 10x better and worth 10x more and most of the cost of the watch is the movement anyway. To compare the Longines as a package (forget looks, but as a whole) to this, would be like me comparing this MB to the Datograph

      • BNABOD

        which is why I said LOOKS only 🙂

        • egznyc

          I say I entirely agree. But unlike some precious metal markups nearly doubling the steel price, this one is just a little more than 25% more. Oh wait: that’s because they charge way too much for the steel version. And while I like better finishing as much as anyone, the extra pricing just isn’t worth the additional attention the movement received – to me.

    • A_watches

      i was also tempted to compare this to the longines monopusher which is good value…but they are about one league apart in almost all departments, although shouldn’t be 10 leagues apart between prices!

  • SuperStrapper

    I like it, and I also like this logo. Not for all of their stuff, but it works for this watch. The monopusher element is a deal breaker for me though, I’m just not a fan. It is a perfect homage to the original watch, but that doesn’t make me like it any better. Do not want.

  • benjameshodges

    For a skunkworks team, with a blank cheque, creative freedom and no timeframe, they sure produce some average-looking watches.

  • Those vintage Minerva look really good actually.

  • sakibahsan

    I think the logo isn’t new, rather it’s an old logo used by Montblanc in earlier years. But yeah, it looks juvenile. Montblanc needs to review their prices. Also, Mr Ariel is correct. They need to streamline their products and decide what market segment they want to cater to in order to avoid the Seiko/Grand Seiko paradox.

  • cluedog12

    The stainless steel version of this watch will become a collectable, perhaps the gold version too. There are about 3-4 collectors on another well-known site who have pre-ordered the stainless steel version. For a release of 100, that is a significant result.

    Another watch to keep an eye on in the resale market.

  • hatster

    …might be sounding like a broken record, but while I like it, I don’t like it at that price.

  • JimBob

    Oooh. So limited.

  • spiceballs

    Agee with Ariel’s comments, and unattractive dial to me, but lovely movement and first “onion” crown I can appreciate.

  • I would figuratively give my left arm for this beauty. Not that my arm is worth that kind of money . I’ll wait till the thing is at 90 percent off at jabong watches.

  • Aakash Singh

    watches are the asset of men which also adds to their personality and style statement. now you can have costly watches in your closets by buying them from jabong and applying the coupons too.

  • Rak kumar

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  • This is really cool, For sure I’m gonna present this watch to my Dad.

  • I love the watch model in the featured image of the article. The size, numbers font and the color combination is great.

  • Nice informative

  • Oh!!! That is one fascinating watch. The dial is extremely stylish and the belt is classy. The detailing and finesse are just fabulous….adding it to my wishlist for sure….hope some1 gifts it to me some day!!! 😉

  • abdul razique
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  • Tattoosphere

    that is really a nice collection of wrist watches.
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  • fonsi

    basic sans-serif font in a slight italicized “lean. splixio.online

  • maduh

    Nice collection. Hope to see more such things.

    Madhu

  • Mahesh Rathod

    hello ,
    Nice Article , very helpful information ,
    thanks for the Share with us

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