I think I am in love, again. There isn’t much “new” in this new watch from Montblanc’s Villeret location manufacture – but it is a beautiful thing. This is going to be a top-of-the-line dream watch for many. Totally hand-made movement, world-class finishing and the romantic Minerva spirit that Montblanc was lucky enough to acquire. Checking it out for myself I can confirm it is a lovely piece -though intentionally made for smaller wrists.
The watch is the new for 2011 Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe. Using the existing in-house calibre MB13-21 manually wound column wheel chronograph movement with 60 hours of power reserve. The movement is product of generations of knowledge – so to say it is an existing design might be a good thing. Like I said, the guys (and girls) at Villeret sure know how to make this movement pretty. It is a monopusher style chronograph movement – so note the single pusher above the crown.
Available in 18k red or white gold, the watch has two available dials. My favorite is the above red gold and black with the red accent, but there is also a white dial to match the white gold case. The dial is gorgeous being pristine in detail and done in grand feu enamel. The indicators on the dial are fantastic and very functional. This timepiece design does not mess around trying to be a “mere luxury item.” It is a high-end chronograph built with a vintage flavor in mind. The irony is that pulsometer (or pulsographe) watches started as relatively utilitarian items – helping medics on the battlefield take the pulse of soldiers. The watches then became popular for doctors and nurses. The chronograph scale is modified to tell the pulse based on starting the chronograph counting (in this case 30) heart beats, and then stopping the chronograph to read the pulse rate.
Only well-to-do doctors who didn’t get their hands dirty much would have invested in solid gold watches of this style. So perhaps today this will be an ultimate status symbol for the medical professional who has it all. One issue I personally have with the watch is the size. While at 39mm wide, it isn’t tiny, it is the smallest Villeret collection chronograph Montblanc has made. They justify this in their words, and make the target demographic really clear by saying, “the 39 mm case will no doubt also appeal to ladies and to Asian gents, whose wrists are often slimmer than those of Western men.” That is the first time I have seen a brand just go out and say it. Way to go Montblanc for not beating around the bush.
Other Montblanc Villeret collection chronographs can be much larger, with sizes going up past 45mm I think. Shame that the Vintage Pulsograph isn’t offered in a larger size as it is such a gorgeous timepieces design-wise. Plus, the functional design and proportions on the dial are perfect. Don’t forget that for these high-end pieces, Montblanc uses a mother-of-pearl Montblanc star in the crown. The watches will be matched to alligator straps – and will be limited editions. 58 pieces in 18k red gold, and 58 pieces in 18k white gold.