Today, Montblanc unveiled six models in its new Heritage collection. While the four non-limited models are definitely interesting, I found the real stars of the show to be these two limited-edition models. These are the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar and the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph – two ultra limited models featuring in-house movements developed and inspired by Montblanc’s Villeret Manufacture previously called Minerva.
Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar
First of the limited editions is the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar, an all-new model utilizing a new movement, which I’ll get to in a second. The case will come in two options: a stainless steel non-limited edition and the red gold model pictured here. It measures in at 40mm and it looks reasonably thin as well – though the thickness is not disclosed. The dial is clean, but it’s going to be difficult talking about the layout without discussing the movement, so I’ll start with that. A perpetual calendar, theoretically, only has to be set once because it can account for irregularities in days for each month and also for leap years. Montblanc hasn’t reinvented the complication, but the fully in-house-developed and -manufactured MB 29.22 movement has some interesting technical features that, according to the brand, took three years to create.
First is that rather than the lever system that most perpetual calendars use, the movement uses only wheels. This very conveniently allows the wearer to adjust most of the settings in either direction. “But you only have to set it once, Travis, why’s that important?” While this is true, provided it is worn often and kept wound, any simplification in the complex task of setting a perpetual calendar is welcome. The other technical highlight is a “lock” that doesn’t allow manual adjustments of other indicators when the time is set between 8pm and 12pm, as movements can be damaged by manipulation during these times. Perhaps neither of these features are the kind that lends a lot of dazzle to a sales pitch, but they are the kind of quiet attention to detail that watch lovers tend to appreciate and that indicate a quality movement. The self-winding MB 29.22 beats at 4Hz, contains a whopping 77 jewels and features a 48-hour power reserve.
Dial side, there is a lot going on in a well laid-out package. First, the watch indicates the hours, minutes, day, date, month, moon-phase, leap year, dual time function, and 24-hour indicator. That’s a lot of information, and surprisingly, none seems to get lost. This is accomplished by a “dial-within-dial” method in a 3, 6, 9 o’clock layout, that so often gets convoluted and messy, but remains clean and concise here. Further, I really like the contrast of the white dial with alternating sandblasted “rings” for the railway hour indicators. The watch is simply a classic look that’s pulled off well.
The watch is water-resistant to 50m and comes standard on a brown leather strap for the limited edition red gold model, or black leather for the stainless steel. While the press release doesn’t say so, this is probably their more recently popular Sfumato leather from their Florence-based Pelletteria, which I am a big fan of. Price for the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar is a 15,000 € in stainless steel, while the 100-piece limited edition red gold model (my favorite of the two) will come in at 25,000 €.
Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph
Of all of the recent Montblanc Heritage watches we’ve seen this week, my favorite by far is the Manufacture Pulsograph. Would I use it regularly? Probably not. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the most attractive watches in recent Montblanc memory. It is a Pulsograph because it has a pulsometer in place of where many chronographs have, for example, a tachymeter. A chronograph’s pulsometer is a scale for using the chronograph seconds hand to measure heart rates… the old-fashioned way. Are there far cheaper and more effective ways of doing this? Absolutely. Is there any more fun for a watch lover? Find me one. I’ll wait.
The case measures in at 40mm in stainless steel and the overall watch design takes a lot of vintage queues from the ’40s and ’50s. The case is polished, simple, and features an unlocked polished rectangular pusher at 2 o’clock that starts the seconds hand, thus activating the chronograph. The “Pulsations” track along the outer perimeter of the dial is in blue, a sleek look against the salmon-colored dial, and it is graduated for 30 pulsations rather than the 15 of the vintage watches that inspired it. Like the rest of the collection, the dial features a textured, almost sand-blasted ring that contains the dot hour indicators, and thankfully avoids clumsily cutting off Arabic indicators with the sub-registers. The watch is water-resistant to 50m and will come on a grey-black Sfumato alligator leather strap.
Flipping the Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph over, you’ll find the beautiful Minerva MB13.21, a hand-wound monopusher chronograph with the pusher moved to the 2 o’clock position. I have seen the MB13.21 in the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph and can attest to its superb finishing. The watch beats at 2.5Hz, features 22 jewels, and a power reserve of 55 hours. This isn’t Montblanc’s first Pulsograph as there have been a number of limited editions in the past (including one that utilized this very movement), but I would argue this is the most attractive. Its steel case also helps keep the price fairly reasonable. I don’t see this model as aimed at the average Montblanc fan, but can imagine a more medically inclined collector being haunted by it until he caves. Price for the Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph is 28,000 €. Learn more at montblanc.com
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