It is worth starting this article by reminding you that this Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph watch is currently the most affordable model in the Montblanc Villeret collection that is produced at the former Minerva watch manufacture… in Villeret. These watches represent Montblanc’s most prestigious horological products, and for the first time a Minerva movement is used outside of a “strict” Villeret model.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is the flagship piece in the new Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage collection which is a totally new watch line for 2014. It also coincides with Montblanc’s new leadership by Jerome Lambert, and it is said that this is one of his conceptions. We liked this Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph watch so much that we selected it as one of our top 10 best watches of SIHH 2014. I can now fully discuss what you need to know about this interesting chronograph.
If you are the type of person that really enjoys vintage style watches then you might find the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph appealing. It isn’t that it is directly modeled after any specific vintage watch, but it combines both a case design and movement which are really quite retro. In fact, Montblanc’s Meisterstück Heritage collection as a whole is meant to honor the historic beginnings of its famed Meisterstück writing instrument collection. Of course this isn’t the first time there has been a “pen/watch” melding at the German company, but I have a feeling there will be more “product synergy” in the years to come.
The Meisterstück Heritage watch family includes everything from a simple three hand model, to a moonphase, perpetual calendar, of course the chronograph which is called the Pulsograph. What is a “pulsograph?” Well, it is watch marketing speak for a chronograph that has a pulsometer scale. These are designed to be used in conjunction with the chronograph in order to measure a person’s pulse. These are frankly much more useful than a tachymeter scale. The way they work is simple. You first need to put your fingers on a vein to feel someone’s pulse (or your own). Then you start the chronograph and count 30 pulses (on this watch). Different pulsometers are graduated to different pulse counts so many require less counting. Once you’ve counted 30 you stop the chronograph and the seconds hand should point to the correct pulse reading.
The movement inside the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is the Montblanc Villeret-made caliber MB M13.21 manually wound monopusher column-wheel chronograph. Hand-assembled and decorated it is a lovely caliber but what most people can’t tell is that its architecture is very old. Operating at 2.5Hz (18,000 bph), this monopusher chronograph is based on the historic Minerva 13.20 movement from the 1920s, which was actually one of the very first wrist watch chronograph movements ever created. Minerva produced it for a long time, and it was never really meant to be a “luxury movement.” The most brilliant thing Richemont and Montblanc was able to do with the purchase of Minerva was upgrade their status to a new apex, as the brand was also a maker of quality, albeit work-horse style watches.
The caliber MB M13.21 movement is a much finer looking movement compared to the 13.21, but in many ways there are the same. The irony of course is that vintage 13.21-based Minerva watches are available out there for maybe $2,000 – $4,000. Montblanc, however, adds a lovely sheen to the Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph, making it a luxury item. Don’t miss the diamond set on the side of the case at 6 o’clock. Montblanc does that with most of the watches they produce that contain Montblanc Villeret movements. In fact (and this may have changed), but Montblanc’s own website (at least for a long while) never even mentioned the Montblanc Villeret watches. They simply were listed in what was likely some interesting way to create further exclusivity.
On the wrist, the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is 41mm wide in an 18k rose gold case. It has modern proportions but a vintage-style and great looking dial. A signature design element of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage collection is the Roman numeral 12 and 6 o’clock hour indicators on the dial. Matched with the dauphine hands, this is a sharp looking timepiece.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph watch will be produced as part of a limited edition of just 90 pieces. Perhaps future versions will be available in 18k white gold, but for now the watch is exclusively available in 18 rose gold. Of course the “90” number of the limited edition set is symbolic, and refers to the 90th anniversary of the original Meisterstück fountain pen from 1924. Available in the fall of 2014 the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph watch will be priced at 27,000 Euros (or about $34,500 in the US). montblanc.com