Pre-SIHH 2019, Montblanc unveils new models in the recently reimagined Star Legacy line of watches. The Montblanc Star Legacy collection has long featured a number of dressy watches that I feel fall into the most Montblanc-ian of their watch offerings, and this new batch expands on that. Five watches inspired by Minerva’s history are announced: the Star Legacy Automatic Date 39mm, the Star Legacy Automatic Date 42mm, the Star Legacy Full Calendar, and two new Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronographs. Each takes a unique shot at the dressier nature of Montblanc’s image with some Roman numerals instead of their traditional Arabic font.
Montblanc took a look at the Star Legacy Collection and gave it a facelift for SIHH 2018. We looked at some models in the new collection with the Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph hands-on here – featuring a cool leather strap from Montblanc’s Pelletteria (their Florence-based leather atelier I don’t feel they capitalize on nearly enough). It introduced a sfumato leather strap and unique colorway that they seem to be bringing into the rest of the dizzying amount of models in the new Star collection – this time with added Italian flavors.
Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date 39mm & 42mm
The smallest of the collection, the Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date 39mm takes a traditional approach to the dress watch. Measuring in at an obvious 39mm, this watch is designed with more traditional tastes in mind, while the 42mm is for those who don’t mind a little more wrist presence, even in a dress watch. For these models, the polished stainless steel case contrasts nicely against the blue Montblanc Pelletteria sfumato leather strap and blued hands.
Something Montblanc has been capitalizing on lately is the blue color scheme. While some would argue it’s always been a common thread, the last few releases with these colorways have been some of the most attractive Montblanc watches in recent memory, specifically paired with the white dials. The watches feature a cool guilloche dial in a Montblanc logo pattern, something subtle that I’ve always enjoyed from the brand, and they are the first models in the new collection to feature Roman numerals – a fitting addition. While I don’t understand the incessant need for a date window in a classic dress watch, I’m particularly turned off by the fact that this one unnecessarily cuts off the 6 o’clock indicator – a slightly higher window, or slightly smaller numerals would fix the need to eat into an indicator like this.
Overall, the models are attractive and being a newer staple to the collection, I don’t foresee them having a problem finding fans. Price for the Montblanc Star Legacy 39mm is $3,050, while the 42mm model (119956) will be $3,160 – a head-scratchingly minimal price difference. I think keeping them both at $3,100 would have been a lot more fluid price point.
Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar
My favorite of this new lot is the Star Legacy Full Calendar. Measuring in at a reasonable 42mm, the polished stainless steel case packs a lot of features in. For starters, a pointer date, a guilloche inner-dial, a moon phase, and apertures for the day and month. Pointer dates arguably aren’t all that common, and even in brands that feature them, it’s about 50/50 on whether they’re done well. On the Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar, it’s done really well considering it keeps the track on the inside of the hour indices instead of having a long arm extending out past the minute and hour hands to count the date at the outer perimeter of the dial.
The Roman numerals are an added touch that I think looks much better than the Arabic numerals of the previous releases. The blue color scheme continues here with blued hour, minute, and second’s hands all tied together by the blue sfumato leather strap. My only gripe is that it appears that the moon phase sports a different hue than the hands and leather, and while that doesn’t exactly clash, I think it was a missed opportunity to add perceived quality.
Still, for what you’re getting, this is a solid dress watch for the price. It’s got plenty to look at, is not too busy considering the number of features crammed into it, and I feel it holds a formidable spot in any “dress watches under $5,000” list. Price for the Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar (119955) is $4,820.
Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph
Montblanc’s Nicolas Rieussec Chronographs have been relatively polarizing. Montblanc has revamped the Nicolas Rieussec a number of times, each one different – some attractive, some a bit more on the quirky side of the spectrum. We’ve covered various Nicolas Reussec Chronographs as far back as 2011 with a wrist-time review here, followed a couple years later with a homage to that piece that we saw hands-on here, and recently the latest iteration with the 2018 revamp of the Star Line Collection. It’s easy to get lost in which models were designed when and the changes from each different iteration. However, personally, I feel each model is getting more and more refined, with this latest being the most attractive of them all.
While you can read about the technical specs of the new Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph in our most recent news article, I want to discuss what’s different about these from the first release earlier this year. For one, the 44.8mm case is now available in 18k red gold – a material that was also tried in this Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec collection. I find this colorway attractive with the nicely contrasting numerals and domed chronograph sub-registers against the new anthracite dial – that’s important when trying to make a dial feel less cluttered considering the plethora of textures and designs utilized.
Additionally, that anthracite dial makes its way into the steel model giving it a more brooding and toned-down appearance. While the other Star Legacy pieces mentioned above use sourced (modified Sellita) movements, the Nicolas Rieussec watches use the Montblanc manufacture Calibre MB R200. Price for the 18k red gold model (119964) is $22,650, and the stainless steel model (119954) will likely be in line with the previous version in the same metal at around $10,200. Learn more at montblanc.com