The collection is segmented into three basic models, with the first two having the two dial options (silver or black) on a strap or steel metal bracelets. I’ll start with the “highlight” watch that Montblanc wanted to draw the most attention to. It is the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC reference 116101. What makes this model distinct is the all-black DLC-coated steel case as well as the movement which is a base 7750 automatic with a GMT (UTC) hand added to it. Montblanc calls that movement their caliber MB 25.03, and you can see it through a smoked sapphire crystal on the back of the case.
Like the outgoing TimeWalker, the new Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph models, UTC or otherwise, are 43mm wide and 15.2mm thick, with a water-resistance of 100 meters. The three-hand automatic models are a bit smaller. Case details are really nice, with a lot of machining work compared to most other watches in this price range. Look at the crown that has a nicely machined Montblanc logo in relief. Easily most people’s favorite design element of the new Montblanc TimeWalker cases will be the one-piece “monobloc” black ceramic bezel. Rather than a bezel insert, the entire bezel is cut from a single piece of ceramic, and it looks pretty nice. The rotating bezels are used as second time zone indicators on the three-hand Automatic model and standard Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph pieces, and as a 24-hour scale on the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC.
Note the integration of the Montblanc star logo into the subdial on the TimeWalker Chronographs – a detail I admire. For the most part, the legible dials are easy to read, and I hope people agree with me that they are attractive. Montblanc kept it simple – probably a good idea – focusing on black and white tones with a hint of red. It is a common formula, but a crowd-pleaser nonetheless. Fans of the outgoing Montblanc TimeWalker collection will immediately recognize the font and style of the hour markers as coming from the “classic” Montblanc TimeWalker collection. That was also a favorite element of mine, and I am glad Montblanc decided to keep it in this refreshed collection of watches.
The high-contrast dials are matched to high-contrast cases which are more apparent on the models other than the UTC which is just all black and comes on a new black rubber strap. Both the deployant and crown are DLC-coated. There is a new micro-adjust system for the deployant on the bracelets which is nice. It took me a few minutes to understand how it worked, but it is interesting and a good additional feature to have in this collection. With that said, I don’t think the versions of the Montblanc TimeWalker on the steel bracelet have this micro-adjust option, which is a slight shame.
Just below the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC is the TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic. This has the same 43mm-wide case but in brushed steel with a black crown and black ceramic bezel. The two-tone black and white dial is more to my liking since I like how eye-catching it is. In either dial style, the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic reference 116096 is my favorite of the new models. Montblanc offers it on either a bracelet, rubber strap, or black leather strap – which makes for a good assortment of style options in addition to the two dials. In contains a stock 7750-style automatic chronograph movement which Montblanc calls their caliber MB 25.07. Especially with the mostly black dial on the leather strap this is a beautiful watch. I liked it the most, and I also happened to notice that Mr. Cerrato made it his choice of timepiece to wear for the day.
The more simple of the models should not be discounted since it comes with a more diminutive 41mm-wide case and clean, handsome looks. This is the Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date. The case, as I noted, wears smaller (because it is smaller), but is also a few millimeters thinner than the Chronograph models at just 11.38mm thick. With a 60-minute-style dial on the black-dialed version rather than standard 12 hour markers, you see a clear racing-instrument spirit in this collection that I think a lot of people will enjoy. It also feels like the most youthful of the collection – making for an ideal timepiece for young people who enjoy watches as well as cars. Further, allow me to compliment Montblanc for designing the three-hand collection so that the date window not only matches the dial color, but also that the date window does not cut off the marker at 3 o’clock.
Like the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic, the TimeWalker Automatic Date (reference 116059) will come with a black or silvery-white dial. Strap options include the brushed three-link steel bracelet or the perforated black rubber strap.
In my opinion, the Montblanc TimeWalker collection is among the strongest at SIHH 2017. It represents a solid set of watches with designs, features, and prices that we know people want. The watch world has probably produced enough exotic tourbillons and precious metal luxuries to last the market for years to come. Montblanc is wise to focus on good design, but also to be down-to-Earth and fun about it. Prices max with the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC at $4,990, with the TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic models costing less at $4,290 on a steel bracelet or $3,985 on a strap. The three-hand Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic watch has a price of $3,285 on the steel bracelet and $2,985 on a strap. montblanc.com