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Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Watch

Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Watch Watch Releases

For SIHH 2016, Montblanc is releasing a limited edition version of their prolific TimeWalker collection featuring their Exotourbillon complication and a monopusher chronograph. The Montblanc TimeWalker’s rather fascinating modern design with its skeletonized lug structure, legible dial, and accessibility at a reasonable price (a general range of something like $2,800-$7,500) renders it one of the key model lines of the brand. The Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 is what the brand refers to as the “peak” of the TimeWalker line, and it’s certainly for good reason.

Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Watch Watch Releases

First, to fill in anyone who isn’t totally familiar with what ExoTourbillon is: this is one of Montblanc Villeret’s (the skunkworks behind the brand, developing highly complicated watches) in-house complications. It is basically centered around the idea of placing the balance wheel outside of the rotating cage of the tourbillon. The practical benefits of it are twofold in that this allows the cage to be smaller and lighter (allegedly saving 30% energy), and the balance wheel somehow isn’t affected by the cage’s inertia, which in turn is said to improve timekeeping performance.

Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Watch Watch Releases

Montblanc’s MB R230 movement is an automatic caliber with two barrels providing 50 hours of power reserve and powering the one-minute ExoTourbillon. When it comes to setting the exact time, a stop-second or “hacking” mechanism helps. This last part is noteworthy because stopping and restarting a tourbillon is considerably more difficult to engineer than with a normal movement. This is a feature found in some pricier watches like the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 watch (hands-on here) but a little different.

What the stop-second mechanism essentially does is it stops the tourbillon when you pull out the crown, allowing you to set the watch to a reference time more accurately. What’s new with the ExoTourbillon’s hacking mechanism is that it stops just the balance wheel from oscillating rather than bringing the entire tourbillon cage to a halt. This way, when the crown is pushed back in and the movement has to restart, the balance wheel picks up the pace much faster than the stopped tourbillon cage could. Consequently, you get the precision of the stop-second mechanism without the effects of involving the tourbillon. Surely, a solution to an ultra-niche horological problem, but a cool thing to see function.

Moving on, a slightly more everyday/practical benefit this watch provides is an hour setting, allowing the wearer to easily adjust the hour and the date, without interfering with the minutes.

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Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Watch Watch Releases

Montblanc describes the looks of the Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 as “urban,” and while we’re not sure if that’s the word to use, it’s clear that they’re going for a look that applies a high-end complication to a watch that’s a little bit sportier and more of an everyday-wear than what we might be used to. The three-part case made up of titanium, carbon fibre, and DLC provides some reassurance of the watch’s durability, but also lends some edge to the design.

Nevertheless, it’s certainly a busy-looking watch and one that is more about displaying complicated-looking functions and features than using the dial’s substantial real estate very efficiently. With an off-center hour and minutes dial framing a rather small but still quite legible date indication, and with the semi-circular sub-dials of the chronograph seconds and minutes just above the polished bridge of the ExoTourbillon, things get busy and texts and fonts get tiny. The entirely redundant minute track on the periphery of the dial just adds to the flair. Still, the red, black, and white color scheme appears contrasty, sporty, and rugged – an impressive look Montblanc has been getting right lately.

Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 Watch Watch Releases

It’s not a small watch by any means, sitting 44mm wide and 16.27mm tall on the wrist. Of course, large sizing should not be surprising given the relatively bold design cues of this watch. Confirming the fact that Montblanc wants to drive home the sporty (or “urban”) nature of this watch is the red ring framing the dial and the black alligator strap with red stitching. A bit on-the-nose, but it seems to work pretty well. Despite all the rugged looks and materials, like most complicated watches, this monopusher chronograph tourbillon is a rather delicate thing – and with 30 meters of water resistance, you will want to keep it out of the water.

The Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 will, unsurprisingly, have a run of 100 pieces made. They probably will not have a hard time finding people to scoop them up given that you get a more rare sporty-looking high-complication watch at a price point that is in fact very competitive when it comes to tourbillon chronograph timepieces. Last but not least, it is an interesting potential take on what Montblanc might be thinking for the future with more mass-produced pieces. Price for the Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 watch is €39,500montblanc.com

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Comments

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  • IanE

    A lot of watch for the money; shame it’s butt-ugly.

  • iamcalledryan

    Although these sorts of MB offerings predate Lambert’s taking the helm, this has a notable air of the Extreme-Lab, certainly the case does.

    Whereas the JLC absolutely nailed it, there is still something of the old world in this that holds it back from looking like it came from the world of tomorrow. Might be the traditional bridge.

    Still, pretty cool…

  • wallydog2

    Help me out here. So, between about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock. or 20 after and 20 to, check your cell phone for the time. Or might 4 to 8 just be written off as a daily TGIF Happy Hour? Be gentle with your explanation: my walnut sized brain, being Canadian, is sensitive. Case in point: I don’t understand The Donald’s appeal, but who am I?
    (Oh, wait, I get it! This Azimuth is jewelry, not a watch!)

    • iamcalledryan

      You’ve got the outer track to help, but it’s not the most legible experience at those times!

      • wallydog2

        Sorry, if I’m payin’ $59kCdn I don’t want an “outer track to help”.

        • iamcalledryan

          In their defense, the value of this watch is not in the legibility of the hours and minutes. If they were presenting a three-handed chronometer with that dial it would be very poor, but legibility on this watch probably comes third to exposing the escapement and creating an overall aesthetic. Not for you? Me neither…

          It’s a hard concept to accept, that the price of the watch and its legibility are not correlated!

    • You have to put your Movado Museum Watch interpretive skills to use here buddy (the 4 to 8 happy hour).

    • Brian Russell

      At 4:00, start the chronograph. Stop around 8:00.

      • wallydog2

        But after a four hour Happy Hour it’s hard to remember to “stop” around 8:00.

      • iamcalledryan

        That is not even an option because it’s a 30-minuter!

    • wallydog2

      Sorry, I meant Mont Blanc, not Azimuth. I still haven’t recovered from the latter’s tank treads

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      Check out the “The entirely redundant minute track on the periphery ” mentioned by Bilal – actually if you have a good eyesight you can use this 😉

  • ZL

    I think this is my favorite Montblanc yet.

  • Thanks for the detailed explanation of the hacking, exo-cage and separate hour and date setting. While I’m somewhat familiar with the regular version of this watch (I’ve read about it), these tech detail are all new to me. Just more to love about this watch. Outside of Fraser’s spot on comment about the lack of hour makers between 4 and 8, this is a functional layout and an interesting/sporty color scheme compared to the previous references of this watch. While $43K USD is not cheap for a non-precious metal cased watch, it is still on the lower end for a Swiss tourbillon (excepting the TAG of course: http://ablogtowatch.com/tag-heuer-carrera-chronograph-tourbillon-watch-will-cost-15000/).

  • JimBob

    I like the weird second and minute registers.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    bloody screws !

    • iamcalledryan

      I know you don’t like it but you do know it is not down to complacence, right?

      To align the screws on a bridge you would either need to turn one of the screws to a sub-optimal level of torque (thus intentionally putting the structural integrity of movement at risk) or entirely redesign the movement so that the bridge screws protrude from the plate for a nut to be added. This would add thickness to the movement and make it unnecessarily difficult to take apart, not to mention make it ugly on the back.

      Bezel bolts that can run through to the caseback are one thing, but movement screws are never going to align.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        It cant be the hardest thing in the world to align 2 screws. It cant be the most difficult thing in the word and still retain the optimum torque…….ness. just take a bit off the bottom till you get the required position. If you cant see your way to make this happen either use a star screw head or an allan screw head. It just looks shoddy. I dont want to hear cant do !

        • iamcalledryan

          A star screw head would still need to be aligned. It’s not really down to how much you don’t want to hear can’t do, you are asking for square wheels on a car – I’m sure it’s possible but don’t expect people who take car-building seriously to prioritize it.

          I would also love them to be able to align them, but there is good reason why even a Lange tourbillon bridge has misaligned screws – they are screws.

          Or of course you are correct and watchmakers are just lazy and untidy!

          • Raymond Wilkie

            I think am right

          • iamcalledryan

            lol!

          • Shinytoys

            Gonna buy you some aligned screws for your birthday 🙂

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Am not asking for the impossible. seems pretty simple to me

        • somethingnottaken

          The “proper” way of aligning the screws would be precisely and consistently aligning both the threads tapped into the movement, and slots and thread on the screws themselves. Doing so by hand is probably ridiculously tedious and time consuming (i.e. expensive); however, I wonder if a modern computer controlled machines with built in high precision measuring equipment could do the job. Developing and building the machines would be expensive; afterward, the per piece production cost might be reasonable.

          • iamcalledryan

            It’s one thing to do that to the threads on the screw but the harder task would be to align the thread within the hole – that is determined by when the drill gains enough traction to bite into the metal – probably possible to come close, but not perfect. I suppose if we lobbied hard enough a manufacturer could develop a machine to deliver identical screw threads – but the people who care better buy the watches to pay for the investment!!

    • Boogur T. Wang

      OY!
      And in this case, quite noticeable.

  • SuperStrapper

    I think my biggest gripe is with the palette. A white metal balance wheel would have gone a long way in helping, that clash is cringeworthy. I like the ‘gasket effect’ around the edge of the crystal, but the purple crystal and the purple numbers on the inner tracks of the sub dials with the red and black… bleh.

  • BNABOD

    I dig it, it looks cool, the screws protruding out of the case that you can see from the top down is not my thing but i do like the case design. a real nice piece overall just way outside of my price range.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    I think I may have figured out all of this “Limited Edition” stuff we see in the watch world.
    To wit:
    A prime motivation is to recoup expenses on any new model. This is done via revenues from sales of the item.
    So, the makers charge big money on the item and call it a “Limited Edition” in order to dupe the consumers into thinking they are getting a “Special” item al la’ the “Limited Edition” nomenclature.

    Nothing really special; it’s just a new technology/manufacturing venture (a.k.a. New Model) at a ‘higher’ price to recoup R&D/Marketing expenses.

    “Hey Guillermo, slap a red dot on the end of the second hand, add some fancy marketing puff and call it a “Limited Edition.”

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      True, but it seems to work most of the time… 😉

  • Marius

    Now just waaaait a minute!! Didn’t the Swiss tell us that tourbillons are very expensive because they require hand made parts, hand labour, and hand adjusting? That’s strange because Montblanc presented this tourbillon watch, which is not just a simple tourbillon, but one equipped with a hacking mechanism and a chronograph for under €40,000. Meanwhile, Tag introduced their tourbillon for under €15,000.
    Logically, this means that either the Swiss were lying to me all these years, or that the Tag and Montblanc models are of a very low quality.

    • MEddie90

      While a tourbillon is more complex and hard to adjust like everything else there exists a budget option. Seagull and several other chinese manufacturers have been producing tourbillons in the few hundred dollar range for a while now while Tag and Montblanc seem to be aiming for the space just below patek and lange et. al.

      Making a tourbillion isn’t that hard or expensive in and of its self but at the high end hand finishing and black polishing the cage and bridges is a majority of whats being payed for.

      • iamcalledryan

        I would agree, you can visibly see that the MB tourbillon is not highly finished.

        I would also add that the extra components, the need to use variable inertia screws to regulate, and limited number of capable watchmakers to assemble and repair make these things inherently expensive versus a relatively simple lever escapement. However. today there are more watchmakers capable of assembling and repairing them than 10 years ago, so the prices are dropping, but you have to machine polish them (rather than hand polish) to keep the price low too.

        Long story short – get ready for more $15k Swiss tourbillons!

  • Shinytoys

    That’s more like it MB. Definitely an improvement.

  • Mike Burdine

    I like it….I still can’t afford it but I like it.

  • benjameshodges

    So Villeret, as a skunkworks team, get a blank cheque and all the time in the world and this is the best they can do?! A terrible dial layout that they have done 3 times now in an even uglier case and colour palette.

  • Who designed the tourbillion screws, Hublot?

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    This watch is actually a pretty nice step towards mixing a modern look with some more high horlogy complications – and doing it at a relatively competitive price.

    I hope they will continue this direction.

  • funNactive

    Love the half moon dual hands for the sub dials, the date hand design & the exposed Tourbillon!