What is the strap exactly? Montblanc doesn’t have a fancy name for it but they do refer to the rubber inlay as “Vulcarbone cautchouc.” Basically, the strap is a mixture of a rubber coated leather piece with a rubber liner that is all stitched together. Montblanc claims that it is very durable with a lot of “breakage resistance.” If that is true, it is a good thing. While rubber straps look great right out of the box, many people with older rubber straps can attest to the fact that many of them look like crap or break after several years. Rubber is a natural material after all so it can dry out and break.
In the future, I’d like to educate myself a bit more on how various types of rubber straps age over time. There isn’t too much out there in regard to this, because 30 years ago luxury watches weren’t really using rubber straps. It is a more recent development that someone would purchase a watch too nice to be a sport watch, that is meant to look like a sport watch. I have a fair number of beautiful looking “sport watches” but when it comes down to it, I strap on a Casio when I go hiking or swimming. Rubber straps (or similar) on high-end sport-style watches is all about fashion, in my opinion.
Unlike the base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7753 automatic chronograph movement used in the early Montblanc Timewalker watches, the newer crop of Timewalker Chronographs use what Montblanc calls their calibre 4180/507, which is a base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 or equivalent. This is essentially the same as a 7753, but with a different layout. The dial retains a functional, legible look, but isn’t quite as symmetrical as those with tri-compax layouts. In addition to the black and silver version of the watch dial, Montblanc also offers a different version of the Montblanc Timewalker Extreme with a black and gold-toned dial – which adds just a little bling to the overall presentation.
This is one of the first new watches I’ve seen in a while to adopt the “Extreme” moniker in the name. With just 30 meters of water resistance I wouldn’t call it “Extreme,” but perhaps Montblanc has another name for that. I haven’t spent a lot of time in the last few years commenting on the naming practices of European luxury brands, but maybe I’ll start doing that again after a five or so year hiatus. I really do want watches to have names which are as good as the watches that bear them. Cool and a little mysterious, the Montblanc Timewalker Extreme for the 10th anniversary of the Timewalker will be available in the fall of 2014 at a price of $6,400. montblanc.com