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Montblanc Collection 1858 Bronze: metal with mettle

Montblanc has launched a collection of watches highlighting bronze: a real premiere in terms of style. The alloy has been appreciated for its inherent qualities for eons...

By Vincent Daveau
Managing Editor France

Several major milestones mark the history of Montblanc’s watchmaking division. The sum of them represent unique know-how today, particularly the art of measuring brief events precisely.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic & Montblanc 1858 Dual Time

At the source of inspiration

The horological adventure of this German brand – which was originally specialized in making writing implements – began in 1997 and evolved very rapidly in wake of the success of the watch collections like the Star line.  In 2007, the manufacture Minerva, then owned by Richemont Group, was given to Montblanc, which now had the opportunity to explore the rich the heritage of this little watch company. Indeed, Minerva, founded in 1858, had specialized early on in measuring brief intervals of time.It allowed Montblanc to conceive timekeepers that pay tribute to the spirit of bygone days, while at the same time giving each new creation a modern feel.

Minerva Vintage Chronograph

The future of “vintage”

In order to add bronze to the 1858 collections  –­ a valuable alloy used by many artists ever since antiquity – the watchmakers and designers at the Montblanc manufacture had to rework these pieces and give them a vintage look.This metal boasts a golden matt patina and warm colors that change from brown to brownish green depending on the environment. But it has rarely been combined with the finest stainless steel.  These watches have the ability to age at their own pace and it is what confers a certain degree of magic to these instruments, like the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, released as a limited series of 100 pieces, or the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time and the Montblanc 1858 Automatic.

Minerva Vintage Chronograph & Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100

Kinetic sculptures, chronograph and tachymeter

Bronze, a noble material much prized by creative people, enables the chronograph to become a kinetic sculpture of rare density. The Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is a work of art made by human hand. It is driven by a manually-wound mechanical chronograph caliber of a strictly traditional design.  It was carefully finished using a material whose changing hues reveals the fleetingness of time.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100

To maintain the “vintage" character of this 44-millimeter watch, the dial appears in a champagne color that harmonizes beautifully with the chronograph’s middle case. It also features a tachymetric scale to measure speed over a distance of one kilometer. The watch is being released in a limited edition of 100 pieces. This particular model has a single pusher in the winding crown, which supports the timepiece's streamlined character. The case back is in titanium with a bronze treatment. It holds a sapphire crystal that lets aficionados gaze at the outstanding finishing of the manufacture caliber number MB M16.29. This reference has been subjected to extensive quality testing, and was certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 (hours).

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100

Bronze and steel, two time zones

This Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time  is a classic design with retro-futurist accents: It features cathedral hands, luminescent Arabic numerals typical of the military typography of the interbellum period, and especially of the military watches made by Minerva during the Art-Deco era. Behind the retro look, however, beats a modern heart with automatic winding, the MB 29.19.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time

Frequent travelers will appreciate the well-designed functionality of this creation, because it allows for the display of a second time zone, thanks to a little technical trick. The wearer can read his or her local time on the dial and the one of the place of arrival using two hour hands. The second hour hand, which can be hidden under the main hour hand when not in use, has been openworked. A day-night indicator has been situated in a circular aperture at 12 o’clock.  

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time

Traditionally, though, this model displays the seconds in a little counter placed at 6 o'clock, which is on a very martial black mat backdrop.This fine watch in a 44-millimeter case combines satin-brushed steel with a smooth bronze bezel. It is worn on a calf-leather bracelet in cognac hues closed by a buckle of brushed stainless steel.

Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter caseback

Fundamental and essential

The Montblanc 1858 Automatic is a sober piece, but with lots of wrist presence thanks to its 44-millimeter diameter. It is a distillate of essentials for those fans who want to avoid superfluous stuff. The elegance of the case in satin-brushed steel is reinforced by the presence of a bezel in full bronze that was given a delicate satin brushing, resulting in a definitely vintage inflection.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic

This classically beautiful watch has staying power, because there is no edginess to associate it with any other era other than past ones, which, on the other hand, makes it an extremely modern timepiece. Opposites can, on occasion, create some remarkable effects.The watch’s design is quite individual thanks to the juxtaposition of steel for the middle case and bronze for the bezel.  This reference, which is driven by the automatically wound caliber MB24.16, is sure to have a great future.It comes with a black dial with luminescent Arabic numerals. The watch is water-resistant to 30 meters and has a full metal case back. It is worn on a calf-leather bracelet in cognac hues closed by a classic satin-brushed stainless steel buckle.

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