All that glitters isn’t always Gold… It’s LIME GOLD. You heard that right… Lime Gold is the newest material coming out of Montblanc’s Villeret Manufacture this year – an exclusive and innovative new 18K gold alloy that is deep golden and veers more towards a pale yellowy green. It is made from 18K Gold (Au 750‰), Silver (Ag 238‰) and Iron (Fe 12‰), providing a distinctive vintage aesthetic. Having said that, I can’t think of any other timepiece in the collection that would be more apt to experiment Lime Gold on than the 1858 Split Second Chronograph.
Perfectly balancing the scales of elegance and sophistication, this timepiece truly ups the ante for other gold watches in the industry. Like other 1858 models, the new Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18 takes its inspiration from the legendary professional Minerva watches from the 1920s and 1930s that were conceived for military use. It features a 46mm case made from Lime Gold, a distinctive gold-coloured sunray finished dial with contrasting green elements of different tones such as the luminescent cathedral-shaped hour- and minute-hands, the minuterie, the central split-second hand, the tachymeter and telemeter scales, as well as the historical Montblanc emblem at 12 o’clock. In order to give a three-dimensional look both at day/night, the Arabic numerals are fully made of Super-LumiNova with a special patented process that encapsulates the luminescent material and create a ‘monobloc’ shape without any outlines. Gold colour has also been chosen for the central chronograph second hand as well as for the chronograph 30-minute- and small second-counters. Sitting on top of the watch is a domed box sapphire crystal that has been given an anti-magnetized treatment to enable greater precision of the chronograph’s two second hands.
A single pusher embedded in the crown starts, stops and resets the chronograph. The pusher at 2 o clock, resets the the rattrapante, splitting the two chronograph seconds hands to leave one stationary at a given moment, while the other continues timing. Around the edges of the dial, you have a telemeter scale that makes it possible to measure the distance of a phenomenon which is both visible and audible, like the lightning and thunder in a storm. The chronograph hand starts at the instant the phenomenon is seen (lightning) and is stopped when the sound is heard (thunder). The position on the scale shows the distance in kilometres separating the phenomenon from the observer (or the user from the storm, in this example) at a glance. Calibration is based on the speed of which sound travels through the air, which is approximately 340 meters per second or 1,115 feet per second. The watch also has a double tachymetric scale (base 1000) at the centre in a “colimaçon” (snail shape), which allows the user to measure a length of time up to three minutes instead of one minute in a traditional chronograph scale around the dial.
The movement used here is a Manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.31 which takes its inspiration from the original Minerva calibres 19-09CH from 1909 and the evolution, the 17-29, developed in the 1930s, that were used for both pocket watches and wristwatches. It is made up of 287 components, beats at a frequency of 18,000 A/h (2.5 Hz) and delivers a power reserve of approx. 50 hours. On the case back, the sapphire crystal reveals the true beauty of the movement with its handcrafted traditional finishings such as Côtes de Genève, inner angles, circular graining and bevelling – as well as other finer details such as the Minerva arrow and the chronograph bridge shaped in the form of a “V” whose design was protected in 1912. For this limited edition, the plates and bridges are made in Maillechort (German-silver) plated in 18K gold harmoniously matching the 18 K Lime Gold case and the dial.
Complementing the overall design is a vintage green nubuck alligator leather strap that has been finished with beige stitching to reinforce the vintage look. The strap is also fitted with a matching 18 K Lime Gold buckle for the perfect finishing touch.