Montblanc introduced its Metamorphosis concept back in 2010. This complex mechanism, where the timepiece literally transforms itself, revealing two faces with distinctive high complications that allows the wearer to appreciate the time in different ways, took over five years to develop. This year at Watches & Wonders 2021, Montblanc debuted its fourth-generation Metamorphosis timepiece – The new Star Legacy Metamorphosis Limited Edition 8 in Sparkling Blue.
Made up of 718 components, all traditionally hand-crafted at Montblanc’s Villeret Manufacture, this timepiece is serious business. Of the 718 components, more than 320 are dedicated to the Metamorphosis complication and approximately 100 to the Exo Tourbillon construction. All of this is driven by the hand-crafted Manufacture calibre MB M67.60 which beats a frequency of 18,800 A/h (2.5 Hz) and delivers a power reserve of 50 hours.
The metamorphosing process begins when the slider on the left side of the case is activated. This opens two windows – One at the top and one at the bottom. The dial displays a worldtime function at six o’clock in the form of a turning, domed Northern-Hemisphere globe surrounded by a 24-hour scale and a day/night indication when the shutters are closed. At 12 o’clock, the rhodium-coated balance wheel with blued hairspring and 18 screws, beats at the traditional frequency of 18,000 oscillations per hour. When its shutters are opened, the dial reveals Montblanc’s patented one minute Exo Tourbillon, held in place by a sapphire crystal bridge, and representing the sun at 12 o’clock. This was feasible thanks to the construction of the complication, which allows the balance wheel to be positioned outside of the cage and below the shutters. A jumping date disc appears around the Exo Tourbillon.
At 6 o’clock, you have a day/night indicator that turns around the three-dimensional globe. The moon is presented against a backdrop of aventurine that shimmers like a starry night sky. The astronomical moonphase complication is highly precise and only needs to be adjusted by one day every 122 years. Additionally, the hours, minutes, seconds, worldtime and moon phases remain active independently of the watch face.
As for the patented Suspended Exo Tourbillon complication – this was developed entirely in-house and required three years of development. It was first introduced in 2010 and has now become a key pillar of the Montblanc watch collection. The idea was to create a one-minute tourbillon that would be more visible, further revealing its beauty. This particular patented construction Montblanc’s engineers to keep a large and impressive balance wheel, eliminating the need to increase the size of the movement or the case. The massive balance wheel is raised 3.2 mm higher than the dial and appears to be floating above it. This suspended position has been made possible thanks to a dedicated tourbillon bridge with only one arm which is curved, creating a three-dimensional look and a fine watchmaking aesthetic.
Thanks to its asymmetric construction, the alignment of the Exo Tourbillon bridge, with its solitary arm, represents a horological challenge. The complexity of the patented Exo Tourbillon comes from the dimensions of the long axis that need to be extremely precise, along with the complication construction itself, which requires that the balance’s axis must be perfectly perpendicular to the movement. In terms of performance, the Exo Tourbillon saves more energy than a conventional tourbillon as the cage is smaller in size and free of the weight of the balance wheel. It is also balanced by two gold pillars that equilibrate the cage. The fact that the balance is positioned outside of the rotating cage also means that it isn’t affected by the inertia of the cage.
The sophisticated three-dimensional dial of the Montblanc Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon Limited Edition 18 is constructed in eight different parts that have been decorated entirely by hand using traditional watchmaking techniques. The base is in 18 K gold and has been highlighted with a hand-made guilloché pattern in places, and a sandblasted decoration in others, with polished steps framing the different finishing techniques. A refined guilloché pattern completes the aesthetic. A silvery-white dome at 12 o’clock, with an azuré decoration in the centre, houses the hours and minutes counter, mirroring the three-dimensional effect of the outstanding Suspended Exo Tourbillon.
Limited to 18 pieces, the new Star Legacy Metamorphosis Limited Edition 8 in Sparkling Blue is presented in a 44.8mm 18K white gold polished case and worn on a blue Sfumato alligator strap with 18K white gold triple folding clasp.