An unabashed depiction of Montblanc’s artisanal prowess and rich heritage, the new Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 is truly a very special timepiece. Special because, the watches house 38 movements that were discovered in the archives of the maison’s elite Minerva Manufacture in Villeret (Jura mountains, Switzerland).
Montblanc Villeret’s watchmaking tradition began in 1858 when Charles-Yvan Robert founded the Minerva Manufacture in the Saint-Imier valley. The Manufacture progressively gained international recognition for its precision timepieces, becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches.
Minerva is mostly renowned for its chronograph production throughout the 20thcentury. In particular, the legendary calibre 19.09 (19 lines / launched in 1909), which was the first to feature the recognizable V-shaped chronograph bridge. Several patents for precision timers were also filed during this period, attesting to the Manufacture’s innovative spirit. For instance, the first production of a 1/100thstopwatch happened in 1916.
In the 1920s, Minerva invented one of the first manually-wound monopusher chronographs specially developed for wristwatches, marking a new chapter in the Manufacture’s history. In addition to the calibre 13.20, the calibre 17.29 was produced during the 1930s and was one of the slimmest monopusher chronographs of the time, measuring a mere 5.6 mm in height.
These developments symbolize the level of mastery and innovation reached by Minerva over the years and consolidate its reputation in the manufacture of monopusher chronographs with various case sizes and complications.
Upholding the Minerva legacy and paying tribute to more than 160 years of fine watchmaking history, these horological achievements have become the inspiration for the development of the new Montblanc timepieces.
Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38
Classically designed, this 38mm stainless steel watch features a lacquered two-tone salmon dial, complemented by the Minerva secret signature (added for the very first time) between four and five o’clock. A small second counter with “azuré” (circular guilloché) finishing is set slightly lower than the main dial to provide greater contrast. Other details include curved Dauphine-shaped hands that follow the domed shape of the dial; black rhodium-coated applied indexes; and Arabic numerals and dots which have all been coated with white Super-LumiNova, a first in the Heritage collection. A precise railway track (minuterie)in blue completes the overall design and provides better readability. Harmonising well with the different subtle elements of the dial is the matching grey Sfumato alligator strap.
Powering the new Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 is a manually wound calibre MB M62.00 calibre which was inspired by the Pythagore calibre from 1948 with its very recognizable geometric shape. It was reinterpreted in 2003 with more classical shapes and high-end finishings. The MB M62.00 indicates the hours, minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock. The movement features a large balance wheel beating at a low traditional frequency of 18,000 A/h (2.5 hertz), allowing an ample moment of inertia. The regulating organ is equipped with a double adjustment system: Firstly, it includes a hairspring positioning system with a stud that allows the watchmaker to center the hairspring by moving the entire balance system to the balance cock. Secondly, a hairspring active length regulator index system (raquette), with a swan’s neck spring bearing the Minerva arrow, is positioned on the end. The iconic Minerva arrow can also be found asan engraving on the main plate.
The view of this hand-wound mechanical movement reveals the high level of finishing that demands experience, skill and dexterity. The components, visible or not, are hand-decorated with bevelling, chamfered edges, circular graining on both sides, and grained and polished surfaces. This know-how can be admired on the rhodium-coated, German silver main plate that features circular graining and hand-chamfered edges; on the bridges which are decorated on all sides, beveled by hand and manually-embellished with Geneva stripes (Côtes de Genève), and also on the wheels which are plated with gold and havefaceted arms.
All of that watchmaking goodness is housed in a 38mm fully polished stainless steel case with curved horns, adorned with a domed box-shaped sapphire crystal glass with antireflective coating and an open sapphire crystal case back, enhancing a special “Historical Minerva movement” engraving. This edition is limited and numbered. Each timepiece is entirely crafted and assembled from A to Z by the same master watchmaker at the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret, making each timepiece truly unique.
Limited to 38 pieces, the Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 is priced at approximately 18.200,00 € (Euros)