High-end Villeret 1858 collection by Montblanc has become richer for a new amazing timekeeper which is attributed with immense complexity of its movement – ExoTourbillon Rattrapante. It brings together several demanding complications, with its split-seconds chronograph and innovative exotourbillon features being the most notable ones. Otherwise, the newcomer by Montblanc includes a three-dimensional regulator dial made of gold and with Grand Feu enameled sections, a second time zone and a 24-hour representation of time. As expected, Montblanc Villeret 1858 Rattrapante is launched in a restricted series limited to 18 copies in a white gold housing, while its price matches the level of mastery included in its construction and measures to around $345,000.
Let us start the presentation of the model’s traits with the examining of the “rattrapante” part of its name. This is a cherished feature, otherwise known as a double or split-seconds chronograph, which enables a simultaneous measurement of two different events. It is far more difficult to execute than a regular chronograph and it requires around 70 percent more parts for its intricate mechanism that allows stopping of the split-seconds hand while the movement’s chronograph continues to run in order to keep track of the second measured event.
In this case, we have a chronograph mechanism with two column wheels and a classical double clamp whose functioning can be observed through the transparent case-back. Once the chrono feature is activated, one can see activation of both column wheels, as well as hand-beveled levers which are used in the combination to transfer the appropriate commands, depending on the measurement. Moreover, there are finely curved thin springs made of steel which are utilized to push the rattrapante clamps on the split-second wheel and thus to enable the reading of the first measured interval when the wearer pushes the button located at the two o’clock position. Another push of the same button causes the clamps to spread apart so that the split-seconds hand re-joins the chrono’s elapsed seconds, moves automatically to the appropriate position and keeps running. Since the frequency of the movement is 18,000, the chrono’s punctuality is with 1/5th of a second.
The second grand complication of the Montblanc novelty is its exotourbillon feature (which was likewise featured in the previously introduced Exotourbillon chronograph). It is the brand’s innovative idea on how to improve an already impressive feature such as tourbillon. The technical solution in the watch from the Villeret 1858 series novelty includes the carriage and the escapement which lay outside the movement’s base-plate. Moreover, the movement’s balance is likewise situated out of the rotating cage. These things allow the movement to have an unusually massive balance (with the diameter of 14.5 mm) that is bigger than the carriage and it revolves beneath the balance with shiny golden screws which is placed right between two bridges. Since the balance lies outside the cage, it is not influenced by the inertia of the tourbillon carriage.
Another clever solution is the reduced speed of the tourbillon’s rotation which lasts four minutes. Not only that this allows the wearer to observe the rotation more clearly, but it also significantly reduces the needed energy (up to 30 percent) without compromising the compensating effect which is the same one as in the regular one-minute tourbillons. Thanks to the lowered energy consumption, the extremely complex split-seconds feature is able to function more precisely and to be powered by the same single barrel as it is the case with the regular chronograph. By the way, the movement Montblanc 16.61 of the brand’s latest watch is with manual winding and with a power storage of 55 hours. Its width is 38.4 mm, while the thickness of the 411-part caliber measures to 11.9 mm. The hand-movement is made with a hairspring with Philips terminal curve and it is embellished with quite a few decorations. Its base-plate and bridges are treated with rhodium-plated and silver nickel, circularly grained, as well as with hand-chamfered edges. Its pinions are with polished sections and burnished pivots, whereas gear-train wheels include gold –plating, chamfering and diamond hubs.
Regulator Clock Type of Display with Separate Hours Sub-Dial
Montblanc Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon shows the time as it is represented on regulator clocks which were very popular two centuries ago. While the minute hand, as well as the second hand stand attached to the center of the dial, hours are displayed at a separate sub-counter placed at the bottom of the dial. However, the lower hour sub-dial includes two hands so it actually simultaneously shows the time in two different time zones. While the upper positioned blue skeletonized hand displays the current time zone hours, the lower gray hand indicates home time zone hours. It is important to note that the blue hour hand can be only moved in increments of one hour, once the wearer activates the second time zone setting feature by pressing the pusher at the eight o’clock position. There is one additional 24-hour counter which indicates whether it is night or day in order to prevent any confusion while the wearer is traveling abroad.
Three-Dimensional Skeltonized Dial Made of Gold with Grand Feu Enamel Scales
As for the top of the silver colored multi-layered dial is concerned, its upper section is skeltonized, placed on a slightly lower plain and dominated by the exotourbillon. The entire face of the watch is a massive gold structure ornamented with the help of various artistic crafts. Its primary surface comes with a rhodium treatment which is supplemented with a grainé décor motif. All indications except the flange are applied in Grand Feu enamel technique. Apart from hour and 24-hour local time indications, the dial also includes counters for chronograph 30 minutes and small seconds at three and nine o’clock positions, respectively.
The Montblanc novelty with the reference number 109447 comes inside a highly polished round 18 K white gold housing which features the width of 47 mm. Its profile is categorized by a highly domed sapphire crystal and with vertically descended sides, whereas the thickness of the housing measures to 17.5 mm. It possesses a sapphire transparent rear section and it guarantees basic water resistance to 30 meters. Moreover, the case is decorated with beveled components and brushed surfaces, as well as coupled with a hand-sewn black alligator strap which locks with a pronged buckle made from white gold.