Among its novelties that were presented at the SIHH 2015 show in Geneva, Montblanc has unveiled a very cool watch that brings together cherished complications such as a chronograph and a tourbillion. What is even more impressive, these features are not just in their regular forms. The chronograph is mono-pussoir and column-wheel type with vertical coupling, whilst the tourbillion is made with a humongous balance placed outside of the carriage (hence the name Exotourbillon). In addition to these two complications there are even more splendid traits which we will further examine later on. The watch is launched in two different editions. The first one of these is serial-made and it includes a red gold casing and ivory-grainé textured dial. This version comes at the price of about $48,585, which makes it the cheapest available chronograph tourbillion on the market. There is also a 60-piece limited edition of the timepiece which is dedicated to the famous explorer Vasco Da Gama and which features a lovely deep blue aventurine dial which depicts the night sky of the Southern hemisphere. It is housed in a white gold casing and valued at around $50,430.
Exotourbillon feature which was developed by Montblanc-owned watchmaking innovations division, formerly independent and still very renowned facility Minerva, was first introduced at the SIHH show a couple of years ago. Some of the basic horologic principles stand behind the creation of the feature. In order to make the mechanism as accurate as possible, the manufacturer needs to enlarge the caliber’s balance which improves its punctuality by raising inertia. However, if such a large balance wheel (in this instance the diameter measures to 9.7 mm) was to be inside the tourbillion cage as it is customary, the mere size and weight of it would rapidly deplete the caliber’s power reserve. To make the best of the enlarged balance and circumvent the mentioned assorted problem, the Montblanc’s designers have placed the balance out of the carriage which still includes the hair-spring that rotates along with the cage. This is important since it exploits the main advantage of the tourbillion – the nullification of the influence of gravity.
In addition to its jumbo-sized balance spring which sits out of the tourbillion cage, the newcomer is also equipped with a mono-pusher chronograph feature. This sort of stop watch, as it can be easily deduced from its name, has all of its features activated with the means of a single pusher. It is a column wheel type of chronograph mechanism which is not only the traditional solution, but also the one that is considered to be superior. Moreover, it is a column-wheel chrono with vertical coupling which ensures smoother functioning in comparison with the alternative horizontal one. Among the supported functions of the caliber there are seconds shown on the tourbillion as well. Moreover, the hour hand can be adjusted to the right position in increments of one hour without disrupting the time keeping mechanism which enables better precision.
As for the other important traits of Caliber MB R230 used in the model, we should start with the fact that it is a self-winding movement. It is equipped with twin barrels and it stores enough energy to keep it running for 50 hours. The caliber integrates 44 jewels and 296 parts altogether in its construction. Its enlarged balance that provides improved isochronism ticks at the rate of 3 Hz.
Now, let us focus on how the supported features of the watch are displayed. Its face features slightly upwards the offset dial with faceted sword-shaped hours and minute hands. On the same axis where hours and minutes are, there is a pointer that is used to show the current date. The bottom part of the face is reserved for the oversized exotourbillon, while there are also two chrono counters right above it. These displays (for seconds and minutes respectively) are executed as semi-circles, which is why their pointers include another red-colored end to indicate the information which would usually be shown on the bottom half of chrono displays.
Montbalnc Heritage Chronometrie Exotourbillon Chronograph is placed inside a round casing with the diameter of 44 mm. The construction likewise includes a double glare-proofed sapphire crystal and a transparent section at the rear side of the case. Unlike the other models from the Heritage Chronometrie collection which all feature flat bezels, this model has the component slightly curved.
The most affordable tourbillion chronograph on the market has a silvered colored dial with circular grained motifs inside the chrono counters and vertical satin finish on the exposed section of the movement at the very bottom of the screen. As it has been mentioned, there is also a slightly more costly limited version of the model named after and dedicated to Vasco Da Gama. This one includes a deep blue aventurine section on its upper part that features an accurate depiction of the night sky which can be seen from the southern half of our planet. At the twelve o’clock position there is also a diamond in the shape of the brand’s logo. Both serial and limited editions are paired with a black alligator leather strap.