Montblanc has prepared a very special limited edition of watches from its Timewalker series for next fall. New Montblanc Timewalker Chronograph 100 is based on the historic success of the exclusive section of the brand’s manufacturing facilities – Minerva. Once, an independent company which is nowadays a part of Montblanc was able to develop a mechanical chronograph with the precision of up to 1/100th of a second nearly a century ago which is exactly the trait featured in the new timepiece. To make this happen, the new watch has a special additional balance for the chronograph which oscillates at the necessary high frequency of 50 Hz and accompanies the basic larger balance used for the timekeeping which has 25 times lower frequency. Moreover, the new column wheel chronograph has a patented twin resetting mechanism. A nice touch in the design is the skeltonization of the dial that allows looks on its innovative and lavishly decorated movement from both sides. Finally, this 100-piece restricted series is presented in a case made from high-tech material that was gotten with the combination of titanium and carbon fiber.
Minerva’s Tradition as the Basis for New Tow Balance Movement
Minerva Manufacture which is today just a part of the Richemont owned brand that started off as the manufacturer of fountain pens naturally has a lot longer and more respected traditions in the industry than the brand that now owns it. One of the proudest moments for Minerva came in 1916 when it was able to stun everyone in the field with the creation of a mechanical chronograph which was able to measure intervals with the amazing precision of 1/100th of a second. This trait which is repeated in new MB M66.25 caliber requires that the watch has a balance that will vibrate at the exceptionally high rate of 360,000 vph. (To indicate such small frictions of a second, the chronograph 1/100th of the second central hand completes a full revolution around the dial in just a single second.)
This frequency of 50 Hz used in the new watch is multiple times higher than it is common for mechanical chronographs and hard to execute with larger sized balances which require its mass to ensure a steady rate and better precision. This is why the Montblanc designers opted to create a movement that will actually have two balances. While the fast-paced one is used for the chronograph, the other more massive one is used for the timekeeping function. The small one with the frequency of 50 Hz is actually still and begins its vibrations only when the stopwatch feature is activated. These activations and halts of the balance are executed via a steel lamella and a steel plate, respectively.
Each Balance with its own Barrel
Both balances have their own adjoined barrels that power them. The one used for ultra fast chronograph hand has enough energy to keep it running for 45 minutes. However, the elapsed measurement interval is not restricted to three quarters of an hour since you can manually wound the crown and supply the chronographs barrel with an indefinite additional energy. Turning the crown in other direction fills the primary barrel with power that ensures its functioning for 100 hours.
Patented Twin Chrono Resetting System
The list of innovations used on the new movement that was developed for Montblanc Timewalker Chronograph 100 also includes a patented system for resetting the chronograph. Once again, we have a twin system comprised of two parts where the former is used for chrono 1/100th of second increments and the latter for 60 seconds and 15 minutes of the stopwatch feature. It includes a column wheel with four narrow and the same amount of broad pillars which are bordered with alternating higher and lower switching levels. The former of the switching levels is used for the activation of the chronograph and includes a thin steel lamella which starts it. On the contrary, when the chronograph is stopped, the column-wheel of the chronograph rocker is pushed in the direction of 50 Hz balance and the same steel lamella is pressed firmly at its rim. This stops the fast-paced chronograph balance alongside with all the stopwatch hands.
For the minutes and seconds chrono indications, Montblanc used a traditional method which includes heart-levers and heart-cams positioned at the lower section of the column-wheel. On the other hand, the mechanism used for the resetting of the fastest chronograph hand is made in an innovative fashion and includes a disc with a catch. During the time the chronograph is running, the heart-lever of the chrono seconds counter keeps a tiny arrowhead lever out of the reach of the mentioned catch. However, once the stopwatch is stopped and its counters are reset to zero, the heart-lever no longer holds the smaller lever and causes it to be pressed against the wheel of the disc’s catch. Once the 100th of a second pointer returns to the starting position, it is then once again immobile.
Traditional Procedures and Hand-Finishing
Not only that the movement has the extraordinary and innovative traits, it is also beautified with high-end finishing. The caliber’s plates, bridges, as well as all of its steel part are made by hand and ornamented with circular graining and the Geneva striping. All the edges are hand-beveled and subsequently hand-polished, whereas the flanks show off brush finishing. The traditional procedures used in the creation of the newcomer’s caliber include that each balance-spring is checked by an artisan. Additionally, all the surfaces of the functional parts need to be made with precision to a single micron. Needless to say, such procedures are very complex and time consuming.
Titanium and Carbon for Lighter and Tougher Case
Furthermore, Montblanc has hidden a few more tricks up the sleeve when the construction of the newcomer’s three-part housing is concerned. For its creation, the Villeret watchmaker used material that stem from the automobile racing industry, as it is has been more and more present in new watches of various manufacturers these days. As the brand’s representatives indicate, this choice is supposed to additionally turn the attention to the innovations featured in the watch. The novel timekeeper from the Timewalker series has its fixed bezel made from the mix of steel and titanium which is coated with diamond-like carbon treatment. Titanium with additional transparent sapphire section is once again used for the rear side of the case. For the middle part of the case, the brand has also used titanium, but in this case, it is covered with several layers of carbon fiber and with every subsequent layer standing at the right angle to the previous one. Among themselves, these layers are fused with the use of resin which was treated with high temperatures and pressures in order to create a compact block of carbon fiber. Moreover, this multi-layered cover is stamped in order to make it look as it was made from a single compact structure, which is why it has horizontal stripes that are uncommon for the material. The end result of the process is the case that is at the same time exceptionally light and resistant.
Montblanc Timewalker Chronograph 100 also possesses skeletonized titanium horns and a fluted crown in the same material which boasts the brand’s emblem in mother-of-pearl. It is placed at the top of the case as a tribute to the original watch from 1916 that it has been modeled upon. The horns that are created in the recognizable manner of the Timewalker series join the case with a black alligator leather strap with larger scales and red stitches. The wristlet locks with a pronged buckle made of titanium.
As for the dial of the newcomer that will be available sometime next fall, it is made from sapphire encircled with a satin finished flange with indications for 1/100th of second increments. The choice of a transparent dial is obviously motivated with the desire to show off the movement as much as it is possible. Among the most notable segments of the exposed movement on the dial side, there are certainly the column wheel with wolf teeth at the top and two directional winding mechanisms at the right side. The basic timekeeping feature is displayed on a scale in anthracite gray color which is encircled with a silver outline. Moreover, the dial includes a small seconds indication at the left side and chrono 60 seconds and 15 minute scales fused together at the bottom. In the series manner, the central hour and minute hands are sword shaped and coated with a generous amount of luminous coating. As for the fast-revolving 1/100th of a second chrono hand, it is made in aluminum and coated with red lacquer for better visibility.