This year, Montblanc is tributing the famous naval explorer, Vasco Da Gama, with several dedicated timepieces. One of these watches especially stands out. The piece in question is Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Vasco Da Gama. Its golden dial features two lovely half-spheres that simultaneously show the current time in each of the existing 24 time zones. The other exceptional feature of the stunning watch is its tourbillion with a proprietary made superior cylindrical hair-spring. Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geoshperes Vasco Da Gama is made with a red gold case and it is launched in a very restricted issue of just 18 pieces. Its price is set at around $282,875.
The newcomer from the Villeret collection is a lovely world timer which includes three separate indications for various time zones. Among them, the most striking and prominent is the one that includes two lovely half-globes. These realistic representations of the two ends of the Earth (when observed from the poles) are made of gold. Subsequently, they are embellished with miniature paintings that are used to represent meridians, as well as oceans. The depiction of the oceans is additionally detailed, since it includes different shades of blue in order to accurately show the parts with deeper or shallower water. As for the continents, they are also made of gold and they are hand engraved.
Around both of these half-globes (one for the Northern and the other one for the Southern hemisphere) there are rings (likewise golden and hand-engraved) with scales that are used to show the current time all around the Earth. Because of the split arrangement of the globe, these rings rotate in opposite directions (the left one, used for Northern hemisphere, revolves in a clockwise direction) and are also divided to two different halves, so they can also be used as day and night indicators. The end result is a quite stunning and functional world timer feature. If one is to look for possible shortcomings of the complication, it would probably be the fact that the globes are not the components that rotate.
Apart from the featured time representation around the world, there are two more time zone displays. The local time is shown with two central golden hands, while the home time display with solely hours sits on the bottom of the face. Its pointer, a three-dimensional hand with the tip that represents the compass hand (the same one that was used for the famous monument to Vasco Da Gama which was erected in the capital of Portugal) is elaborately finished and consisted of several components.
The second exquisite feature of the watch is placed at the top part of its face. There sits a lovely cylindrical oversized tourbillion. It includes a more accurate and reliable cylindrical shaped hair-spring, instead of the common flat one, plagued with issues concerning the isochronism of the piece. The use of this sort of hair-spring is also inspired by Vasco Da Gama. During the era of this famous explorer, the navigation relied on accurate marine chronometers and the most reliable ones were exactly with this type of hair-spring. Which is even more impressive, Montblanc, or to be more precise, its daughter manufacturer Minerva, is capable of constructing its own hair-spring of this kind. Without such capability, it would not be possible to create a watch such as Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geoshperes Vasco Da Gama.
Moreover, the tourbillion is held in place with the means of a bridge in a shape of double infinity symbol. This sort of shape, which is characteristic for the Villeret collection, is in this case even more complex since it is made in a convex form. After it is made, the bridge is then carefully hand-polished. It takes two weeks of painstaking work just to finish it to its final form.
The lovely multi-layered golden face of the timekeeper also includes guilloched sections, located beside the tourbillion cage. These segments feature nice wavy patterns, which is another nod to the explorer, to whom the watch is dedicated in the first place.
Behind the impressive features of the novelty from the Villeret collection stands hand-wound caliber MB M68.40. The movement is comprised of 281 components, of which 91 are reserved solely for the tourbillion mechanism. Its massive (14.5 mm wide) balance ticks at the rate of 18,000 vph, whereas the supported power reserve lasts for two whole days. As it was envisioned by the brand’s designers, the crown is used for setting the time in each of its three time zones. Subsequently, there is a separate pusher that moves the local time display in increments of one hour. This way, the wearer can effortlessly switch through time zones without disturbing the main time-keeping mechanism and its accuracy.
The timepiece is placed inside a round 18 K red gold housing. Its diameter is 47 mm, while the thickness measures to 15.38 mm. The both sides of the case feature sapphire crystals. The rear one is surrounded with a ring that carries the names of the cities which represent time zones, each set at its respective place. This sapphire also bears the markings that show the place of the specific watch in the 18-piece’s limited series. By the way, Montblanc has a custom to launch limited editions with this specific number and as its representatives explain, this is because Minerva Villeret was founded in 1858.
The case of the watch is adjoined to the hand polished lugs which are used to connect it with a black Mississippi alligator strap consisted of two layers. The strap fastens with a deployment buckle made of red gold. Finally, it should be said that Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geoshperes Vasco Da Gama is water resistant to 30 meters.