At the first major horological event of the year in Geneva, Montblanc has presented new models with manufacture movements from its Villeret 1858 series. The highlight is ExoTourbillon Chornograph, the timepiece which has a balance separated from the tourbillon cage. This innovation is conjoined with a chronograph feature, as well as with the second time zone feature with an indication for day and night. ExoTourbillon Chronograph is very exclusive and available in just 16 standard pieces with 18 K gold cases (eight in red and eight more in white gold) and a unique one with a platinum casing. Just like the breakthrough tourbillon model, the other presented watch is made with a hand-wound in-house caliber. It is a ladies’ timekeeper named Seconde Authentique which is available in three limited editions of 58 pieces. The last one of these versions is sold together with the matching gentleman’s model.
The first of novelties from the Villeret 1858 collection, ExoTourbillon Chronographe, is the initial model in the series that has both a tourbillon and a chronograph feature. While the chronograph is made in the traditional spirit with a column-wheel and horizontal coupling, the four-minute tourbillon is a major novelty in the world of watchmaking. It has a balance that is detached from the tourbillon carriage and the disturbing movements of the escapement. This solution enables ExoTourbillon Chronographe to be the first timekeeper whose balance is larger than the rotating cage. Besides, the balance oscillates outside of the carriage, which is exactly the trait responsible for the ‘Exo” (outside in Greek) part in the model’s name.
Less Energy Consumption, More Accuracy
There are numerous reasons for and consequences of this new configuration in which the balance is borne between two jewels. If Montblanc had opted for a conventional approach, it would have necessitated a massive balance and even a larger cage. Since the new solution requires smaller components and removes the balance from the cage, it reduces the energy consumption by a third. Besides, the detachment of the balance form the cage removes any negative effects of inertia and brings to increased accuracy. For all of these reasons, Montblanc has patented this technical solution and intends to use it solely on the pieces from the Villeret 1858 collection. In order to accentuate the innovation used on the piece, the brand which is a part of the Richemont group has made it quite visible: its “liberated’’ large balance with weight screws along the rim is visible through the aperture placed at the top of the dial.
Eighteen Gold Pieces and a Unique Platinum One
As it has been said, ExoTourbillon Chronographe is the initial model which will include the new technical solution. Montblanc decided to make two very exclusive versions of the watch with white and red gold 18 K housing. Each of the versions will be manufactured in just eight copies. Additionally, there will be an even more exclusive version of the timekeeper made with a platinum housing which is constructed in a single issue. By the way, the diameter of the case is 47mm, whereas its thickness is 16.67mm.
The new watch is a mono-pusher operated chronograph which also incorporates the second time zone feature with a day and night indication. It has quite an interesting and appealing multilayered solid gold dial set on either a silver-gray (for red gold casing) or black grained texture (white gold). While the minute and the chronograph seconds stand at the traditional place in the middle of the dial, the timekeeper also includes an off-centered display for hours, chrono counters for small seconds and 30 minutes, as well as a day and night display. In order to show the time in two time zones, the timekeeper utilizes two hour hands. While the local time is displayed by a golden hand which matches the shade of the casing, the second time zone is indicated via a blued hand.
Furthermore, the hour subdial at the bottom of the face consists of two circularly satin-finished annuluses with Roman numerals separated by a section with sunburst pattern. There is also an additional indication. The indication for day and night is semicircular and equipped with a blued hand which indicates whether the sine rises (lever) or sets (coucher), while the gray segments denote dawn and dusk.
Calibre MB M16.60
Inside the watch, there is its beating heart, a manually-wound Calibre MB M16.60. It is a column wheel chronograph with horizontal coupling. Its lever is opulently finished and assembled to the movement by hand. Its steel parts, along with the V shaped chrono bridge, are likewise manually polished and beveled. The massive balance, visible through the aperture at the top, has a Phillips curve at one end of the balance spring and oscillates at the frequency of 18,000 vph (or with the precision of 1/5th of a second). Calibre 16.60 which has the diameter of 17 lignes consists of 341 components (51 parts of 341 are used just for the tourbillon cage). It also integrates 32 hemispherical and domed olive-cut jewels, while the supported power reserve lasts for 50 hours.
Each of the chrono functions are triggered by the sequential pushing of the same button in the crown which features the brand’s emblem in mother-of-pearl. The second pusher located at the eight o’clock position is used to set the second time zone.
The Signature of Demetrio Cabiddu
The case of Exo-Tourbillon Chronographe timepiece is polished to high-gloss and coupled with an arced bezel and a notably domed sapphire crystal which has vertically falling flanks (otherwise known as forme chevée). There is also a sapphire section on the case back which is guarded by a cover which opens with a special patented mechanism. On the inside of the hinged cover, there is the signature of the Master Horologist Demetrio Cabiddu, the technical director of the manufacture. Besides, the work and expertise of Cabiddu and the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie which became a part of Montblanc in 2007 is responsible not only for this new timekeeper, but also for all of high-end watches from the Villeret 1858 collection.
The watch is water resistant to 30 meters, and coupled with a brown or black alligator strap with a pronged buckle in the material of the case. ExoTourbillon Chronograph will be available for sale in a matter of days.
Feminine Charm and Classical Horological Values – Seconde Authentique
Montblanc likewise prepared a new model for women. It is Seconde Authentique piece made with an in-house hand-wound caliber. The watch is available with a mother-of-pearl dial (which can also be with or without diamonds on the bezel) and with a face that combines mother-of-pearl sections with gold. The second version comes in a pair, alongside the same men’s timekeeper which is different only by its slightly larger diameter (39mm compared to the width of 36mm of the women’s model). Since it comes with a complex mechanical caliber that was made and decorated manually, the watch is a part of a limited edition. Each of the versions in made in 58 copies.
An In-House Caliber, Made and Decorated Manually
At the core of the watch is another manufacture caliber – MB M62.00. It is a hand-wound movement with a small seconds feature. It consists of 162 parts and integrates 19 jewels, while its power reserve lasts for 50 hours. It has beveled rhodium-plated nickel-silver bridges and graced with cotes de Geneva motif. Each of these decorations is performed by hand, just like it was the case for a circular-grained baseplate.
Montblanc Villeret 1858 Seconde Authentique timekeeper is fitted into an 18 K red gold 5N housing which is 36mm wide, as it has been mentioned. Its water resistance is 30 meters. The watch likewise sports a concave bezel which can be polished, or in one instance graced with two rows of diamonds (144 brilliant-cut stones with the total weight of 0.93 carats). Since it is a model made for ladies, it comes as no surprise that it has quite a delicate looking marqueterie dial with inlays from m-o-p and gold. The face sports Roaman numerals in black and a small seconds sub-counter at the bottom. On the crown of the m-o-p versions of the watch, we can see a Montblanc diamond with 43 faucets. The variation with gems on the bezel has additional 38 stones on the crown (the weight of about 0.1 ct). On the other hand, His and Her m-o-p and gold dialed version has the brand’s logo in mother-of-pearl. The attachment of choice is a hand-sewn alligator leather strap which is white for all of women’s models and brown for the single men’s one.