Over at Montblanc, bronze is having a moment. For the first time in the company’s history, bronze is being used in its 1858 collection as part of its aesthetic.
Three new bronze timepieces have been revealed at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH): 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition 100, 1858 Automatic Dual Time, and 1858 Automatic.
The number 1858 refers to the year the Minerva Manufacture (later bought by the Richemont Group and solidly under Montblanc) was founded in Villeret, Switzerland, and is a collection that pays tribute to the Manufacture’s heritage and impeccable watchmaking expertise.
The watches are re-interpretations of past Minerva chronographs from the 1930s and boast a classic look. The timepieces feature the signature large cathedral hands, beige Super-LumiNova Arabic numerals, and the minute railway tracks that circle the dial. They also feature the vintage Montblanc logo from the 1930s.
Bronze was chosen because of its warm tone and ability to complement the overall vintage vibe. Perhaps the biggest appeal for watch aficionados is the fact that bronze has a transformable character to it. The bronze will, with time and various environmental factors, develop a patina that is unique to the owner over the years. It is, if you’re very sentimental, a diary that you can wear on your wrist or a visual memento of the passing time.
The most impressive is the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition, a model that is limited to only 100 pieces. Simply put, it’s a real stunner, from its Champagne-coloured dial to its 44mm bronze case and cognac-coloured alligator leather straps. A bronze-coloured titanium case back is used to avoid any allergic reaction, and is inset with a sapphire crystal pane to allow the wearer to admire the calibre.
And the calibre is indeed worth admiring. Inside the timepiece beats the Montblanc Manufacture calibre MB M16.29, a manually wound monopusher chronograph with a tachymeter scale. The calibre incorporates red gold in its design – the plate and bridges are plated in red gold – which has a visually appealing effect.
The 1858 Automatic Dual Time and the 1858 Automatic, on the other hand, feature black dials and a 44mm stainless steel case complemented by a bronze bezel and crown. The Automatic Dual Time features a day and night indicator at 12 o’clock, and a small date window inside a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
Both feature cognac-coloured calfskin straps that have been aged to give a classic look. On the stainless steel case back is an engraved illustration of the Minerva Manufacture set against the picturesque Jura Mountains.
Montblanc ambassador Hugh Jackmann helped the brand launch its new models at SIHH 2017.