Montblanc really hit a homerun with its 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, which until now has only been available in limited editions. This chronograph, which unsurprisingly won its category at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, is a real heart stopper for lovers of vintage good looks, clean and clear dials, and sensational manufacture movements.
And the latter is really where this charming stopwatch for the wrist excels: Caliber 16.29, whose architecture is derived from a beautiful Minerva pocket replica watch movement from 1929, has been lovingly and impeccably executed at the factory in Villeret, including gorgeous hand-finishing.
This purist’s chronograph illustrates perfectly how to utilize the Minerva heritage and know-how that Montblanc acquired in 2006.
And as good as that chronograph with its prominent vintage cues is, the brand-new limited edition of the Fake 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in bronze is that much better.
And this is where I must profess that I am still a little on the fence regarding this new “trend” in watchmaking, that of bringing bronze watches into more of a mass spotlight, effectively starting to turn its use from the odd, bold occurrence to a regular collection element. Some of these are more “me too” products and some look really good, but bronze – which changes color as it gets worn – doesn’t necessarily always add anything special (see Give Me Five! Bronze Watches At Baselworld 2016 From Hautlence, Urwerk, Bell & Ross, Tudor, And Oris to make up your own mind on this).
The 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition, however, is really right on the money with its special bronze alloy making the case look uniformly patinated to go along with the choice of champagne-colored dial.
This takes my breath away, truly.
And I will actually chalk it up to Davide Cerrato’s new influence on the copy montblanc timewalker twinfly chronograph greytec limited edition designs. Headhunting him away from Tudor was brilliant, and these first designs under his stewardship prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt (see Montblanc Creates New Watch Division Headed By Davide Cerrato, Previous Head Of Marketing, Design And Product Development Of Tudor).
This first use of bronze at Montblanc is a hit, and luckily Cerrato and his team thought of much more than just the dyed-in-the-wool collector set: along with the luxurious chronograph, the bronze line also includes a quite affordable automatic dual time and an automatic three-hander with date.
These cases are actually more two-tone stainless steel with bronze bezel, but the effect is still that of them being encased in bronze.
And differentiating them from the replica montblanc timewalker chronograph automatic timepiece even further, these two have black dials, making them look more like modern pilot’s watches – though from when would be a hard question to answer with just a quick glance.