Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar
Let’s cut to the chase here – a perpetual calendar for less than US$13,000 doesn’t happen. Until now that is. Montblanc has just usurped Jaeger-LeCoultre’s position for offering the most affordable high-end perpetual calendar. The Master Ultra Thin perpetual was a shade under $20,000 and that was an unprecedented price. The common link here is of course former CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jérôme Lambert – who took the CEO role at Montblanc in July 2013. This is a bold statement and the harbinger of yet more changes at Montblanc.
The watch itself has created a wave of talk, so full marks for winning attention. As it should, this watch is the flagship piece in the new Meisterstück Collection. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Meisterstück range of writing instruments, the whole collection is an elegant depiction of restraint and traditional styling. The perpetual calendar or ‘QP’ (quantieme perpetuel) measures in at a demure 39mm and is powered by the Calibre MB 29.15, which is self-winding and has a 42- hour power reserve.
It would be remiss of me not to mention some aspects of the Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar, which may not be to everyone’s taste. The partially recessed subdials are a little cramped together, whereas the dates numbers have been flipped, the day and month indications must be read upside down on the bottom of each dial. But these are minor and finickity points in the bigger picture – which involves the price being $12,800 in steel and $21,000 in rose gold.
Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs
It’s a difficult task to try and quantify the value of any of the watches on display and for sale at SIHH. How do these brands arrive at the final price point? By what criteria do they gauge that all-important final price tag?
Can you calculate the value of the materials used, the salaries of all those involved on a pro rata basis for the contribution to each watch, an additional increment to account for the period of research and development required, and then add a suitable amount to reflect the prestige of the brand itself?
Is there a common method shared by multiple brands for ascertaining the most appropriate and suitable price point? It reminds me of something my father once said about any item’s real value, “It’s not how much it’s worth, but how much you can sell it for.”
Value is subjective and lies with the beholder. If it’s worth 50 grand in the purse holder’s mind – then, all notions of value for money are, illogically or not, out the window. Which brings us to the Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs
The response to this new model in the category of ‘Poetic Complication’ was unanimously positive. A relatively simple and instant hit. The watch was conceived in conjunction with Agenhor (Atelier Genevois d’Horlogerie) a company with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht at the helm. Wiederrecht recently worked with Hermès on their poetic Le Temps du Suspendu watch, and now his magic is all over the 'Time here & time elsewhere' from Van Cleef & Arpels.
A dual timezone watch with only one hand, the time is told by the solitary hand indicating minutes on a 0-60 fanned track on the left side of the dial, the hour ‘here and elsewhere’ is indicated by numbers within the two apertures at 11 and 5. These change simultaneously as they are connected to a single section that synchronizes the two hour discs and the retrograde minute hand. When 60 minutes are up on the minute track, the hand clicks back to zero and the two hour numbers increase.
Like truth, beauty is best when it is simple. The uncomplicated display and almost minimalist code of this timepiece makes it outstanding. And therefore its value is what someone is willing to pay for such artistry.
It counts me out at US$41,000, but I’m sure there’ll be watch fans scrabbling to get their orders in.