BUILD­ING ON A LEGACY

For its lat­est it­er­a­tion of the Timewalker col­lec­tion, Mont­blanc re­turns to Villeret to crys­tallise the essence of a pro­fes­sional sport watch.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Time - By KEN­NETH TAN Pho­tos FRANK HULSBOMER

At Santa Mon­ica beach, Mont­blanc had gath­ered mem­bers of its ex­clu­sive 4810 Club – the num­ber sig­ni­fies the height in me­tres of its name­sake

moun­tain – to pre­view its 2017 Mont­blanc Timewalker col­lec­tion.

Ear­lier that day, the group had been treated to a ses­sion with a trio of liv­ing leg­ends in rally rac­ing and au­to­mo­bile de­sign: Kiwi Rhys Millen, who tri­umphed in the US’ top drift­ing series of For­mula D; Fin­nish rally drive Ari Vata­nen turned mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (1999 to 2009); and Dane Hen­rik Fisker, the de­signer be­hind au­to­mo­tive icons such as the BMW Z8, As­ton Ma rt i n ’ s DB9, Fisker Karma and the GalpinFisker Mus­tang Rocket. His sage words re s ou nd e d through the room: “When you have the pas­sion for some­thing – it drives you to cre­ate ex­traor­di­nary things.”

Very much in the same vein, the clas­sic

“When you have the pas­sion for some­thing – it drives you to cre­ate ex­traor­di­nary things.”

cars that chauf­feured the group out to lunch at Larry Thorne Farm in Mal­ibu demon­strated the same ex­alted spirit of awein­spir­ing per­for­mance merged with out­stand­ing de­sign – icons of their time that grew into the leg­ends of to­day. For Mont­blanc, all of these shared qual­i­ties in de­sign, per­for­mance and legacy-build­ing mean­ing­fully leads back to its break­through Timewalker col­lec­tion, which de­buted to the world just last month at Geneva’s Salon In­ter­na­tionale de la Haute Hor­logerie (SIHH).

As stated by Jens Hen­ning Koch, Mont­blanc I nter na­tiona l ’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for mar­ket­ing, the idea of evolv­ing the mai­son’s pro­fes­sional sports watch line ger­mi­nated nearly two years ago. The rich trove of time­pieces at Mont­blanc’s high horol­ogy work­shop in Villeret – the former Min­erva man­u­fac­ture which it bought over – pro­vided in­spi­ra­tional foun­da­tion blocks.

“We found a rally timer that Min­erva had made in 1916 when they were re­ally into rac­ing,” Koch says. Even be­fore then, Min­erva’s ac­com­plish­ments had in­cluded stop­watches which mea­sured a 10th of a sec­ond be­fore its crown­ing achieve­ment of 1916 – which en­abled read­ings of a 100th of a sec­ond. Mont­blanc’s present- day re­flec­tion of this legendary stop­watch is man­i­fested in its top- of-the-line Timewalker Chrono­graph 1000 wristawatch (€ 175,000, RM825,000). Hark­ing back to the record­bust­ing spirit of Miner va’s 1916 tech­ni­cal abil­ity, this ex­clu­sive of fer­ing is lim­ited to only 18 pieces. Each is com­posed of a 46.4mm ti­ta­nium case, black DLC coat­ing – for scratch re­sis­tance – and a ti­ta­nium mono­pusher at 12 o’clock. In­side, the patented Man­u­fac­ture Cal­i­bre MB M66.26 of­fers en­gi­neer­ing wiz­ardry that re­sults in dual me­chan­i­cal

Min­erva’s ac­com­plish­ments had in­cluded stop­watches which mea­sured a 10th of a sec­ond be­fore its crown­ing achieve­ment of 1916 – which en­abled read­ings of a 100th of a sec­ond.

or­gans; the first to in­di­cate time and the sec­ond ded­i­cated to the chrono­graph. The lat­ter is able to mea­sure 1,000th of a sec­ond through a sym­phonic in­ter­play of a bal­ance run­ning at 360,000 semi- os­cil­la­tions per hour –and a tiny steel plate that in­stan­ta­neously holds this bal­ance the mo­ment the stop func­tion is trig­gered. Two patents and 22 aux­il­iary patents in­di­cate the in­no­va­tion within this high-fre­quency move­ment against a global back­drop of high horol­ogy.

Chrono­graph en­thu­si­asts will find plenty of in­ter­est in the con­struc­tion of these high­per­for­mance move­ments, with he­li­cal steel springs used for rapid start stop ver­sus the flat steel springs that break eas­ily when heav­ily stressed. The high-level watch­mak­ing at Mont­blanc’s Villeret man­u­fac­ture con­sid­ers all the in­ter­nal an­gles of its 488 com­po­nents re­sult­ing in a ro­bust, syn­chro­nous unit. To fur­ther aug­ment this point, Mont­blanc sub­jects each piece to its ar­du­ous Lab­o­ra­tory Test 500 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion – a sim­u­la­tion of in­tense real-life us­age across three weeks.

For Da­vide Cer­rato, Mont­blanc In­ter­na­tional’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for watches, the evo­lu­tion of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Time­walk­ers – launched in 2007 – into fully pro­fes­sional lux­ury sports watches hinged on the per­for­mance ex­pected by the mar­ket. “This meant com­bin­ing a sporty de­sign with el­e­ments of vis­i­bil­ity in low light­ing, over­all qual­ity in­clud­ing straps and clasps, wa­ter­proof­ness on the case, joints and pusher but­tons, as well as sub­ject­ing it to

The chrono­graph is able to mea­sure 1,000th of a sec­ond.

gru­elling con­di­tions which we do, in our Lab­o­ra­tory Test 500.”

To con­sol­i­date the her­itage of mo­tor rac­ing, ceramic bezels and per­fo­rated rub­ber straps were in­tro­duced in the cur­rent Timewalker vari­ants which also com­prise the Chrono­graph UTC, Chrono­graph Au­to­matic and Au­to­matic Date. In ad­di­tion, Min­erva’s his­tor­i­cal Rally Timer stop­watch which was used to record road rac­ing nearly a cen­tury ago be­comes the ba­sis of the ex­u­ber­ant Timewalker Chrono­graph Rally Timer Counter (€37,000). “I can’t re­mem­ber when I had worked on some­thing like this be­fore – a trans­formable, play­ful ap­proach which leaves a unique im­pres­sion,” Cer­rato says of the Chrono­graph Rally Timer Counter.

The func­tional de­sign on this piece al­lows it to seam­lessly con­vert from wrist­watch to pocket watch and even dash­board clock. Its 50mm sati­nated case is made of Grade Two ti­ta­nium with a knurled mid­sec­tion and mono­pusher, em­bel­lish­ing it with vin­tage char­ac­ter. An open case­back in the shape of a car grille of­fers fur­ther in­cen­tive for own­ers to ob­serve the beauty of the man­ual-wind­ing cal­i­bre MB M16.29, boast­ing col­umn wheel and hor­i­zon­tal cou­pling, re­call­ing the 1930s Min­erva cal­i­bre that was utilised for both pocket and wrist­watches. At the cli­mac­tic conclusion to the Timewalker pre­view, guests found them­selves at Honey­pot – a mod­ish creative space in down­town Los An­ge­les. Here, guests were greeted by sev­eral more Amer­i­can odes to high-per­for­mance ma­chines and rap­tur­ous de­sign. Among them were the 1957 Ford Thun­der­bird, 1963 Mer­cury Comet and 1958 Chrysler Im­pe­rial, one of only 1,800 that was built. It was also here where the com­plete show­ing of the Timewalker 2017 col­lec­tion was dis­played; from the Au­to­matic Date up to the king- ofthe-hill Chrono­graph 1000. “There are many sub­tleties which we in­tro­duced into the new Timewalker col­lec­tion to main­tain the iden­tity of this suc­cess­ful line,” Koch ex­plains. “When your start­ing point is al­ready a suc­cess­ful col­lec­tion, you have to be care­ful like you would with the body­work of an im­por­tant car. What we have achieved is the en­rich­ment of this col­lec­tion through pin­point

Ceramic bezels and per­fo­rated rub­ber straps were in­tro­duced in the cur­rent Timewalker vari­ants.

uses of red, guil­loche, the Min­erva ar­row, shiny ceramic on the bezel and spe­cial grid pat­terns to im­prove the tac­til­ity of this new col­lec­tion,” he points out.

Un­der the hood of the Chrono­graph 1000, the su­perla­tive new Man­u­fac­ture Cal­i­bre MB M66.26 re­mains a con­nois­seur’s de­sire. Mean­while, Cer­rato’s un­doubted touch in craft­ing this col­lec­tion her­alds a new gen­er­a­tion of Timewalker en­thu­si­asts; those who may be un­fa­mil­iar with the col­lec­tion but will un­doubt­edly iden­tify with the strong au­to­mo­bile rac­ing iden­tity – an iden­tity forged over gen­er­a­tions of gen­tle­manly com­pe­ti­tion and good sports­man­ship, from a cen­tury and over be­fore to­day. www.mont­blanc.comδ

The su­perla­tive new Man­u­fac­ture Cal­i­bre MB M66.26 re­mains a con­nois­seur’s de­sire.

The ti­ta­nium, sati­nated Timewalker Chrono­graph Rally Timer Counter may be mounted on a stand and fea­tures a crown with a knurled fin­ish.

Lim­ited to 18 pieces, the Timewalker Chrono­graph 1000 of­fers read­ings for the 1,000th of a sec­ond at a win­dow aper­ture at 12 o’clock, with a cor­re­spond­ing power re­serve read­ing at three o’clock.

At the din­ner gala of Mont­blanc’s Timewalker launch, guests were feted in a set­ting rem­i­nis­cent of vin­tage mo­tor rac­ing.

From above: Da­vide Cer­rato; icons of clas­sic cars and per­for­mance in­spired the new Timewalker up­dates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.