Over the top
Montblanc’s new tourbillon suspends in mid-air with just half a bridge.
Watchmaking at Montblanc happens at two sites within Switzerland. Le Locle is its highvolume manufacture that produces most of the entry-level pieces up to medium complications, while Villeret is its exclusive heritage-rich manufacture producing small quantities of finely handcrafted haute horlogerie treasures. Increasingly synergistic, the two manufactures crosspollinate ideas and expertise, resulting in stronger and more cohesive collections under one brand name, Montblanc.
The Star Legacy line is a new interpretation of the previous Star collection, which featured predominantly bread-and-butter models with externally sourced movements. Now though it is inextricably linked to Montblanc’s Villeret spirit, specifically, the old Minerva manufacture established in 1858. (Minerva is the name of the manufacture in Villeret before Montblanc took over.) This means that every Star Legacy timepiece will be made with classical finishing and design that’s traditional but also innovative in terms of watchmaking finesse.
Leading the charge is the Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon, a watch that sounds complicated—and it is—but actually isn’t too difficult to understand. First up, Montblanc’s Exo Tourbillon is a patented design that improves on the traditional tourbillon. Exo here is derived from the Greek word for external, and it refers to the fact that the balance wheel is placed outside the tourbillon carriage—in classical tourbillons, the balance wheel is placed inside the carriage. This frees the carriage of the weight of the balance wheel and liberates the balance wheel of the inertia of the carriage. Moreover, by uncaging the balance wheel, Montblanc could increase the diameter of the balance, thus increasing chronometric accuracy.
This construction elevates the large balance wheel 3.2mm higher than the dial, resulting in a stunning architecture and Montblanc highlights this feature by using a tourbillon bridge with only one arm. Because of its asymmetrical design and the extra-long axis for the balance, the Suspended Exo Tourbillon was more complex to assemble than ordinary tourbillons.
One of the most charming features here is the ode to Minerva: a large balance wheel with a frequency of 18,000vph. Another nod to the legendary manufacture is an arrow-shaped mirrorpolished barrel pawl—a signature of all Minerva movements.