124 Exo Evolution
The Montblanc Timewalker line receives its first tourbillon in the form of the Timewalker Exotourbillon Minute Chronograph
Montblanc’s Timewalker Exotourbillon Minute Chronograph
Montblanc doesn’t usually make tourbillons, but when it does, it makes tourbillons unlike anything you’ve ever seen. At the moment, the manufacture has two proprietary tourbillon regulators, both of which are patented: the tourbillon bicylindrique and the one-minute Exotourbillon. Launched in 2010, the Exotourbillon has steadily grown to become Montblanc’s poster boy for high complications, and rightly so, because of all the improvements to chronometry it comes with.
The Exotourbillon’s revolutionary geometry circumvents problems faced by traditional tourbillons while preserving the beauty and functionality of the mechanism. Its extra-large screw balance sits atop instead of being contained within the tourbillon carriage. This means that the carriage can be made smaller – and consequently lighter – and not be bogged down by the weight of the balance. At the same time, the balance is not affected by the inertia of the carriage, so precision is improved. According to Montblanc, the Exotourbillon construct yields a 30 per cent saving in power from the going train.
An extra feature of the Exotourbillon that really got the boffins buzzing is the stop-second mechanism. It is not exactly revolutionary – many other luxury marques also offer this feature – but it’s how the mechanism here works so seamlessly with the tourbillon that’s extraordinary. Normal stop-seconds devices utilise a spring that falls onto the carriage in order to stop the balance (because the balance would usually be contained within the carriage). This causes the balance to swing, which upsets precision. In the Exotourbillon, the spring stops the balance wheel itself, instead of the carriage, thus allowing time to be stopped, and started more accurately, which is about the whole point of having the stop-seconds function.
Now available in the Timewalker line, the Exotourbillon sports a dynamic new look anchored on state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing processes – otherwise known as the Timewalker DNA. Large openings, minimised bezels, contoured typography, lancet-shaped hands, and skeletonised horns meet high-tech materials like titanium, carbon fibre, and diamond-like carbon (DLC). The Timewalker Exotourbillon Minute Chronograph truly combines performance with design. Apart from the tourbillon regulator, this timepiece also proffers a single push-piece chronograph activated by the button at eight o’clock and read off the two semi-circular counters with double-edged hands.
Yet, in spite of the two perennially popular high complications, the watch’s cutting-edge design is arguably its main selling point. Its threepart case matches a micro-blasted Dlc-coated titanium bezel with a carbon fibre case middle speckled with horizontal stripes instead of the more typical mesh motif. This component was made first by layering several dozen carbon fibre sheets, each oriented at 90 degrees to the preceding one, and fused with artificial resin at high temperature and pressure. The resulting carbon fibre block is then stamped through perpendicularly to produce a monobloc piece, which is then clamped into place with two pierced longitudinal titanium brackets.
Altogether, the Timewalker Exotourbillon Minute Chronograph is haute horlogerie for the contemporary set – the young and the restless, if you will. Its grey, black, and red colour palette amps up the sporty vibe, while its sapphire case back shows off horological substance, proving that when Montblanc makes high complications, it wants to truly innovate and not produce something that already exists. MOVEMENT Self-winding Calibre MB R230 with one-minute patented Exotourbillon, stop-second mechanism, monopusher chronograph, and approximately 50-hour power reserve
CASE 44mm in titanium and carbon fibre, water resistant to 30m
STRAP Black alligator leather with red stitching and satinated titanium pin buckle
PRICE $55,100 (limited to 100 pieces)