In January of this year, we introduced Montblanc’s latest iteration of the Nicolas Rieussec lineage to you; the new Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec. It set itself apart from its siblings with a remarkable off-centre hour/minute dial. This dial shows a minute rail-track and the minutes; hours are not visible, until the lights dim and they shine in the dark. This Homage to Nicolas Rieussec Special Edition features an additional galloping horse that is both visible during the day (as outline), and in bright shining SuperLumiNova, when it’s dark.
I hear you think, why is there a horse on the dial? Well, to answer that we’ll have to look back to the year 1821, when Nicolas Rieussec’s “time writer” was used for the first time. In 1917 he was formally appointed as watchmaker to the king of France and on the king’s request he developed a “machine” that enabled them to measure time intervals. The idea was to use during the horse races, which was one of the king’s favourite activities. The result is the world’s first patented chronograph (this literary means time writer) and its looks and function have inspired Montblanc’s watchmakers.
Later more about the parallels between Nicolas Rieussec’s time writer and Montblanc’s iconic chronograph. As said, the horse refers to the ‘raison d’être’ of Nicolas Rieussec’s time writer. It looks like it’s printed on the white off-centre dial, and that’s indeed true, however there’s more. What I’m referring to, is something that can’t be seen during daytime, however during the darker hours of the day it reveals itself.
The off-centre dial is crafted from a hybrid ceramic. This ceramic disc is permeated with luminous pigments, in the shape of numerals – lovely classic Breguet style numerals – and a horse. This innovative technology has been exclusively created for Montblanc. The digits and horse are invisible in daylight because they’re precisely embedded into the hour ring, with which they share exactly the same colour. But when lights dim, the luminous pigments that fill the numerals begin to glow, and the numerals and horse appear on the dial.
The chronograph registers are positioned just below the off-center hour/minute sub dial. Exactly like Nicolas Rieussec’s time writer, the Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec Special Edition features two discs that rotate, once the chronograph is started. So no rotating hands, but rotating discs. In our review of the Nicolas Rieussec we explained exactly how this works.
The horse and “Paris – September 1 – 1821” and “Nicolas Rieussec” has been printed on the sapphire crystal in the case back. Through the crystal you can see the automatic manufacture Calibre MB R200. This is a magnificent movement! Its chronograph is controlled by a mono-pusher, and a column-wheel controls the actuation of the functions (start, stop, reset to zero). The connection between the gear-train and chronograph’s wheels is engaged / disengaged by a vertical coupling. This is the best coupling for a chronograph, because it functions nearly without wear and prevents the elapsed-time hands from jumping when the chronograph is switched on.
Calibre MB-200 has a double barrel that stores enough energy for 72 hours of continuous running. The large bridge is decorated with Geneva waves and have beveled, polished edges. A round aperture in the large bridge shows the column-wheel; just one of the beautiful aesthetics of Montblanc’s own chronograph movement.
Some specifications – Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec Special Edition
- Case: stainless steel (100 pc) or 18-carat red gold (30 pc), 43 mm in diameter and 14.8 mm in height, cambered sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both sides, screwed back includes transparent pane of sapphire crystal
- Movement: Montblanc manufacture calibre MB R200, automatic winding, mono-pusher with column-wheel and vertical coupling, 319 components, 40 jewels, 72 hours of power reserve, and many features that improve durability, chronometric rates and precision.
- Strap: black alligator-skin strap with large scales, pin buckle in 18-carat red gold or stainless steel.
The Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec Special Edition chronograph will be available in October 2014 in a limited edition of 30 red gold timepieces and 100 pieces in stainless steel.
More info: www.montblanc.com