Looking at recent collections by Montblanc, one series of watches clearly created a strong interest amongst the collecting community. You guessed it; the Minerva-inspired Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymetre and its superb (to say the least) hand-wound Monopusher movement. One not-so-superfluous problem though with these watches… Their prices. Well, if you like the Military- and vintage-inspired Minerva chronographs and if you have a normal budget, MB has the solution at the SIHH 2018: the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph.
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph (left) next to a 1930s Minerva Chronograph (right)
The recipe is simple and well-known… but it works. Take most of the design elements of the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter watches, meaning a military/pilot-style chronograph with cathedral hands, 1930s overall look, slightly modernized but not too much and, instead of the hand-finished monopusher movement, use a more standard automatic chronograph. The look without the price… This is exactly what the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph is.
This 1858 Automatic Chronograph takes advantage of the hype created by the previous (and relatively expensive) limited editions. Its case measures a reasonable 42mm and shows a combination of brushed surfaces and some polished details, such as the bevels that run along the casebands and the lugs. The case is indeed in the vein of military/pilot watches from WWII, yet with a few nice details to slightly modernize it.
The dial of the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph also reflects that same Minerva inspiration, with military-style cathedral hands and large Arabic numerals filled with cream luminous paint. The choice was made to stick to the classic bi-compax layout, again more in line with vintage watches of the era. A good point is the absence of text and date on the dial, with the exception of Montblanc’s historic logo.
The 1858 Automatic Chronograph will be available in two versions:
- Steel case, black sunburst dial, cognac-coloured aged calf leather strap – ref. 117836
- Steel case, black sunburst dial, black & grey Nato strap – ref. 117835
- Bronze case, smoked champagne dial, cognac-coloured aged calf leather strap – ref. 118223
Inside this new model ticks an automatic chronograph movement, the calibre MB 25.11 based on a Sellita SW-510 – a robust movement based on the 7750-architecture – modified to only display the small second and the 30-minute counter, without the date feature. It is however certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.
The 1858 Automatic Chronograph makes a nice entry in the collection, as an “accessible” version of the superb Minerva chronographs. It will be priced between EUR 4,000 and EUR 5,000 (to be confirmed). More details on montblanc.com.