The Only Watch charity auction has been responsible for many of the coolest one-off watches from the great and the good of the industry – and we’ve already introduced you to several pretty incredible pieces in the past weeks. So when we received the memo from Montblanc, with the news that they were creating a unique version of the Superb (with a capital “S” indeed…) 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, the idea left us, at the Monochrome redaction, with huge smiles on our faces. We all love the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, and its magnificent movement, but when it comes in a unique Bronze Case and Vintage Green Dial version, it instantly becomes even more amazing…
It’s amazing to see how many brands are being so enthusiastic in this 7th edition of Only Watch, and most of them are turning up with super-cool unique watches. Looking at some of them, you’d wonder why these unique pieces are not the ones you can actually buy at retailers, and this goes for the Unique Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter for Only Watch 2017. There are two reasons for that, and the first one is the base watch which has been used to create this one-of-a-kind edition. Back in 2015, Montblanc introduced a watch based on antique military / aviation chronograph made by Minerva. Externally, this watch had all the attributes of these highly praised watches: large case, cathedral hands, large luminous Arabic numerals and a highly pronounced 1930s look, full of small but important details that refer to Minerva’s production. Visually, this 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter was already quite something, and the final touch was to be seen on the back.
To power this 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, Montblanc decided to use a movement from the exact same era that inspired the watch, and a movement which is historically relevant – the Minerva calibre MB 16.29 monopusher – based on a super large chronograph movement, the 17.29 calibre, designed by Minerva in 1929. So not only did you have the vintage look but also the vintage mechanics, which in terms of modern production, is something almost unique. This calibre MB M16.29 relies on a column-wheel to actuate the chronograph functions, activated by the single push-piece that is built into the winding crown – thus requiring a complex set of levers. It also features a horizontal coupling (again, not very modern compared to vertical coupling of actual refined movements). Continuing in the old school style, we can see a large screw-regulated balance wheel and a swan-neck regulator. This movement comes with a single barrel providing 50 hours of power reserve, and it ticks at a slow frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. All components are decorated in a manual, and historically relevant way, and throughout the finishing is nothing short of exquisite…
For Only Watch 2017, Montblanc introduces new style elements to the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, with a 44mm bronze case (already seen on the most recent edition of this watch), matched with a new and never-seen-before vintage graduated green dial (darker on the edges). The leather strap matches the dial. On the back, the movement, with plates and bridges in German-silver, is presented in a red gold-plated version (as for the late 2016 bronze edition), giving this watch a vintage look all around.
Side note: It is surprising to see that both Montblanc and Tudor (see here) are presenting bronze watch with green dials for Only Watch 2017, knowing that Davide Cerrato, Ex-Tudor designer and product development, is now Head of the Watch Division at Montblanc… Just saying!
Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the 7th edition gathers a record 48 participants. Only Watch 2017 will be auctioned by Christie’s in Geneva in November 2017. For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com.
Technical Specifications – Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Only Watch 2017
- Case: 44mm large x 13.15mm thick – bronze case with titanium bronze plated caseback – sapphire on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre MB M16.29, Minerva based – manual winding – 50h power reserve – 18,000 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
- Strap: green alligator strap with bronze plated pin-buckle
- Reference: 118775
- Unique Piece for Only Watch 2017
- Estimate: CHF 28,000 – 35,000