Hands-on

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph, Now with a Handsome Salmon Dial

An accessibly priced monopusher chronograph with authentic vintage touches taken from Minerva’s rich past reappears with a salmon dial.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Rebecca Doulton | ic_query_builder_black_24px 5 min read |
Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon

A new edition of the Monopusher Chronograph in stainless steel with a salmon dial joins Montblanc’s highly successful Heritage family. Inspired by historical Minerva wristwatches from the 1940s and 1950s, the Heritage collection can boast true vintage credentials, not faux ones like so many watches spawned during the ongoing fever for retro. This latest combination of a steel case and a salmon dial offers the look and feel of the past but features contemporary sports watch dimensions and an automatic movement that won’t break the bank.

Background of the Heritage Collection

Montblanc’s classic Heritage collection, with early models like the Heritage Spirit Pulsograph or the Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar and Moonphase, was originally launched in 2014 when Jerome Lambert took the helm of the brand. Lambert’s strategy for this line was to offer a wide range of complications at affordable prices; at one point in its career, the Heritage Perpetual Calendar was one of the most affordable QPs on the market.

The Heritage line was completely revamped in 2019 with a new design focus based on historical Minerva wristwatches from the 1940s and 1950s. Montblanc acquired the historic manufacture in 2006, and since then has capitalised on Minerva’s expertise in the field of chronographs, especially monopushers. Like early stopwatches, capable of one single time measurement and actuated by one single pusher (in the crown or on the caseband), the concept of the monopusher chronograph harks back to the early days of elapsed time recorders. The former Heritage models, classic and beautiful in their own right, were now sitting alongside a range of models with impeccable vintage styling taken straight from Minerva’s archives and, in some cases, like the Heritage Pulsograph, even fitted with coveted Minerva exquisitely hand-finished movements.

Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph Rose Gold Brown Dial 126095
Also new for 2020, the Rose Gold & Brown Dial Pulsograph – also a monopusher chronograph, but with a high-end, historical Minerva movement (and a much higher price too)

This steel Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph made its debut in the 2019 Heritage collection but was presented with a silver dial. Now donning a salmon dial, this monopusher brings you the look and feel of vintage Minerva watches but is fitted with a modified, outsourced movement that allows it to flaunt its attractive price tag – close to seven times lower than its rose gold big brother, the Pulsograph.

In the pink

One of the most admired models during the 2019 debut of the Heritage collection was the abovementioned Monopusher Pulsograph with its salmon dial and manufacture Minerva movement. The combination of cold stainless steel and warm salmony-pink dial was spot on and has been used on the Heritage GMT and Heritage Automatic models since then. This year, the Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph gets a salmon dial and as you can see, looks amazing.

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon

Playing with textures, the outermost part of the dial is silky smooth and features the minute/seconds track picked out in blue with red numerals at 60, 15, 30 and 45. The long, slim central chronograph seconds hands is also blue with a red lacquered tip that rests with great precision on the track, marked with 1/5th of a second intervals.

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon

The chapter ring for the hours features a grained finish and applied Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock and studs for the remaining indices. Although the studs and numerals are not treated with luminescence, there is a luminous dot on the minute track for each hour marker. The only other trace of luminescence is along the backbone of the sharp dauphine-style hour and minute hands.

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon

The very centre of the dial, which is domed, has a lovely sunray finish and the two sub-dials are slightly recessed with snailed interiors. On the left is the small seconds counter with blue markings and hand, on the right the 30-minute counter for elapsed times, also with blue markings and a blue hand but with a red dash at 10, 20 and 30 mins. Like Breguet’s adroit use of different guilloché patterns to delimit complications and assist legibility, the different finishes on the dial not only add interest and depth but allow for precision readings. Completing the dial is the historic 1930s Montblanc logo with the silhouette of the mountain in the middle of the name and the mandatory vintage domed box-shaped sapphire crystal.

Monopusher case and sealed caseback

The stainless steel case features polished and brushed finishes and its dimensions – 42mm diameter x 14.7mm height – are definitely those of a contemporary sports watch.  Integrated directly into the crown, the monopusher for the chronograph means that there are no additional protrusions on the caseband.

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon

The caseback is sealed and features an engraving of the Minerva Manufacture in Villeret, smoking chimney stacks and all. Perhaps a little misleading since the movement is not one of those handcrafted beauties made by Minerva but nevertheless very satisfactory movement made in Montblanc’s Le Locle manufacture and the main reason this watch is affordable.

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon
A specificity of this watch, the chronograph’s start/stop/reset functions are actuated by a single pusher inserted into the crown.

Powering the Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph, the Calibre MB 25.12 is an automatic-winding monopusher chronograph movement with cam/lever architecture. The base is a Sellita SW 510 (a clone of the Valjoux 7750), which has been modified to a monopusher chronograph. Beating at 28,800vph/4Hz, the movement has undergone Montblanc’s 500 Hour Test. You can read all about what this test entails in this article.

Thoughts

If you’re in the market for a (monopusher) chronograph with legitimate – and very elegant – vintage roots, this is certainly an option to consider. The 1940s design codes are spot on and underscored with this beautiful salmon dial. Its more modern sports watch dimensions, robust movement and attractive price tag make the Heritage Monopusher the perfect daily beater. Perhaps a higher water-resistance of 100m would place this model firmly in the sports watch category, but in the meantime, water-resistance of 50m is enough for normal daily splashes.

Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph steel salmon

Strap and price

Richemont also owns a leather goods workshop in Florence where this grey “Sfumato” gradient alligator strap was made, which is held in place by a steel triple-folding clasp. The retail price of the Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph is EUR 5,000 or USD 4,950. More details at montblanc.com.

3 responses

  1. “Perhaps a little misleading since the movement is not one of those handcrafted beauties made by Minerva…”

    All credit to you Rebecca – when I scrolled down the article betting with myself that there wouldn’t be a photo of the caseback, I wasn’t surprised, but very glad you gave it some lipservice. It’s a shifty thing they’ve done there.

  2. Gav, its understandable that they have made some compromises to get the price down. This could be your “daily beater” for only €5000 so out goes Casio and in comes Montblanc!

  3. Phil, they haven’t made a compromise; they’re branding their standard fare to make it appear higher quality by association.

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