Among Montblanc’s releases during Watches & Wonders 2021 is a new version of its Heritage Perpetual Calendar. The novelty here is the new warm brown dial colour described by the brand as burnt caramel. Like its 2019 predecessor, the new Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar captures the spirit of historical Minerva timepieces and is powered by the brand’s patented and proprietary automatic calibre MB 29.22.
The Heritage collection was born in 2014 when Jérôme Lambert took the helm of Montblanc. The idea was to offer a selection of complications with a dash of vintage appeal and affordable prices. The Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar, powered by a Sellita movement with a Dubois Depraz module on top, was in its day, one of the most affordable QPs on the market. Although its price was attractive, the 2014 QP had its detractors who didn’t like the empty dial and the sub-counters clustered in the centre. In 2019, the Heritage line was revisited with a new design focus based on historical Minerva wristwatches from the 1940s and 1950s. Although Minerva was famous for its chronographs, one of the models released during SIHH 2019 was the Perpetual Calendar LE100. A compendium of design elements mined from the Minerva archives, the watch oozed vintage vibes.
Case and Dial
The elegant polished 18k rose gold case has a diameter of 40mm and a height of 12.25mm. Despite its prevailing retro appeal, the case size is contemporary without being massive and has gracefully rounded case bands and short, tapered lugs that sit well on the wrist.
The combination of the warm rose gold case, and the even warmer brown dial is very attractive. Reminiscent of original Minerva timepieces, the dial is domed and, in this case, lacquered in a burnt caramel colour. The dial displays three different textures: the centre has a sleek sunray decoration, the three sub-dials are snailed in their interior, and the hour ring has a grainé or grained surface. Moreover, the dial has a sfumato (fumé, gradient) effect with a lighter shade of brown in the centre that intensifies to a darker shade as it reaches the external minutes track. The brown alligator strap accompanying the watch also has a sfumato effect like the dial.
The recessed sub-dials are well integrated on the dial to produce a pleasing, balanced effect. The counter at 9 o’clock houses the days of the week and a 24-hour scale indicating day/night picked out in white and black; the counter at 3 o’clock is for months and the leap year, while the date and phases of the moon appear at 6 o’clock. Rose gold-plated hands, except the black lacquered hand for the leap years, indicate all the calendar functions. The grained surface of the chapter ring has rose gold-coated applied dot hour markers and an applied Arabic numeral 12, all filled with luminescent material. The dauphine hands corresponding to the hours and minutes are also rose gold-coated, luminescent, and the minutes hand slightly bent to adapt to the dial’s curvature. The historic Montblanc logo with a mountain in between Mont and Blanc is depicted in white below 12. Last but not least, the perpetual calendar also offers GMT functionality with a central skeletonised GMT hand.
MB 29.22 Bi-directional setting
The sapphire crystal on the caseback of the Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar reveals automatic calibre MB 29.22 beating at 28,800vph/4Hz with a 48-hour power reserve. This proprietary, patented, and highly sophisticated movement is produced exclusively for Montblanc at Val Fleurier (Richemont’s integrated manufacture). Unlike most perpetual calendars that use levers, the MB 29.22 relies on wheels and cams. The advantage of wheels and cams is that the calendar indications can be set via the crown in both directions (bi-directional setting).
Thanks to an in-built safety mechanism, it prevents any settings between 6 and 12 pm to avoid damaging the movement. Moreover, the movement is certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500. Although Montblanc didn’t provide any photos of the movement, it’s safe to assume that it is machine-decorated like the 2019 version with a customised rotor.
Availability & Price
The Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar is limited to 100 pieces and will be available in June 2021 at a retail price of EUR 24,900.
More information at Montblanc.