Pre-SIHH 2018 – Hands-On with the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, With New Movement
Last year, at the SIHH 2017, Montblanc introduced their own vision of the sports watch, with a completely redesigned TimeWalker collection – guided by Mister Davide Cerrato, known for being quite good in designing such watches. Presented in several editions, from 3-hand to UTC chronograph, the collection is again evolving, not with new complications, but with an interesting movement and design upgrade. Here is the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, which introduces a new movement and a cool Panda-Style.
The goal of the new Montblanc TimeWalker collection was simple: to give the brand a powerful and consistent offer in the important field of sports watches, a market segment that for MB has never been very successful. The base used was the previous TimeWalker line, an urbane and modern watch characterized by its originally shaped case (see an example here, showing the signature hollowed lugs), this watch never really was considered as a true sports watch. When arriving at Montblanc as Managing Director of the Watch Division, Davide Cerrato’s first mission was to create a bold sports watch, which he created by using some of the typical elements found in the TimeWalker.
For the SIHH 2018, Montblanc is about to bring a new version of the chronograph model, this time named the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph. As you’ve guessed by its name, something special ticks inside the case. This new version doesn’t come (yet…) as an outright replacement for the current Valjoux 7750-powered edition, but is presented as an additional piece, in one single style. Indeed, not only mechanical, the evolution is also about design and colours.
Design-wise, the new Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph unveils a quite cool panda layout, meaning a bright dial with black sub-dials. Previously designed with modernity and technicality in mind – silver or black dials, red accents, contrasting bezel in polished ceramic – the brand has decided to infuse a light dosage of vintage appeal in the watch. In this context, especially with the new 3-6-9 layout of the chronograph, this new colour combination is quite pleasant to the eye.
The rest of the watch, on the other hand, compared to the Valjoux-based version, doesn’t evolve. We have the same 43mm stainless steel case, with rather sharp angles and lugs, the same recessed parts on the sides of the case, the same brushed surfaces and the same polished black ceramic bezel. Pushers and crown are screwed and adorned with a thin knurled finishing. One difference with the existing versions is on the scale on the bezel, which is now a tachymeter – to be consistent with the motorsport/vintage look.
On the wrist, we are talking about a robust and masculine watch, with considerable presence. The sportiness of the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph is undeniable, and the Panda-dial, linked to the perforated brown leather strap, offers a new and lighter style to the model, which becomes less technical and slightly cooler… A matter of taste, of course. The new 3-6-9 layout also plays an important role in the design of the watch, bringing a pleasant balance to the dial.
The main novelty of this TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph sits on the back side, as it integrates a new “manufacture” movement. This calibre MB 25.10 is clearly to be seen as an upgrade compared to the reliable but commoner 7750 architecture. We’re talking about an integrated automatic chronograph movement, with column-wheel to start-stop-reset the chronograph functions. As an entry-level option into the manufacture movements, it keeps a more traditional horizontal coupling mechanism, instead of the complex and expensive vertical clutch seen on more high-end movements used by the Richemont Group.
Visible through the sapphire caseback, the calibre MB 25.10 is equipped with a black rhodium-plated tungsten “steering-wheel-shaped” rotor – just in case you forgot about the automotive inspiration of this piece. It is adorned with circular Geneva stripes, circular graining and blued screws. The column-wheel is visible thanks to a cut-out in the main bridge. The power reserve is comfortable at 55 hours and the movement features a date and a stop second. This movement remains quite utilitarian in its decoration and functions, yet it brings some real improvements, mechanically and visually, compared to the old 7750. The movement also goes through the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph will be officially presented at the SIHH 2018. It will be priced at EUR 4,990 on leather strap and EUR 5,290 on steel bracelet. It will be available in September 2018. More details on montblanc.com.
Technical Specifications – Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph
- Case: 43mm diameter x 15.20mm height – stainless steel, brushed – sapphire crystal on both sides – 100m water resistance
- Movement: Calibre MB 25.10 – automatic and integrated chronograph – 4Hz frequency – 55h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date
- Strap: perforated and aged brown leather strap
- Reference: 118488
- Price: EUR 4,990
- Availability: September 2018