Last year, at the SIHH 2017, Montblanc introduced an entire collection focused on sports, the new Timewalker. The main source of inspiration for this collection was certainly Motorsport… But that was just a fraction of where these watches came from. In fact, there’s a longer story behind them, as the TimeWalker collection takes its DNA from early stop-watches made by Minerva (now owned by Montblanc) made for gentlemen drivers. On top of the range was a proper tribute piece, the Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph, and this exact same stop-watch, with superb movement, is now coming with a new, slightly vintage “reverse-panda” style.
While almost the entire TimeWalker collection was focussed on modernity (even though things are slightly changing this year), with sports watches featuring modern diameters, modern displays, modern colours and modern materials, the roots of this collection are to be found in Minerva’s past, at a time when gentlemen drivers relied on stop-watches to time their races. Minerva, the established Haute-Horlogerie manufacture property of Montblanc, is well known for two things: its superb chronograph movement and its military pilot watches. Both of these iconic characteristics have been used by Montblanc in various watches, such as the Heritage Spirit Pulsograph or the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter. However, the Motorsport lineage remained slightly obscure, until Davide Cerrato proposed the TImeWalker collection…
The true pinnacle of this Motorsport collection was to be seen with the Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph. A very singular watch you’ll admit. Large, weirdly shaped, strangely secured to the wrist. In fact, this piece is not just a wrist-chronograph, it is a 4-in-1 piece – a real transformer. Not only you can use it on the wrist as a watch or wrist-instrument when driving, but it has more capacities. First, it features a rotative case, that can be turned from 0 to 180 degrees (or from 3 to 9 o’clock), meaning that you can angle the watch in both directions, so it will be perfectly aligned when you drive, whether you wear it on the left or right arm.
Then, remove the strap and you’ll get 3 other ways to use the Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph. Take it in your hand and you’ll get a traditional stop-watch for when you’re on the side of the track. Deploy the two “hinged arms” on the back and you’ll have a desk-watch. Finally, clip it into a metal plate covered with leather attached to a car’s dashboard and you’ll have a perfect onboard instrument, essential when participating regularity rallies. Not only the design of the piece was inspired by antique Minerva stop-watches, but also the way to use this TimeWalker Rally Timer brings us back to the glorious days of Motorsport.
Inside the 50mm diameter case of lightweight and resistant grade 2 titanium sits a movement that is as historically relevant as the rest of the watch. Indeed, the Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph relies on an authentic, old-fashioned hand-wound movement, the Calibre MB M16.29, so to say, a modern, Haute-Horlogerie finished version of the Minerva 17.29 – a movement designed in the 1920s. Yes, that’s almost 100 years of heritage that ticks inside the case. This movement, also found in the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, is simply stunning: large (38.4mm, almost the size of a respectable watch), retro in its architecture (column-wheel, horizontal clutch, V-shaped bridge) and impressively decorated, it represents the added value of this watch. Finally, note that this is a true monopusher, with the chronograph being started, stopped and reset by the pusher which is integrated within the crown.
Now, about the new version of this Rally Timer Chronograph. Basically, the first batch of 100 pieces sold out pretty quickly, so for this year, we’ll have a new version, again limited to 100 pieces, with a new dial and a different strap. The 2017 edition was based on a black dial, enlightened with red accents. The 2018 edition shows a more vintage reverse-panda dial – black dial with white sub-counters – and is secured to the wrist by a brown Sfumato aged leather calf strap. With these two features, the Rally Timer gains in coolness and vintage appeal what it has lost in modernity… And here, at MONOCHROME, we won’t complain about that.
This 100-piece edition of the Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph with Reverse-Panda Dial will be available in September 2018, for a price of EUR 37,000. More details on www.montblanc.com.
Technical Specifications – Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph 2018
- Case: 50mm diameter x 15.20mm height – transformable case in grade 3 titanium (to be used on the wrist, as a pocket watch, as a desk watch or a dashboard instrument) – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre MB M16.29, in-house, certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 – hand-wound – 2.5Hz frequency – 50h power reserve – hours, minutes, small second, monopusher chronograph
- Strap: Brown Sfumato aged calf leather – also included is a Metal plate covered with leather to be screwed on a dashboard
- Reference: 118487
- Limited Edition: 100 pieces
- Availability: September 2018
- Price: EUR 37,000