Contemplate the entire world… through the eyes of a watch collector. With the Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres, you’ll be able to do so but not only. What you’ll contemplate is superb, high-end watchmaking, a piece that shows what Montblanc can do best. Already introduced at the SIHH 2015 in a warm red gold case with a bright dial, the Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky now comes in a new (but highly limited) edition, with a white gold case and a dial partially covered with aventurine – and we had the chance to get our hands on this superb piece.
The Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky is part of the Villeret collection of Montblanc, meaning the pieces produced by hand, by highly skilled watchmakers and with a superb level of execution. It’s actually interesting to see that the brand can play on both sides, with complicated pieces priced way bellow the average level of the industry, like for instance the Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar, so-to-say the cheapest perpetual calendar available on the market (under 10.000 Euros in steel) or on the other side of the range, with highly complicated chronographs (based on Minerva movements and with automatons, like this Montblanc Metamorphosis II) or with tourbillons (like this Exotouqbillon Rattrapante). The Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky plays in the second category and this watch, whatever the edition, is a stunning piece.
Technically, the Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky combines a one-minute tourbillon, a world time function with 24-hour-time-zones for the southern and northern hemisphere, a second time-zone / home-time display and, of course, an indication of the local time via traditional hands. The main specificity of this watch remains these two globes on the lower half of the dial and the ability to show the 24 time-zones of the world, both in the southern and northern hemispheres. Usually, world-time watches only display the 24 time-zones of the northern part of the world – guess the southern has no importance for most brands…
The two miniature globes are hand-engraved and hand-painted. These two halved balls indicate in relief the outlines of the continents, their borders and the oceans that separate them. Their detailed design also shows the circles of latitude and longitude. These globes are fixed and it’s the two 24-hour rings around that rotates once a day to display the night and day areas. The detail and finish of these two globes is splendid and can be called “métiers d’art”. It’s precise, full of details but not perfect either, leaving a tiny bit of imperfection to remember that hands created them.
Just below these two globes sits a small subsidiary dial that display a second time-zone, that will be used as a home-time indicator while traveling or as a day and night indicator while at home. Right in the center of the Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres are the traditional hands that display the main time – or the local time while traveling. All these indications (globes, second time-zone and main hands) are affixed to a raised plate made of 18k gold and finished with a frost surface, coated in dark grey. The second part of the dial, the upper half, sits on another, lower level that enclosed the second attraction of the watch: the one-minute Tourbillon Cylindrique.
First of all, this area of the dial is made of dark blue aventurine (a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect). Then, popping our of the dial is the tourbillon, characterized by its huge diameter, its specific hairspring and a stunning bridge on top. The Calibre MB M68.40 features this 91-part tourbillon mechanism with a cylindrical hairspring, known for both their beauty, their complexity and finally, their precision. Like a conventional balance-spring, a cylindrical balance-spring is a concentrically wound elastic metal wire. However, instead of being wound side by side, at increasing distances from a common centre and all on the same plane, its individual turns are all of equal diameter and are wound one atop the other. This eliminates the slight eccentricity of the centre of gravity, which has always been the Achilles’ heel of the conventional balance-spring. The complexity for Montblanc was to produce this kind of cylindrical balance-spring in a smaller size (to be fitted in a wristwatch like the Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky).
The tourbillon itself features a balance wheel that measures a huge 14.5mm diameter. It ticks at 18,000 vibrations per hour, or 2.5 Hz, ensuring a power reserve of 48 hours. As most of the indications and parts are located on the dial side, the movement remains quite simple in its layout – even if finished with Haute Horlogerie standards (bridges with hand-polished angles, sun ray pattern on the ratchet, perlage on the main-plate…). The final storm comes with the tourbillon bridge, with its typically Montblanc shape and a superb mirror polish on rounded and domed parts.
How does all of these indications operate? Quite simply actually. After pulling the crown outwards, the user can set the local time and simultaneously adjust the worldtime display along the two globes’ 24-hour scales. The corresponding buttons on the case are used for the fine adjustment of the local time in the centre and the home time on the compass rose at 6 o’clock, which runs along with the local time. Once all indicators have been correctly synchronized, a new local time in a different time zone can be set simply by pressing the push-piece at 8 o’clock. Operating this pusher advances only the hours-hand in single-hour increments.
What about the wearability? Well, after a quick check of the specs-sheet, you could be scared, as this watch measures 47mm in diameter and 15.4mm in height. Considering this size and the fact that the case is made of solid 18k white gold, you could easily expect to have a brick on your wrist… which is not the case. Of course, don’t expect the same feeling as with a Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Ultra Slim but the Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky remains friendly on the wrist, with lugs that are highly curved and follow the curvature of the wrist. It’s big, it’s heavy but not overly massive – and when you have such a dial, you have to have a watch large enough to sport it.
The Montblanc Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres NightSky is clearly an impressive, complicated and highly desirable dream machine that shows that Montblanc can be very good on both sides of the range, with attractive watches priced at 3.000 Euros or hyper-complicated pieces like this 275.000 Euros Geospheres (including taxes, limited to 18 pieces). Montblanc.com.