For 2015 Montblanc will be revamping the design of the TimeWalker, beginning with three new models: the Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed Chronograph, TimeWalker Urban Speed automatic and TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC. The changes are minimal, so the recognizable TimeWalker style will remain intact. These new TimeWalker models will be launched with Montblanc’s new e-Strap, making Montblanc the first in the world of high-end watchmaking to offer connectivity with your smart phone! And if you’re wondering, yes, it’s actually quite cool!
Montblanc’s TimeWalker collection has been on the market for quite some years, and they’ve won the hearts of many collectors and aspiring watch collectors. The recognizable shaped lugs – an interesting story on itself – and large Arabic numerals for hour markers can be found on all models in the TimeWalker collection. On the new models these Arabic numerals are slightly smaller, and therefore the design seems more balanced.
For the three Urban Speed variations of the TimeWalker, we see a red rim around the sapphire crystal, all three chronograph hands are red – to set them apart from the hands that indicate the regular time – and the bezel is made of black ceramic. The Micro-blasted stainless steel round case measures 43mm in diameter and is 14.4mm thick. Inside ticks the automatic calibre MB 25.07 (base Selitta SW500 calibre) that delivers 46 hours of power reserve, at a beat rate of 28,800 vph (4Hz).
Montblanc Extreme Leather
Here is the new TimeWalker Urban Speed Chronograph on the Montblanc Extreme Leather strap. The new e-Strap (more about that later) is made of the same leather, which is created by the Montblanc Pelleteria in Florence. Due to its innovative manufacturing process, the upper surface of the leather wristband has a characteristic carbon appearance. The leather is textured and simultaneously impregnated with a treatment that not only coats the surface of the wristband, but also bonds with it and increases its structural strength. This technique produces leather that is abrasion resistance, water repellent and heat-, wear-, water- and fire-resistant.
All together the Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed Chronograph (what’s in a name) offers a sportier style than the TimeWalker collection had until now. And so are the two other TimeWalker Urban Speed models, of which we unfortunately haven’t received any images yet. With the new e-Strap the official retail price is € 2,990 Euro for TimeWalker Urban Speed automatic e-Strap, € 3,990 Euro for the TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC e-Strap and the pictured TimeWalker Urban Speed Chronograph e-Strap is available for € 4,690 Euro (all including VAT/Tax).
Now let’s have a look at the e-Strap and immediately make clear that I’m usually rather sceptical when it comes to smart watches. I know that the entire Monochrome team loves mechanical watches, and wouldn’t consider, not even for a second, to replace our beloved mechanical watches for a SMART watch.
Then there are the SMART bracelets, like the Nike Fuel bracelet, which offer connectivity to your smart phone, and which are mainly used to keep track of several health variables. What Montblanc offers here, is actually something that is much more than such a health monitoring bracelet, and moreover, it will be integrated in your watch strap instead of being a separate bracelet.
Some months ago, we already covered the Modillian Smart Strap, which actually is a clasp, connected to your smart phone, that vibrates to alert the wearer of an incoming phone call, email, text message, etc. Exactly the thing that I think is rather useless. In fact, I would go nuts if my watch bracelet (clasp) would vibrate with every incoming phone call or email.
Montblanc’s e-Strap is an interchangeable strap, with an integrated device that offers an activity tracker, smart notifications, remote controls and Find-Me functions. It connects, via Bluetooth Low Energy, to selected Android and iOS smartphones. With all these functions, it eliminates the need for a smart bracelet, and that’s a good thing! And even some of the functions sound rather interesting. Of course we’ll report about the e-Strap again, after we’ve had the chance to test it thoroughly.
Here’s a condensed list of what it can do:
- Notifications are signalled by vibrations, which provide an alert of incoming communication without the need to look at the smartphone. It enables the preview of e-mails by topic and sender, read text messages, see incoming calls and status updates of social media feeds or reminders of important upcoming meetings, all on the wrist.
- Activity tracker is a simple tool to monitor the wearer’s physical activity over time and keep track of his personal daily goals.
- Remote controls for controlling the smartphone’s camera to taking of pictures by triggering the shutter with a tap on the e-Strap thus allowing better and easier selfies or group shots.
- Playing, pausing, and skipping music on the smartphone can be also remotely steered with the music control function of the e-Strap.
- ￼Find-Me function allows searching for the watch or phone within a range of up to 30 meters.
The e-Strap device has an inbuilt touch screen display, readable in daylight, to display the information and navigate through the functionalities. Depending on usage, the device needs to be recharged every 5 days (can be done by a standard micro-USB cable) and it can be connected to a choice of smart phones (Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, Note 3, Note 4, several Android devices, as well as Apple iPhones.) Later this year Montblanc will be offering the e-Strap device with other NATO straps, however now it’s being introduced with the TimeWalker Urban Speed watches.
More info: www.montblanc.com