It’s getting towards the end of the year and starting to get very cold (or very hot, depending on which hemisphere you live in). The Christmas decorations have already been up for weeks, and the office parties are about to get in full swing. To a watch lover, all of this can only mean one thing: it’s time for some SIHH 2018 previews! Never one to disappoint, MONOCHROME has everything you need to know about the new models coming out next year, regardless of whether you’ve been naughty or nice. To whet your appetite, here’s a hands-on look at the new and classically-designed Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph.
In 2018, Montblanc will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its popular Star Legacy Collection. To mark the occasion, Montblanc has so far previewed two new models from the collection; the Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph and the Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph. Today we will be focusing on the latter.
Reflecting the importance of this collection to the brand and its customers, Montblanc has retained the core DNA but enhanced the level of finishing and the sophistication of the design. Taking inspiration from Minerva pocket watches, such as the Gold Hunter Calibre 19’’ from 1927, both models feature round cases with a curved finish on the sides, giving a refined and shaped pebble effect, along with horns that have stepped sides. The crowns also stand out with their recognisable and easy-grip onion-shape.
Presented in a 42mm x 14.23mm steel case, the Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph (ref. 118514) features a silvery-white dial complete with redesigned black Arabic numerals and classic blued leaf-shaped hands. The dimensions would suggest it’s a little on the large side, however, the curved finish of the case and lugs ensures a snug fit on the wrist. A nice but subtle touch is the railway minute track running around the periphery of the dial, outlined by a beautiful filet sauté guilloche finish. If you look closely you will notice that the minute track has dots instead of lines, an unusual yet not unwelcome twist.
The layout of the dial is clean and well-balanced and follows a fairly standard 3, 6, 9 format for the chronograph display. Time is displayed centrally, as are chronograph seconds, with the central second hand finished in blued steel with the Montblanc emblem as a counterweight. Running seconds meanwhile are displayed on the sub-counter at 9 o’clock, whilst the 30-minute and 12-hour counters can be found at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock respectively. The latter also features a beautiful inlay of the Montblanc emblem, a trademark of watches from the Star collection.
One thing that does look out of place on the dial, in my opinion at least, is the date window at 4:30. I appreciate the added functionality but I feel that it interrupts the clean design of the watch face, particularly because the white disc contrasts awkwardly against the silvery-white of the dial. It’s not a deal-breaker but I definitely would have preferred to see this dial without the date window, but that’s just me.
Inside is the Montblanc Calibre MB 25.02, an automatic movement with chronograph and date functionality, based on the Valjoux 7753 architecture. Visible through the sapphire caseback, it is simply finished with some nice striping on the rotor. Featuring 27 jewels and operating at 28,800vph, it offers a max power reserve of 46 hours. A solid workhorse that offers good value for the money, you really can’t ask for much more.
Completing the look is a soft blue Sfumato alligator leather strap hand-crafted by the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, Italy. New to the Star collection, the Sfumato effect is based on a painting technique developed during the Renaissance by the great masters. It involves lightly applying four layers of paint to each individual piece of leather, creating a special finish that offers a subtle transition between colours and tones. Really quite special in person. The strap is closed by a stainless-steel triple folding clasp.
In addition to the model we got hands-on, there will also be a version with a slate grey dial and grey Sfumato alligator leather strap (ref. 118515). Both models will retail for a modest EUR 3,990. More details on www.montblanc.com.
Technical Specifications – Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph
- Case: Diameter 42mm x Thickness: 14.23mm – steel – Sapphire crystal – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre MB 25.02 – self-winding – 46h power reserve – 4Hz frequency – 27 jewels – hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
- Strap: Blue Sfumato alligator leather crafted by the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, Italy with stainless steel triple folding clasp
- Reference: 118514
- Price: EUR 3,990