Right on the Mark: Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph ‘Blue Arrow’ P.05

A refreshing, spirited take on one of the most beautiful chronographs in watchmaking.

Following its collaboration with Czapek & Cie., Collective Horology, the California-based watch club founded in 2018 by Asher Rapkin and Gabe Reilly, is back with another spectacular limited edition. In the last five years, Collective has produced seven limited editions divided between two series: “Collective,” which highlights the duo’s favorite watch brands such as Zenith and IWC, and “Portfolio,” aimed at showcasing the work of high-end independent watchmakers like J.N. Shapiro and Armin Strom. The eighth limited edition, a collaboration with Montblanc, is an interesting one. Although Montblanc is not an independent watchmaker, the watch is part of the Portfolio series, simply because it houses one of the finest chronograph movements on the market.

Montblanc began its foray into watchmaking in 1997 with watches powered by ETA movements. But it was the integration of the historic Minerva manufacture in 2007 that really moved the needle, giving Montblanc true watchmaking prowess. The legendary luxury pen maker has firmly established itself in the realm of watchmaking today, employing a distinctive multi-tier manufacturing strategy that encompasses entry-level timepieces equipped with either Sellita or mass-produced in-house movements, while also delving into the pinnacle of haute horlogerie, notably with chronograph movements adapted from legendary stopwatch calibers produced by Minerva in the early 20th century.

The Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05 edition is based on the “Red Arrow” version released last year. The “Red Arrow” model leaned into its pilot’s watch inspiration, featuring a high contrast of faux patina on the numerals and white scales against a black dial. Collective’s P.05 “Blue Arrow,” however, is a spirited and sporty take on the watch. While it maintains the same stainless steel case with a white gold fluted bezel, its new dial colors add a layer of nuance and dazzle that underscore the value of such collector-focused collaborations.

Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05
Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05

It was a Minerva yacht timer offered by Eric Wind of Wind Vintage that ignited their creative journey. It featured a tricolored 15-minute countdown timer against a white dial that had aged to a creamy yellow patina. Gabe Reilly, elaborated, saying, “When we saw a mid-century Minerva stopwatch sitting in Eric Wind’s case, lightning struck. Not only was the historical significance of Minerva palpable and compelling, but the opportunity to create a sportier take on the current collection was clear as day. Needless to say, we immediately purchased the stopwatch, and began work on design.” Subsequently, they delved extensively into researching various Minerva stopwatches to formulate the color palette for this watch.

The result is a dial adorned with a dynamic color scheme that also tangentially recalls the eye-catching regatta wristwatches of the ’60s and ’70s. It is executed in glossy white lacquer with yellow registers for subtle contrast. The central chronograph and minute totalizer hands are thermally blued, distinguishing them from the lumed pencil style hour and minute hands and running seconds, which are coated black. The telemeter scale on the outer rim and a snail-shaped tachymeter in the middle are in a vivid sky blue, lending the watch a unique identity of its own. And along the periphery of the dial is the eponymous “Blue Arrow” which can be operated bidirectionally using the rotating bezel.

Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05
A striking double-signed dial executed in white lacquer with the chronograph seconds and minute hands in blued steel

Most notably, this is one of the only Montblanc watches where the Montblanc logo shares its real estate with Minerva. Positioned at six o’clock on the dial is the distinctive Minerva logo featuring its iconic spear. Today, Montblanc offers a bewildering array of chronographs which are powered by movements across various price points. This emblem immediately sets it apart from the rest, indicating the presence of a Minerva movement.

The top surfaces of the lugs and the caseband are satin-finished and are separated by a distinctive polished bevel. At 42mm in diameter, the case undeniably leans toward the larger end of the spectrum but its expansive dial has been put to good use, accommodating the blue arrow that can be used as a zero marker to track elapsed time or operate as a countdown timer.

Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05
The satin brushed top surfaces of the lugs and case band are divided by a polished bevel

The caliber MB M13.21 within is a large 13-ligne movement based on the Minerva caliber 13.20 that was made for pocket watches in the 1920s. Visible through the sapphire caseback, the movement is a beautifully traditional hand wound monopusher chronograph with a column wheel and horizontal coupling system. It features many appealing details that set it apart from the Lemania-derived chronographs within its price segment. The levers, for instance, are slender and sinuous, featuring intricate contours that demand hand finishing. Minerva, or Villeret as it is known today, employs manual files for anglage, in contrast to the polishing wheels or handheld rotary tools commonly used in other chronographs within its price category, giving it a distinct artisanal look.

Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05
The reset and devil's tail brake lever are beautifully finished with sharp internal angles

The reset lever is particularly beautiful, boasting elegant curves and a sharp internal angle at their intersection while the brake lever ends with a distinctive arrowhead, a shape that lends itself to two internal angles. Known as the “devil’s tail,” this feature is present in all Minerva movements and pays homage to the brand’s arrowhead emblem. The V-shaped chronograph bridge exhibits rounded, polished bevels incorporating sharp, inward and outward angles that are exceptionally pronounced while the teeth of the exposed crown and barrel ratchet wheels have also been finely polished at their edges.

The anglage on the V-shaped chronograph bridge is rounded and exceptionally pronounced

The movement features a large balance wheel that operates at a traditional 2.5Hz frequency. It employs a swan-neck regulator to control the position of the regulator pins, which determine the active length of the hairspring. The finishing of steelwork of the swan-neck and regulator lever are equally impressive. Not only are they black-polished on their top surfaces, but they are also beveled and polished along their entire length.

Evidently, the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05 is once again a highly compelling limited edition from Collective. While it drew inspiration from early 20th century stopwatches, the execution is punchy, youthful and entirely unique. It is limited to just 30 pieces and, despite all that, it is attractively priced at USD 34,500 relative to analogous offerings in its price bracket that do not offer the same level of craft.

Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05
Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05

Tech Specs

Montblanc × Collective Horology 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph “Blue Arrow” P.05

Movement: Manual winding caliber MB M13.21; 60-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds and chronograph
Case: 42mm; stainless steel with 18K white gold fluted bidirectional bezel; water resistant to 30m
Dial: White lacquered with stopwatch inspired color palette, Minerva logo at six o’clock; black Arabic numerals
Strap: Black textile
Price: USD 34,500
Availability: Limited edition of 30 pieces; exclusively at Collective Horology’s online shop, collectivehorology.com.


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