Time Trial: Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100

The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 is the latest from the brand in a lineup of special chronograph creations held within the 1858 family. Thus far, of course, each of the Monopusher variants have all been of the bicompax variety having several dial executions with the “onion” style crown and coaxial chronograph pusher.

The 2021 Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100, however, is made especially important as it is directly inspired by a historical museum piece at the present day Minerva manufacture in Villeret, stewarded by Montblanc.

This timepiece is a 1930s Minerva Military monopusher chronograph in stainless steel, measuring in at a substantial 46mm. The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins on the other hand, while still 46mm, is rendered in bronze with brushed surfaces and polished bevels.

The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 is rendered in bronze with brushed surfaces and polished bevels
The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 is rendered in bronze with brushed surfaces and polished bevels
The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 is inspired by a 1930s Minerva Military monopusher chronograph in stainless steel.
The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 is inspired by a 1930s Minerva Military monopusher chronograph in stainless steel.

The dial is an exemplary use of stark black and white for great legibility with beige-coloured luminescent Arabic applied numerals, rose gold- and beige-coloured luminescent cathedral-shaped hour- and minute-hands.

Here the beige-colour serves more to pair with the colour of the bronze case, rather a banal attempt at faux-tina. Setting the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins apart starts from the fact that the Minerva logo has been given space right there on the dial.

But turning the watch over is where we discover the true richness of Minerva’s legacy: the Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB M16.29, a contemporary take on the 1909 Historical Minerva Calibre 19-09CH.

The officer style caseback cover, which is bronze-coated titanium, is engraved on both sides. The head of goddess Minerva is engraved on the outside and the inside of the caseback cover is engraved, "Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère suisse."
The officer style caseback cover, which is bronze-coated titanium, is engraved on both sides. The head of goddess Minerva is engraved on the outside and the inside of the caseback cover is engraved, "Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère suisse."
The original Minerva 17 ligne caliber on which the M16.29 is based.
The original Minerva 17 ligne caliber on which the M16.29 is based.

Forged in raw German-silver, or nickle-silver, while the 19-09CH was made with utility in mind, the MB M16.29 remains utilitarian in spirit, but is finished to the nines. The list of specifics goes on: circular graining on the plate surfaces, “Côtes de Genève” on the bridges, all of which have been given bevelled and polished edges. Perhaps it’s the straight grained, bevelled steel levers on the chronograph that really takes the cake.

Lastly, let’s not forget that all of these finishings are as much applied to the visible surfaces of the movement as to those that are less visible (the pallet fork bridge below the balance wheel for instance) and those that are absolutely out of sight (the underneath of the plate and bridges, for instance).

The MB M16.29 ticks away at 18,000 vph, or 2.5 hertz, and is an integrated column-wheel chronograph with a horizontal coupling system.
The MB M16.29 ticks away at 18,000 vph, or 2.5 hertz, and is an integrated column-wheel chronograph with a horizontal coupling system.

Keeping all things traditional, the MB M16.29 ticks away at 18,000 vph, or 2.5 hertz, and is an integrated column-wheel chronograph with a horizontal coupling system. The cherry on the nostalgia cake, however, has to be the officer style caseback cover, which is bronze-coated titanium and is engraved on both sides — : the head of goddess Minerva on the outside and a special inscription on the inside that reads: “Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère Suisse” (Re-edition of a Minerva military chronograph from the 1930s equipped with a hand-made calibre following the pure Swiss watchmaking tradition).

Tech Specs: Ref: 128506

The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100

Movement: Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB M16.29; manually wound monopusher chronograph with column-wheel and horizontal coupling; diameter = 38.40 mm; height = 6.30 mm; 50-hour power reserve; plates in raw maillechort (German-silver) with circular graining on both sides; bridges in raw maillechort (German-silver) with “Côtes de Genève”; going-train gold-plated, circular grained, chamfered, diamond hubs on both sides; displays Hours and minutes from the centre; small seconds at “9 o’clock”; chronograph’s elapsed-second hand from the dial’s centre; counter for 30 elapsed- minutes at “3 o’clock”
Case & Dial: Special alloy of bronze featuring polished and satin-finishing; scratch-resistant, domed box-shaped sapphire crystal with antireflective coating; caseback is bronze-coated titanium with inset pane of sapphire crystal; bronze-coated titanium “officer” case back engraved on both sides with the head of Minerva Goddess on the outside and a special inscription on the inside “Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère Suisse” (Re-edition of a Minerva military chronograph from the 1930s equipped with a hand-made calibre following the pure Swiss watchmaking tradition); diameter = 46 mm; height = 14.50 mm; water resistant to 30m; fluted crown in bronze with Montblanc emblem in relief; black lacquered dial with beige-coloured luminescent Arabic applied numerals, rose gold- and beige-coloured luminescent cathedral shaped hour- and minute-hands, white-coloured second hand, white-coloured chronograph second- and minute-hands, historical Montblanc logo at 12 o’clock, original Minerva Logo at 6 o’clock
Strap: Brown Sfumato alligator leather with beige stitching and bronze coated stainless steel pin buckle
Price & Availability: Limited Edition of 100 pieces; €30,000 (SGD43,500)
More information: montblanc.com

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