HANDS-ON: A bold new look – the Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph

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Over the past few years we’ve grown to expect a certain style of timepiece to come out of Montblanc’s watch department – traditionally inspired designs, with a dash of complication, often at a price that’s hard to beat. Watches like this or this. So when we saw a large, sporty tourbillon cased in a combination of high tech materials it would be fair to say we were surprised.

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Unexpected though it is, there’s no denying the good looks of the TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph, a limited edition that serves as a timely reminder that Montblanc’s fine watchmaking is more than the Villeret and Heritage Chronométrie collections. And to be honest, it’s good to see the TimeWalker enjoying some time in the sun. After all, it’s the collection that put Montblanc on the map as a watchmaker back in 2004, and its been a strongly performing line ever since.

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Still, never before have we seen a TimeWalker quite like this one. With a large 44mm carbon fibre and titanium case with DLC-coated titanium bezel, its decidedly modern aesthetic isn’t Montblanc as we know it. But move beyond the bold facelift and the familiar DNA becomes apparent. In pride of place is the brand’s patented ExoTourbillon, a design which sees the balance placed outside the cage, decreasing the impact of inertia on the movement. The unusual placement of the chronograph subdials is also familiar, because the TimeWalker uses the MB R230 movement, based on the MB R200 first developed for the Rieussec line of watches. Even though the tourbillon and 30ms of water resistance mean that it’s probably not the best thing to wear while playing a round of squash or taking a dip in the ocean, it’s the perfect choice for when you take your McLaren out for a spin.

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We weren’t expecting this TimeWalker, but we’re excited by what it could suggest. Though this limited edition of 100 pieces is very much a top tier watch from the brand, if it does well (and we suspect it will), it’s not unreasonable to think that next year might see the release of more accesible TimeWalkers cut from the same aggressively modern mould. In fact, we’re calling it now: SIHH 2017 will be the year of Sporty Montblanc.

Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Australian pricing and availability

The TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph, $55,900, limited to 100 pieces.