Way back in January, one of the watches we were most excited to see at the SIHH was Montblanc’s high-end, Minerva-powered 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter in bronze. Partially because it’s a hot watch and partially because of its extremely limited production (only 100 pieces) we thought this would be the only chance we’d get to try it on.
Luckily though, Montblanc also took the opportunity to release some regular production bronze models which are equally awesome, but not in quite the same league as this Villeret piece. Make no mistake, the calibre MB M16.29 is the star here. The manually-wound monopusher chronograph movement is truly one of the nicest in the business. With its traditional architecture and column wheel layout, little has changed to its design or production since the 1930s. In fact, the only thing that’s new are the red-gold coloured movement components that are a perfect match for the case.
And while it might be reasonable to assume that the case is the most noticeable feature of this watch, the biggest takeaway for me isn’t the case per se, but how the whole watch comes together as an exercise in tonal complement rather than contrast. The bronze case, the starburst Champagne dial with pale printing, the red gold movement elements, even the cognac coloured strap — all these colours play in the same range of the Pantone colour chart. For my money, it would have been nice to see at least one element – perhaps a dark green strap or a darker dial print – play a slightly different tune. And while the lack of contrast is a little surprising, the soft, warm elements all add to the feeling of age, amping up the heritage factor — something only helped by the cute retro logo. It’s an old-school watch full of old-school charm.
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter in bronze Australian pricing and availability
Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, bronze, limited to 100 pieces, RRP $42,870