Montblanc turned to Minerva’s history of producing professional chronographs to reboot its TimeWalker range at SIHH this year. The Villeret manufacture’s chronographs and stopwatches used in the mid-20th century to time motor racing events served as the inspiration for the new range.
Despite the modern size and use of new age materials like ceramic and titanium, a vintage-theme runs through this collection. The aesthetic codes of the new TimeWalker range are directly rooted in the world of racing: cases and semi-skeletonized horns are inspired by the aerodynamic lines of classic cars; the crowns and pushers are reminiscent of vintage car caps; smoked glass casebacks are a nod to the glass windows of cars that reveal V12 engines; and the perforated leather straps are inspired by vintage leather racing gloves. The series is easily identified by a central seconds hand coated in red with the tip crafted in the shape of the Minerva arrow.
The highlight of the collection is the TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100, a quirky wristwatch inspired by the Rally Timer stopwatch produced by Minerva. The wristwatch, with its black calf leather strap, can be easily converted into a pocket watch which can then be either placed on a table thanks to two arms below the case, used as a stopwatch with the strap as a handle, or clipped into a metal plate covered with leather that attaches to a car’s dashboard. Produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces, it uses a 50 mm titanium case and is powered by the well-known hand-cranked monopusher chronograph caliber MB M16.29.
most technical watch in the lineup is the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18, a mechanical chronograph that measures elapsed time to the 1/1000th of a second. This watch has two escapements; the first indicates the time functions and beats at 3 Hz, and the second one is in charge of the chronograph indications and beats at 50 Hz (360,000 vph). To allow a finer adjustment and improve precision, the chronograph’s small balance wheel has been equipped with two hairsprings fixed on top of each other.
highlights include Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC, which uses a 43 mm black DLC-coated case with a unidirectional rotating black bezel made of shiny ceramic and a silvery-white engraved 24-hour scale. At close to $5,300 this is an interesting timepiece for those looking for a mechanical chronograph with a dual-time function. The watch is powered by the MB 25.03 movement, a modified version of the Valjoux 7754 movement. For those looking for a non-fussy timepiece, there is also a simpler the Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date. It uses a 41 mm stainless steel case with black ceramic bezel. This is the entry-level watch in the new range and is priced around $3,100.