At SIHH this year, Montbanc unveiled a new Heritage collection of watches that take their design codes from the timepieces made by the erstwhile Minerva marque. For the uninitiated, Montblanc now owns Minerva and the Villeret-based manufacture produces all of the brand’s high-end watches. All the watches in this collection feature a similar design language that is focused on color and a variety of finishes.
The Heritage Pulsograph headlines this collection. Limited to just 100 timepieces, this watch features a pulsograph scale and uses a 40 mm stainless steel case that is 12.65 mm thick. A pulsograph or pulsometer was a standard feature of ‘doctor’s watches’ and featured a scale on the edge of the dial that helped physicians check a patient’s heart rate. A feature of some chronographs in the 1930s and 1940s, the pulsograph recently has ridden in the slipstream of vintage revival watches and has been seen on a few retro-revivals, notably the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 at Baselworld last year.
The Heritage Pulsograph has a salmon-hued domed dial and several design elements that call back to Minerva timepieces from the 1940s and 50s. The dial has two different finishes; anthracite applied Arabic numerals and dots for indexes; dauphine hour and minute hands applied with Super-LumiNova and blued baton hands for the chronograph registers. The minutes subdial at 3 o’ clock has three distinct markers at 3, 6 and 9 minutes of the scale, a hat tip to the old-school international payphone indications. The minutes counter reminded phone users to feed coins into the payphone slot to continue their call.
The watch is powered by the manufacture monopusher chronograph caliber MB M13.21 visible through the caseback, and includes a doctor’s pulsograph indication graduated for 30 pulsations. The monopusher chronograph has a column wheel construction with horizontal coupling, a variable inertia balance and a hairspring with a Philips terminal curve. It beats at 3.5 Hz and is features high-quality finishing that Minerva movements are noted for. It comes on a matching anthracite Sfumato alligator leather strap.