Earlier this year, Montblanc unveiled a new Heritage collection that was inspired by watches Minerva made in the early 1940s and early 1950s. All the watches in this collection feature a similar design language that is focused on color and a variety of finishes. They have now added a limited edition steel watch to this collection with a historical Minerva movement.
If you have ever been to the erstwhile Minverva facility in Villeret that now function as Montblanc’s haute horology test lab, you will not be too surprised at this watch’s origin story. It begins with the discovery of a box of original Minerva movements, the MB M62.00 from 2003. This was the period when the Minerva was under the ownership of Italian investor Emilio Gnutti who along with master watchmaker Demetrio Cabiddu reinvented it as an haute horology brand before selling it to the Richemont Group in 2006.
Only 38 movements were available and these are now being presented in the Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38. The watch has the same salmon-colored, two-tone dial that is seen on some of the other watches in the collection. Considering the special movement, for the very first time, a Minerva signature has been added to the dial between four and five o’clock. Time is indicated by dauphine-shaped hands that follow the domed shape of the dial set with black rhodium-coated applied indexes. The Arabic numerals and dots are all coated with white Super-LumiNova, a first in the Heritage collection.
The historical Caliber MB M62.00 was inspired by the Pythagore Caliber from 1948, known for its recognizable geometry. It was reinterpreted in 2003 with more classical shapes and high-end finishing. The movement features a large balance wheel beating at a low traditional frequency of 18,000 A/h (2.5 hertz). The regulating organ is equipped with a double adjustment system: Firstly, it includes a hairspring positioning system with a stud that allows the watchmaker to center the hairspring by moving the entire balance system to the balance cock. Secondly, a hairspring active length regulator index system (raquette), with a swan's neck spring bearing the Minerva arrow, is positioned on the end. The distinctive Minerva arrow can also be found as an engraving on the main plate.
The movement has a German silver main plate that is rhodium-plated. As you would expect, the movement has a very high-level of finishing; cue hand-polished beveled and chamfered edges of movement plates, circular graining finishes, and grained and polished surfaces. The Minerva signature also features prominently on the movement and is visible through the caseback. The watch is paired with a grey Sfumato alligator strap, is limited to just 38 pieces, and is priced at €17,900.