Monday March 18, 2013
Montblanc timepieces chart amazing milestone at the 2013 Geneva Watch show
By BERVIN CHEONG
Montblanc’s enduring passion for creative timepieces has led to yet another stellar collection.
AT THE 2013 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland, early this year, Montblanc was one of the participating brands that made its presence felt.
As Lutz Bethge, the brand’s CEO so succinctly described: “It’s the trust that is behind Montblanc’s success, especially so for our timepieces. If we didn’t have the initial trust of our customers, we wouldn’t be here now.”
This puts into context the fact that Montblanc is a relatively young watchmaker. While the brand is long known for producing exquisite and fine writing instruments, it was only 16 years ago that Montblanc’s first timepiece made its debut.
Since the creation of the Meisterstück watch in 1997, Montblanc has gone on to regularly unveil creative timepieces that have captured the attention of its increasing customer base.
When Star2 sat down with Lutz during the 2013 SIHH to discuss Montblanc’s showing for the year, he began by relating the brand’s first experience with manufacturing timepieces.
“When we started making watches, some people were sceptical. We already had the trust of those who knew from our history of making quality writing instruments, that Montblanc was a brand with manufacturing competence, but we wanted to ensure that the trust given to us was justified,” he said.
The brand strives to continuously prove itself. One way is through adhering to the highest quality of European craftsmanship possible. The Montblanc’s namesake is, after all, the highest mountain in the Alps, and the brand similarly looks to a peak of excellence for its timepieces.
With that being said, the highlights for Montblanc that was unveiled during the 2013 SIHH certainly did not disappoint. While the new timepieces kept to the brand’s aim for superb quality, they also had exciting innovative elements as well.
One such timepiece to look out for is the new Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours watch. As with the past Nicolas Rieussec chronographs, Montblanc used rotating discs to replace the hands on the counters for 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minutes, as well as to indicate the hour in a second time zone.
More than that, the Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours watch relies on two discs, one atop the other, to show not only the 12 hours, but also to indicate whether each of the dozen is a daytime or night-time hour.
With this watch, the hour numerals change colour depending on the time of day or night. The numerals are pale blue for the night hours and black during the day. At a glance, this interesting function assigns each hour to the day or night, and makes it easier to properly set the date display so that the date changes correctly at midnight rather than mistakenly at midday.
This unusual time display is made possible by the new manufacture calibre MB R220, which boasts an elaborate patented mechanism consisting of two rotating discs positioned one atop the other. The 12-hour disc rotates continually, while the day/night disc turns at intervals and variable speeds to produce the desired colour change in the cut-out numerals.
The Star Quantième Complet, on the other hand, is a classically beautiful watch, and combines both the unmistakable aesthetic and traditional Swiss art of watch-making. It is part of Montblanc’s Star collection – timepieces that are of classical forms, materials, techniques and timelessly handsome embellishments.
For the Star Quantième Complet, it comes with a full calendar that indicates the date, day of the week, month and lunar phases. The date is indicated by a hand which culminates in a little red crescent that sweeps along a wreath of 31 digits around the dial’s periphery.
The day of the week and month appear in little windows arranged along a horizontal line at the “12” numeral. The lower half of the dial is reserved for the moon-phase display, which also emulates the changing phases of this heavenly body during the day, when the real moon is either pale or entirely invisible.
Apart from technical and aesthetic creativity, Montblanc also looks to create watches that are inherently practical. As such, the brand is introducing new additions to the brand’s TimeWalker collection, the highlight of which is the World-Time Hemispheres watch.
This is a very special kind of world-time watch, as it simultaneously shows the different times in all 24 of the world’s time zones. The hands show the local time in the zone where the wearer is located, while the flange around the dial bears the names of 24 cities, each of which represents one of the 24 time zones in which our planet is divided into.
As an additional feature, Montblanc has enriched this timepiece with another dimension. While the time zones progress with the sun from east to west across the meridians of longitude, Montblanc’s latest creation also brings the north-south axis into play because the TimeWalker World-Time Hemispheres is available in a northern and southern version.
The Northern Hemisphere model shows the world as seen from the north with the North Pole at its centre and the Southern Hemisphere variant puts the South Pole in the midpoint. To assure that the wearer can keep an eye on the entire planet, from east to west and north to south, the Northern Hemisphere watch bears the southern place names on its case back and vice versa.
From the three watches described above, it can be said that Montblanc has successfully designed for a broad base of customers. Each one has a specific function that would appeal to different individuals – but in a seamless style that defines the brand.
“The Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours watch is for more classic customers who prefer their watches like that. But the TimeWalker World-Time Hemispheres is for somebody who is living in an international environment. It shows – as with all our watches – that our customers have a clear personality for different needs,” concluded Lutz.