During SIHH 2017, the 111-year-old Swiss brand Montblanc staged some pretty impressive watch introductions and launch events. The day before the show even opened, Montblanc brought journalists out to enjoy a day of auto racing — all to show off its newest focus on TimeWalker Rally Timer and Chronograph 10000 watches. In fact, most of the collection this year was all about the auto-inspired influences of the TimeWalker line. The brand had new pieces in bronze, a new Chronograph UTC, Chronograph Automatic and Automatic Date all in the TimeWalker Line. It is the TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition watch, however, that is one of the most innovative watches in the line up.
Why?Because Montblanc deftly blended the high-watchmaking technology and history of Minerva, it’s Villeret-based division, with its LeLocle-based watchmaking Manufacture to turn out a new piece that times to 1/1000th of a second.
Back in the early 1900’s,Minerva was already specializing in making stopwatches to time different events, including auto racing. First the brand made watches to time to 1/5th of a second, then 1/10th of a second, and a few decades later to 1/100th of a second. Now the brand takes the pioneering spirit to new heights with the TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18.
Inspired by Minerva’s 1/100th of a second stopwatch that had been made back in 1916, Montblanc created the high-frequency Caliber MB M66.26 for the new watch. The watch holds two new patents and an additional 27 existing patents in its complex movement. The watch boasts a large balance wheel (beating at 18,000 vph), and a small balance for the chronograph that beats at an incredible 360,000 semi-oscillations per hour. Two two hairsprings are fixed on top of each other. The two-level column wheel chronograph offers — on one level –start, stop and reset of seconds, minutes and thousandths of a second. The second level controls the reset of the seconds and minutes.
The chronograph is powered by its own barrel and can measure intervals up to 45 minutes, but by turning the crown counterclockwise while the chronograph is operating, the elapsed time measurement can be extended. A second barrel equips the watch with 100 hours of power reserve. The watch was several years in the making and the master watchmakers at Montblanc spent a great deal of time developing the toothing to split the timing of 100th of a second by 10 to achieve the 1/1000th of a second timing.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 Watch is offered in a 46.4mm black DLC titanium case and just 18 pieces will be made. The watch will retail for approximately $190,000.