Up Close with the Montblanc’s Affordable Chronograph Annual Calendar

The Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar does a lot while costing relatively less. How good is it?
Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 1

To offer a lot for comparatively little money has been Montblanc’s credo of late, and that’s something exemplified by the Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar. It packages two complications – an annual calendar and a chronograph – inside a classically styled and relatively affordable package.

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Chronograph Quantième Annuel rose gold

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Chronograph Quantième Annuel rose gold side

The look is traditional, with four sub-dials for the calendar and chronograph. It’s intuitive to read, though the small font on the sub-dials can be challenging to decipher.

While simply executed for the most part, the dial has enough detail to make it attractive, including applied hour markers and different finishes on each section. The look is more appealing than the price would imply.

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 2

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 3

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 4

Likewise the case is efficiently constructed, but with a little detail, like a bevel on the length of the lugs.

While it is fully featured and pleasing to the eye, the Chronograph Annual Calendar is – as should be expected – built on a budget.

An annual calendar needs to be set once a year at the end of February, because it can only hand 30 or 31-day months on its own. This is found inside an annual calendar module, essentially a self-contained capsule with the mechanism, that is added on top of the base movement. Ditto for the chronograph mechanism, which is another module. More sophisticated movements have integrated constructions – everything is a indivisible whole – but watches with such movements cost five to ten times as much.

Both modules sit on a Sellita SW300, an automatic movement that’s a copy of the robust ETA 2892 (which has had its copyright expire long ago). Sellita’s advantage over ETA is that it is functionally identical, but costs less to buy. It does the job admirably well, though the display back is too revealing; a solid back would have kept the mystique a little longer.

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 5

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 6

Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar 7

The obvious question then becomes: is it better to do as much as possible, or to do less but do it better? For the same money as the Chronograph Annual Calendar in 18k red gold, the Minerva 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter made by the same company is a simple chronograph in a stainless steel case, but with an impressive level of decoration on the movement.

The answer lies with the buyer. A watch like this is not a holy grail, rather it’s a step along the way to nirvana. So a collector with several complicated watches would do better to go for something simpler but finer. But someone in the early stages of the hobby will find a the value proposition of the Chronograph Annual Calendar compelling.


Pricing

The Heritage Chronométrie Collection Chronograph Annual Calendar $10,450 or €9500 in steel, and $20,700 or €18,900 in red gold.

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