Hands-On with the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph

Retro styling and a movement courtesy of IWC.
Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 2

Now that Montblanc‘s watch division is being led by dapper Italian Davide Cerrato, the pen maker’s timekeepers are rapidly acquiring retro-infused flair, with the recent salmon dial 1858 chronograph being a good example. Even its more affordable watches are undergoing a similar facelift, with the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph getting both a “panda” dial as well as a new movement.

Reminiscent of Universal and Heuer chronographs of the 1960s and 1970s – Cerrato is keen follower of vintage watches and a regular at watch auctions in Geneva – the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph gets to the point quickly. The dal is white with black registers, matched with the flange and ceramic bezel in black, with a dash of red. A noteworthy detail are the applied hour markers that alternate between baton indices and Arabics; the numerals have a vertical brushed finish that’s evident only up close.

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 6

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 3

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 7

The case is stainless steel and 43mm, with lugs that aren’t too long, giving the watch a moderate footprint on the wrist. The flanks of the case are shallowly hollowed out, which gives the case a slightly more interesting profile.

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 5

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 4

Over on the back the sapphire crystal is tinted grey, with the “manufacture” MB 25.10 movement underneath. It’s automatic and constructed with a column wheel and horizontal coupling. It also looks familiar: the calibre is actually a variant of the IWC cal. 69000 movement found in the IWC Ingenieur chronograph (which was likely devised by ValFleurier, a little known movement maker owned by Richemont). Designed as replacement for the Valjoux 7750 – the two have almost exactly the same dimensions – the IWC calibre has a 46 hour power reserve and runs at 28,800 beats per hour.

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 8

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 9

Besides the steering wheel-inspired tungsten rotor, the movement has another Montblanc-specific touch: a semi-arrowhead shape on the end of the chronograph lever, visible just above the balance cock. That’s a reference to the arrowhead logo of Minerva, the chronograph specialist that’s now responsible for Montblanc’s top of the line movements.

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 10

Notably, the Montblanc costs about 20% less than the IWC, which makes it a compelling buy in comparison, especially since it has the extra of a ceramic bezel. It will, however, be a long wait before they hit stores.

Montblanc Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 1

Price and availability 

The Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph (ref. 118488) is priced at €4990, including 19% German tax. That’s about US$5900. It will only be available starting September 2018.


 

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