SIHH 2018: Hands-On with the Minerva-Powered Montblanc 1858 Monopusher in Green Dégrade

A classically fine chronograph movement in a wearable size.
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Montblanc‘s top of the line Minerva movements have thus far been used only in extra-large, 16-ligne format in its aviator-style 1858 watches. That meant wristwatches sized like pocket watches, 47mm wide.

But at SIHH 2018 Montblanc restyled the 1858, giving it smaller cases with cleaner details. The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100 consequently has 40mm steel case with a 13-ligne movement inside.

The dial is an attractive dark green with a radial brushing and a dégrade finish that darkens towards the edges. Unusual though it is, the colour is not new, having been found on last year’s one-off 1858 Chronograph “Only Watch”.

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But the highlight of the watch is visible only from the back. Last used four years ago in the somewhat plain Heritage Pulsograph, the cal. MB M13.21 is the Minerva cal. 13.21 (which means it is a 13-ligne movement and the 21st developed by Minerva), a compact, hand-wound movement with a single-button chronograph. The pusher at two o’clock starts, stops and resets the stopwatch.

While improvements have been made to its construction, the calibre still looks very much like what it is, a high quality chronograph movements of the mid 20th century. The chronograph is horizontally coupled, while the balance wheel is large and beats at a slow 18,000 oscillations per hour.

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The movement finishing is tangibly excellent, with plenty of polished bevels, straight grained steel parts and mirrored countersinks.

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The “devil’s tail” that’s derived from Minerva’s historical arrowhead logo.

The polished teeth on the barrel ratchet wheel are especially fine.

The case of the 1858 line was just redesigned for 2018, and this features all the improvements. Conceived to give the case a more refined feel, the tweaks include a wide, polished bevel along the length of the lugs. And the lugs are also shorter, to make the watch more wearable.

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Price and availability 

The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100 (ref. 117834) is limited to 100 pieces, priced at €28,000.


 

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