Hands-On with the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph

Retro styling and a movement courtesy of IWC.

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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Introducing the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept

Moser minimalism made more complicated.

The “concept” watches of H. Moser & Cie. are provocatively pared down, and despite the name, are actual production models made to upend what the industry understands as concept watches.

Unveiled at Dubai Watch Week, the latest in the line-up of Moser’s bold minimalist designs is the Endeavour Tourbillon Concept. As with past models, the watch is entirely devoid of its indices and logo, starkly displaying a pair of leaf-shaped hands and a flying tourbillon at six o’clock on its gorgeous funky blue fumé dial with a graduated finish that goes from light in the centre to dark at the edges.

H.Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept 6

H.Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept 4

Measuring 42mm in diameter, the case is white gold in the signature Moser style, featuring a concave bezel and case band.

The HMC 804 movement inside offers a three-day power reserve and is wound bidirectionally by an 18k red gold rotor. Unlike the first Moser tourbillon calibre introduced in 2014, the HMC 804 is equipped with a flying tourbillon, though the cage now takes the shape of the tourbillon bridge found on the earlier model.

Like the first tourbillon calibre, however, the HMC 804 is modular. Essentially, the tourbillon is put together and regulated independently prior to being installed, facilitating easier and faster servicing as the tourbillon assembly can be swapped for a freshly lubricated module.

H.Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept 3

In addition, the movement is equipped with a feature reserved only for Moser’s top of the line movements: a pair of flat hairsprings produced in-house by Moser’s associate company, Precision Engineering AG. The hairsprings operate in the opposite direction for better concentricity, averaging out each other, thereby improving accuracy and isochronism.

H.Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept 7

Price and Availability

The H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept is a limited edition of 20 pieces and is priced at SFr69,000 or S$107,060.


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