SIHH 2019: Hands-On with the Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec ChronographSimpler, anthracite dials.
After having simplified and streamlined its distinctive Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, Montblanc gives it a new face, with dark grey guilloche dials in either steel or red gold cases.
Perhaps one of Montblanc’s most distinctive watches, the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph was introduced in 2008, named after the watchmaker who invented the first chronograph in 1821. Specifically it was an inking chronograph: a clock that recorded elapsed time with a stylus that drew a circle on a pair of rotating discs as time passed.
Montblanc appropriate the rotating discs as the signature feature of the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, with a disc each for elapsed second and minutes, linked by a diamond-shaped pointer that functions as the hand to indicate elapsed time.
In the new Star Legacy models, the case is a large 44.8mm in diameter and 15.02mm high, with a rounded case band topped by a domed sapphire crystal. While it is relatively large, its rounded surfaces and curves make it seem less aggressively large compared to similarly sized chronographs.
Featuring leaf-shaped hands and almost-Breguet-style numerals, the anthracite dial is slightly three-dimensional, with a recessed sub-dial for the time and twin, titanium chronograph discs. The discs are plated in either red gold or rhodium coated to match the case metal.
Time is indicated in a recessed, off-center sub-dial, while the date is at six o’clock. In addition, a second-time zone is displayed by a skeletonised hour hand that works in sync with a day-and-night indicator inside an aperture at nine o’clock.
Like the earlier generations of Nicolas Rieussec watches, this has lots of Baroque flourish in its design. Not as much as on the most florid of the Rieussec watches, but elaborate nonetheless. The date, for instance, sits in a gilded frame affixed by two screws.
The bulk of the dial surface is finished with a barleycorn guilloche while the sub-dial for the time has a stamped concentric finish in its centre. The chronograph discs, on the other hand, have a concentric brushed finish.
Inside is the MB R200, an automatic movement with an integrated, mono-pusher chronograph that has both a column wheel and vertical coupling. And it has twin barrels that give it a 72-hour power reserve. While both the gold and steel version of the watch have the same movement, the rotors in each are plated to match the case material.
The movement has a surprisingly symmetrical bridge layout, an unusual feature for a chronograph. And it is well decorated, albeit mechanically. The bridges have bevelled edges, Geneva stripes on their tops surfaces and blued steel screws.
And as is standard on most chronographs, an aperture on the barrel bridge reveals the column wheel, usually considered a feature found in higher-end chronograph movements.
Price and Availability
The Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph in red gold (ref. 119964) is priced at €20,000, with the pricing for the steel model yet to be announced.
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