SIHH 2019: Hands-On with the Montblanc TimeWalker “Reverse Panda” Chronographs

Retro and modern.

Since taking the helm of Montblanc’s watch division, Davide Cerrato has relied heavily on Minerva, the brand’s watchmaking workshop, for inspiration and historical legitimacy, particularly for Montblanc’s sports and chronograph watches.

While the 1858 line of watches lean towards the vintage end of the design spectrum, the TimeWalker collection takes a more modern approach, while still retaining retro-racing car vibes. Ahead of SIHH 2019, the TimeWalker line welcomes two new chronographs featuring “reverse panda” dials – white registers on black – a design originally conceived to boost the legibility of the chronograph.

The first watch is the entry-level TimeWalker Automatic Chronograph, now with a smaller and slimmer case. The case is a more wearable 41mm in diameter and 14.54mm high, compared to a chunky 43mm by 15.2mm in the preceding generation.

Monblanc Reverse Panda TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 2

Relatively simple in form with sloping, integrated lugs, the case is satin finished and fitted with a black ceramic tachymeter bezel. It’s worth noting the smooth case flanks that distinguish this from the TimeWalker chronographs with in-house movements that have concave flanks.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph reverse panda case

The dial is black, with applied hour markers and red accents on the dial and hands. It has contrasting silver-white counters and a sloping flange in the same finish, with a date at three.

The constant seconds sub-dial at nine o’clock has been smartly done in black – and decorated with a subtle Montblanc star – which improves the symmetry of the dial as it leaves only the vertically aligned registers prominent.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph reverse panda

This is powered by the Sellita SW500, a clone of the Valjoux 7750, which is hidden behind a solid case back. And it’s delivered on a perforated, Rally-style black rubber strap.

Monblanc Reverse Panda TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 4

Pictured is the prototype with a smooth case back; production watches will have an engraved logo and lettering

Next is the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, which was introduced last year with a “panda” dial. Now the dial colours have been inverted, but the watch is otherwise identical.

While the Sellita-powered model has the “6-9-12” chronograph layout typical of a 7750, along with a white date wheel, the “manufacture” model has “tri-compax” registers and matching black date wheel. It’s a much better look, looking both a bit more upscale and cohesive.

Monblanc Reverse Panda TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 7

The details of the dial are largely the same, with applied hour markers and a sloping flange for the outer minute track.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph reverse panda manufacture 1

The case is identically sized, 43mm in diameter and 15.2mm in height, and equipped with the same black ceramic bezel. But it is set apart with the recessed hollows on the sides of the lugs.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph reverse panda manufacture

The movement inside is the cal. MB 25.10, which is actually based on the IWC cal. 69000. It’s an automatic movement with a 46-hour power reserve, while the chronograph that has both a column wheel and horizontal coupling.

Montblanc Reverse Panda TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph 5

Visible through the tinted sapphire case back, the movement has its rotor shaped like a retro steering wheel.

Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph reverse panda manufacture movement

And in keeping with its premium position relative to the Sellita-powered model, this has a perforated brown calf leather strap made by Montblanc’s leather factory near Florence.

Price and Availability

The TimeWalker Automatic Chronograph 41mm (ref. 119940) is €3990, while the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph (ref. 119942) costs €4990. They’ll be available sometime in the first half of 2019.


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