Montblanc recently introduced the 1858 Split Second Chronograph with a bronze case, black, multi-scale dial, and a monopusher, split-seconds Minerva movement inside. Priced at just 33,500 Swiss francs, it is a bargain as such things go.
Now Montblanc has taken the covers off the one-of-a-kind, titanium version with a blue agate dial created for charity auction Only Watch 2019. Though it costs a bit more – the estimate is 42,000-48,000 Swiss francs – the watch still feels like a steal.
The dial is made of blue agate, a hard, semiprecious stone, with a graduated colour that darkens towards the edges. Design-wise it’s the same as that found on the bronze model: inspired by a 1930s aviator’s chronograph made by Minerva, it has a double chronograph scale – a telemeter on the outer rim and a snail-shaped tachymeter in the middle. The contrast of white and red against the blue dial is both refreshing and striking.
Notably, the dial forgoes the faux-aged “lume” of the bronze model; the cathedral hands and numerals are instead filled with white Super-LumiNova, letting the retro design speak for itself.
The large dimensions of the case remain unchanged from the standard bronze model – 44mm in diameter and 14.55mm high – but it’s significantly lighter thanks to the lightness of titanium.
The sapphire caseback reveals the gorgeous, hand-wound and hand-finished MB M16.31. It is essentially the MB M16.29 derived from a pocket watch movement, but with the addition of a split-seconds mechanism on top.
It is beautifully decorated with Geneva stripes, perlage and anglage, as well as replete with the signature arrowhead chronograph lever and a large balance wheel with an in-house hairspring. The MB M16.31 beats at a low frequency of 2.5Hz and offers a 50-hour power reserve.
The watch has an estimate of 42,000-48,000 Swiss francs. It’ll be sold on November 19, 2019 at Christie’s Geneva, and the rest of the Only Watch catalogue can be seen at onlywatch.com.
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By Rexhep Rexhepi and J.P. Hagmann.