Montblanc at SIHH 2014 - Photo Report

SIHH 2014 Montblanc : A groundbreaking SIHH for Montblanc

by Olivier Müller
Montblanc, SIHH

This SIHH might be a cornerstone for Montblanc. With the arrival of former’s Jaeger-LeCoutre CEO, Jérôme Lambert, at the head of company, a lot of things will change, starting with the product lines. The new CEO already announced the creation of a brand new range of watches call Heritage. It will include a Monopusher chronograph of the Villeret range, that is to say a manufacture piece. Then will come a QP at 10 000 euros, followed a moonphase and a three-hands piece.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc – Happy birthday, TimeWalker !

The famous TimeWalker line will also welcome a new model. With the debut of the TimeWalker Collection in 2004, Montblanc launched a family of watches and simultaneously defined a new design vocabulary for the brand. Its salient features include architectonic lines, 43-millimetre case, narrow bezel and elegantly skeletonised horns, plus a large, planar dial with Arabic numerals in a distinctive, clearly contoured typography and characteristic lancet-shaped hands. Now Montblanc kicks off the second decade of this iconographic watch line with the presentation of the new TimeWalker Extreme Chronograph DLC.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Timewalker Extreme Chronograph DLC

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Timewalker Extreme Chronograph DLC

The black wristband of the TimeWalker Extreme Chronograph DLC also deserves special attention because of the complexity of its material combination and manufacturing process. The strap’s inlay is made of black “Vulcarboné” cautchouc which gives the wristband extreme strength and flexibility.

Breakage-resistant twine in a colour that matches the leather’s hue is used to sew the cowhide to the upper surface of the rubber “soul”. A process textures the leather and simultaneously impregnates it with a treatment that doesn’t merely coat the leather, but conjoins with it and increases its structural strength – this innovative leather treatment leads to high-performance material with special shielding properties providing extra protection for the leather against abrasion, water, and fire. It will be used for various elements through the different Montblanc product categories.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc – Inventing the Twin Moonphase

Montblanc will also unveil a new Montblanc Star Twin Moonphase, with an automatic movement, a pointer date, and a special interpretation of a moon-phase display that shows the changing faces of our Earth’s satellite both as they appear to observers in the Northern Hemisphere and as they look from the perspective of the Southern Hemisphere. This rare indication relies on an additional module on the complication, that Montblanc solely uses in this configuration for this display and which gave this watch its name: the Twin Moonphase.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Star Twin Moonphase Automatic

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Star Twin Moonphase Automatic

On top of these will come a masterpiece, the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante. It’s a world premiere in the world of watches. This model offers an unprecedented combination of numerous horological complications: a large balance positioned outside the tourbillon’s rotating cage, a chronograph with split-second function, and a three-dimensional regulator dial in gold and grand feu enamel.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc – What is an ExoTourbillon ?

A short moment is necessary to fully understand Montblanc’s vision of the tourbillon.

The tourbillon was invented more than two centuries ago to counteract the disturbing influence which the Earth’s gravitation exerts on the steady oscillations of a watch’s balance. A tourbillon rotates the entire escapement around the balance’s axis at an unvarying speed, thus compensating for rate errors caused by slight eccentricities in the centre of gravity of the balance and hairspring when the watch is in a vertical position.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Villeret Collection 1858 - Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Villeret Collection 1858 – Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante

The Ancient Greek prefix “exo” means “outside”. This exteriority is meant in two senses for the ExoTourbillon from Montblanc. First, the rotating cage and the escapement are positioned outside the movement’s plate per se and are located, so to speak, alongside the movement. Second, the balance is installed outside the rotating cage and oscillates on a different plane. Timepieces in the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 reap significant benefits from this novel repositioning. The uncommonly large and massy balance would have required a larger rotating cage if it had been mounted inside a conventional tourbillon construction. But the ExoTourbillon cage has a smaller diameter than the balance and rotates beneath the golden screw balance.

Another feature of the ExoTourbillon is the speed of its rotations, each of which requires four minutes. Conventional tourbillons typically complete one rotation per minute. Slowing the speed of the rotations enhances the observer’s pleasure and requires less energy from the barrel, but produces the same compensating effect as a speedier tourbillon. The hairspring with an upward Phillips curvature at its outer end oscillates at the traditional pace of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz) and thus enables this chronograph to measure elapsed intervals to the nearest fifth of a second.

Reducing the tourbillon’s rotational speed by 75% yields considerable energy savings. The rotating cage is smaller and has less mass, so its rotary motion requires less energy as well. Furthermore, the balance is freed from the weight of the rotating cage, which yields a further reduction in its energy requirements. Montblanc’s innovative device requires more than 30% less energy than conventional constructions, and this is advantageous for the functioning of the split-second chronograph. Another essential benefit ensues from separating the balance and the rotating cage: the accuracy of the balance’s amplitude is improved because the balance is not influenced by the inertia of the cage.

The model is available only in a strictly limited edition of eighteen watches, each with an 18 karat white gold case.

SIHH 2014 Montblanc – Photo Report

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Villeret Collection 1858 - Tourbillon By-Cylindrique

SIHH 2014 Montblanc Villeret Collection 1858 – Tourbillon By-Cylindrique

More resources about SIHH 2014 Montblanc on the Official Montblanc Website.

    Author Bio

    Articles by Olivier Müller


    Olivier Müller is a professional journalist specialising in horology. He divides his time between Geneva and Paris, covering horology-related topics for a dozen or so magazines and specialist websites in Europe. He is also a regular speaker at various events. In 2008, Olivier Müller set up Delos Communications to manage the writing side of his business, spanning five European countries. Delos Communications also provides consultancy services for horological communication, helping brands as they define and implement their strategy in terms of positioning, messages and audience. In addition to the world’s two largest watchmaking groups, Delos Communications’ clients include a broad range of emerging independent brands, as well as public-sector bodies keen to promote their local watchmaking heritage. Five people work for the agency, including a journalist, a photographer, a community manager and a translator, all with expertise in the world of watchmaking.