Quick specs Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Distressed steel
Price: € 40.700 | CHF 36’500 | $ 36,500 | £ 35,500
Size: 43 mm
After lime gold and stainless steel cased versions it’s time for the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Distressed steel. The lime gold is limited to 18 pieces, the stainless steel version to 58 and this new version is limited to 88 pieces. Like all Montblanc’s with Minerva or (Villeret) 1858 in the name it uses movements from Minerva, the movement maker that the Richemont Group, owner of Montblanc, bought in 2006.
Distressed steel is steel that looks kind of used, and therefore has a unique patina. The way Montblanc creates this distressed steel reads like a cumbersome procedure, but it’s just what they do. First, they coat stainless steel with a black layer. Piece of cake. But then they start washing and brushing the steel with quartzite from the Swiss Mont-Blanc Mountain – where they got their name from. Quartzite is a rock that is formed when pure sandstone quartz has been heated and pressured extremely and is usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts, according to Wikipedia. It is grainy, sandpaper-like which makes it perfect to brush hard surfaces.
Montblanc uses limestone from the old factory’s location
But that’s not all. During or after this quartzite treatment, they get limestone from the La Combe Grède, a valley just outside their factory in Villaret, Switzerland, which was the original factory of Minerva. They call it a V-shaped mountain, which can be seen as an arrowhead, and that is in the logo of Minerva. Stone from Montblanc, stone from Minerva.
With the limestone they wash and brush the case even more. Limestone is also hard and grainy, so it looks like this part of the process is more of a nice-to-do-thing: using two natural sources related to Montblanc and Minerva in order to create something new. It’s almost spiritual, right? The result is a polished, dark, steely case. Which gets a white gold fluted bezel, inspired by Minerva watches from the 1920s.
A historic Minerva movement can be found inside the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Distressed steel
Speaking of Minerva, inside the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Distressed steel is a Minerva movement. It’s the historic Minerva hand-winder MB M16.29 which is flipped in the case. All the spectacle of the mechanical movement, normally on the back, can now be seen on the front of the watch as there is no dial. Now, if you flip a movement, the hands will run the wrong way. Which is why they needed to adjust the movement and use an extra 21 parts to make it run the way everybody likes.
At first it seems rather superfluous; a lot of hustle for just a flip. But if you think about it for a second longer you start wondering why not every watch maker does this. As it gives you permanent access to the main show, the movement, instead of looking at the back of the watch once in a while when you put it away before going to sleep.
To make it even more complicated after all the mountains, brushing and flipping, the movement is renamed to MB M16.26. They flipped the 9 in the name of the original movement. Despite that, it still delivers a power reserve of 50 hours. And offers a monopusher chronograph with the pusher integrated into the crown to do all the start-stop-reset functions. And it has a great finish, with sanded German silver and bridges and plates coated with anthracite ruthenium to match the case. Which you can see all day long.
|Technical data Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Distressed steel|
Montblanc caliber MB M16.26 (base caliber MB M16.29) | Hand-wound | Diameter: 37.50 mm | Height: 7.05 mm | Frequency: 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz) | Parts: 273 | Jewels: 26 | Hours, minutes, small seconds, monopusher chronograph | Power reserve: 50 hours
|Case and dial:|
43 mm | Distressed steel | Height: 14.18 mm | Domed sapphire with anti-reflective treatment | Skeleton dial | 18k white gold fixed fluted bezel | White luminescent ruthenium-coated Arabic numerals and indexes | White luminescent ruthenium-coated hours and minute hands | Rhodium-coated seconds hand | Rhodium-coated chronograph minute hand with white arrow | White chronograph seconds hand | Stainless steel case back with engraving | Water resistance: 3 ATM / 3 bar / 30 meters / 100 feet
Black alligator leather strap | Black-coated stainless steel triple-folding clasp
|Price Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Distressed steel:|
€ 40.700 | CHF 36’500 | $ 36,500 | £ 35,500