SIHH 2017: Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exotourbillon Rattrapante.

Heritage from the source

Since 1858, the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret (established under the name “Minerva”) has been making ground-breaking calibres with regards to craftsmanship and performance. During the 1930s, the workshop’s fascination with recording elapsed time led to the production of split-second stopwatches, also known as “rattrapante” chronographs, from the French word “to catch up”. These precise stopwatches were able to measure intermediate times without interrupting the ongoing measurement of a longer elapsing interval.

Today, this same passion for fine watchmaking and measuring brief intervals of time with utmost precision continues to be the driving force behind collections such as the new Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante Limited Edition 8 that combines a monopusher split-second chronograph with the Maison’s renowned ExoTourbillon.

From the movement to the complications, the precision to the design, everything comes together to celebrate the heritage of Swiss fine watchmaking. The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante Limited Edition 8 captures all the magic of watchmaking past, while never stopping to push the boundaries of innovation and performance with its handcrafted in-house movement.

Distinguished design details

One of the major inspirations in the design of the Heritage Chronométrie Collection comes from the Minerva Pythagore timepiece. This wristwatch developed in 1948 featured a pure and elegant dial with applied Arabic numerals and indexes, as well as a precise minute scale. Housed in a slim polished gold case with curved horns and a stepped bezel, the Pythagore epitomized classic Swiss fine watchmaking. Today this historic piece provides the basis for the design of the new Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante Limited Edition 8 with fine watchmaking details and finishings that respect the Pythagore design, while offering a new and contemporary rendition of a horological classic.

Delving into the dial

The solid gold dial of the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante Limited Edition 8 features all the classic design codes associated with fine watchmaking, starting with a grey grené lower dial that enhances the different counters and subdials, and a vertical satinated finishing on the upper part of the dial that attracts the eye to the majestic ExoTourbillon. The ExoTourbillon itself is highlighted by a double infinity tourbillon bridge, which takes one week to be hand-bevelled and polished by Montblanc’s artisans. The three-dimensional dial is further enhanced by raised counters and subdials that include different finishings—the small seconds subdial and the 30-minute counter both feature an azuré motif in the centre and an opaline decoration on the external ring, while the second time zone and day/night subdials have been embellished with a sunray pattern. Completing this intricate dial are faceted sword-shaped hands for the hours, minutes, seconds, second time zone and chronograph minutes, and baton-shaped hands for the day/night and chronograph seconds hands as well as applied red gold numerals and indexes. A final touch to this intricate dial is a refined grey satinated flange that is calibrated with a fifth-of-a second scale for the chronograph and that simultaneously shows the continually running minutes for utmost legibility.

An array of chronometric indications

In spite of the numerous details on the dial, legibility remains at the forefront of the design. The local time is indicated in the centre (hour and minute hands) with the small seconds in a subdial at 9 o’clock. Home time is shown (in hours) in the subdial at 6 o’clock, and is linked to the day/night indication displayed between 4 and 5 o’clock. A further subdial at 3 o’clock displays the 30-minute chronograph counter; while the chronograph’s seconds and split-second times are recorded via the chronograph hands in the centre.

When travelling, the new local time can easily be set by pressing on the corrector at 8 o’clock. Operating this corrector advances the central hour hand in hourly increments without affecting the minute hand or the home time at 6 o’clock.

Above and beyond

In order to ensure the highest performance and quality of its timepieces, Montblanc tests the whole Heritage Chronométrie Collection in its Montblanc Laboratory for over 500 hours. Called the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, this quality control examination has been completely developed in-house and evaluates timepieces in numerous simulated real-life situations. Where many tests only control the movement, Montblanc tests the final watch, making this certification something truly unique in fine watchmaking.

The Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Rattrapante Limited Edition 8 is also equipped with a high-quality alligator leather strap crafted by the Montblanc Pelletteria, the Maison’s own leather manufacture in Florence Italy, enabling Montblanc to offer the utmost quality. Montblanc is one of only a small handful of watch manufacturers that can equip their models with leather straps of their own fabrication.

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