Montblanc’s 2021 limited edition Split-Second Monopusher has a unique “Lime Gold” alloy case, but there’s a lot more to it than the novel use of a precious metal.
Lime-colored gold has a faded appearance with a subtle greenish hue, which is the result of an 18K yellow gold alloy that combines gold, silver, and iron. The matching lime gold sunburst dial is accented by green-colored hands, printed green retro-style markings, and green applied full lume Arabic numerals, which some criticize compared to traditional metallic lume-filled applied markers or printed numerals. Interestingly, the hour markers feature a somewhat high-tech monobloc full lume design, which was recently patented.
The 44 mm x 14.5 mm case is more or less the maximum size I’d want to wear in a precious metal watch — yet I’d argue that Montblanc has achieved proportions that are controlled and a watch that’s attractive, especially considering what’s under the hood.
Yes, the best feature of the 1858 Split-Second Monopusher is the movement — which offers a split-second (rattrapante) chronograph with a mono-pusher design derived directly from Minerva IP (owned by Richemont and reserved exclusively for Montblanc’s high-end timepieces).
When viewed through the caseback, you can quickly see that the Villleret-manufactured hand-wound caliber MB M16.31 is highly refined and strikingly beautiful. With premium German silver for the bridges and mainplate, Geneva striped bridges, 18K red gold plating on the mainplate and on many of the components, hand beveled and polished edges, screwed gold chatons, circular graining on many components, and mirror-polished screw heads — you know instantly you’re looking at something very special.
With the free-sprung balance oscillating at 2.5Hz, to and fro, the mainspring can store up to 50-hours of power reserve when fully wound. Derived from a Minerva caliber 17-29 pocket watch, the 38.40 mm x 8.13 mm movement is not small and partially explains why the case is rather large. Nevertheless, the Swiss movement by Minerva is a master of form and function. Pop it into a watch from Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, or A. Lange & Sohne — and it would cost 3, 4, 5 times this, at least. This is underscored by the fact that when Montblanc has previously offered this Split Second 1858 Chronographs in non-precious metals — such as titanium with an enamel gradient dial — for even less.
Retail for the Montblanc Monopusher Lime Green Gold Limited Edition is approximately $58,000. Limited to 18 pieces.