Montblanc’s latest 1858 Split-Second Chronograph comes in a lightweight titanium case, with a grand feu dial, and is limited to just 100 pieces.
Underneath the solid gold multi-layer blue fired gradient enamel dial is a complicated hand-wound split-second Minerva chronograph movement made at Montblanc’s renowned Villeret manufacture.
At 44 mm x 14.55 mm the case does not belie an old school movement from the 1930s but that’s because this particular caliber originated from a pocket watch, not a wristwatch.
With every detail of the Haut de Gamme caliber MB M16.31 painstakingly executed to perfection — much of it by hand — this 2.5Hz hand caliber with a large screwed balance wheel and swan neck regulator design is unlike modern chronographs yet is still regarded as a horological masterpiece even in 2020.
Visible through the sapphire caseback the rhodium-plated German nickel silver bridges and every one of the 257 components features immaculate straight-graining, striping, polishing, circular graining, or snailing. The bridges and lever edges are expertly beveled by hand (also referred to as “anglage”). The anglage — particularly on the inner angles — is regarded as one of the hardest finishing tasks in high watchmaking. Below the bridge level, perlage circles have been applied to the entire main plate, front and back. The ratchet wheel stands in contrast to the rest of the components thanks to a frosted and snailed finish.
The movement drives the luminescent cathedral-shaped hour and minute hands, the arrow-shaped 60-minute chronograph hands (orange and gray) located inside the left and right counters, and the color-matched dual (gray and orange) long, centrally mounted split-seconds chronograph hands. The maximum power reserve is 50-hours, and while that number is lowered if the chronograph is being used, thanks to the use of column wheels no accuracy is lost while using the stopwatch functions. Additionally, there’s a telemeter scale printed on the dial’s outer ring, and a snailed tachymeter printed on the innermost ring, which both work with either set of chronograph hands.
A blue alligator leather strap that measures 22 mm wide at the lugs complements the gorgeous blue dial and is secured with a titanium pin buckle that’s matched to the case. The 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition (Ref. 126006) retails for approximately $42,925 and is available at Montblanc boutiques beginning this month.