Montblanc's Davide Cerrato, the managing director of watch division, offers an exclusive preview of the maison's watch ambition for 2019 in Singapore recently.

Known for its professional watches with high chronometry, including the ability to measure time accurate to 1/100th of a second as early as 1916, the watchmaking heritage of Minerva represents a treasure trove for Montblanc to mine as it carves its own niche in the competitive Swiss watch industry.

So it comes as no surprise that this legacy continues to inform Montblanc's development of robust, modern timepieces including the new collections for TimeWalker and Star Legacy.

Also see: The 1858 collection represents Montblanc's spirit of exploration

“The Minerva archive has more than 1,000 pieces with different dials, shapes, hands, colours and cases,” exclaimed Davide Cerrato, the man in charge of Montblanc’s watch division when we met in Singapore recently. Cerrato was in the Lion City to personally present the yet-to-be-released watches, ahead of Geneva's SIHH fair in January.

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"It’s definitely nurturing our creativity in terms of what we can do. For instance, the TimeWalker, with its spirit of racing, looks to the early stopwatches especially the Rally Timer that was used in the 1950s.”

“Meanwhile, Star Legacy is linked to the spirit of formal elegance, and a Minerva pocket watch from 1896 specifically informed the new design, from the shape of the case and the crown to the domed sapphire and the way the centre of the dial is slightly concaved.”

Cerrato revealed that he looks at the archive at least once a week. “Minerva lends the different collections some consistency. As inspiration, we pick the best elements and reframe them with contemporary elements to produce something that’s even more powerful.”

According to him, the trick to bringing the past into the present is never to do an exact replica. “You have to make it relevant for the people today. For instance, you wouldn’t do a chronograph in 34mm today – that wouldn’t work except for maybe three really passionate watch collectors. We keep the spirit of the original but make it better technically and appearance-wise.”

The new TimeWalker and Star Legacy watches carry on this Minerva spirit with pride. 

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A new panda dial for the TimeWalker chronograph (Photo: Montblanc)
Above A new panda dial and semi-skeletonised horns for the 43mm TimeWalker chronograph (Photo: Montblanc)

Full throttle

The TimeWalker Chronograph features new reverse panda dials, where the main dial is in black and the chronograph counters are in silvery white. (A panda dial is quite simply the opposite.)

There are two sizes, and both feature a fixed ceramic bezel printed with a tachymeter scale. The 41mm places the chronograph counters at ‘’6’ and ‘12’ while the 43mm features the more traditional counter positions at ‘3’, ‘6’ and ‘12’. Another distinction can be found on the satin-finished horns - the 41mm version have smooth, bevelled edges while for the 43mm, they have been semi-skeletonised to mimic the air inlets of a car’s body.

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Shooting stars

The Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph has been refreshed with an anthracite dial matched with either red gold or stainless steel case. The signature Rieussec-inspired horizontally aligned rotating discs are domed, as is the off-centre hour-and-minute counter, giving them a striking 3D effect. A “filet sauté” guilloche decoration around the dial only enhances its beauty.

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Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec in pink gold with anthracite dial (Photo: Montblanc)
Above Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec in pink gold with anthracite dial (Photo: Montblanc)
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Star Legacy Full Calendar (Photo: Montblanc)
Above Star Legacy Full Calendar (Photo: Montblanc)

The collection also welcomes the addition of two new calendar watches boasting Roman numerals. The first is the Star Legacy Automatic Date with exploding star guilloche and “filet sauté” guilloche motifs on the dial. The second is the Star Legacy Full Calendar with day, month and moonphase apertures; the date is indicated via a hand with red crescent tip that sweeps along a date ring on the dial’s periphery. 

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