Montblanc announces the impending arrival of the highly anticipated new watch from their adventure-inspired collection. The offering comes with a new complication. It’s not here yet so there will be time to ponder the 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition to take a closer look at the preview of this amazing re-imagined example that is destined to become an object of desire. It was first presented at SIHH last year with new updates which are mostly aesthetic, until you get to the new monopusher split seconds chronograph. A thorough inspection of the watch reveals some impressive design and engineering details that are worth careful examination so you don’t miss any of the small details.
A good place to begin is with the case. It’s crafted in bronze material which offers a warmth and character that will allow the watch to develop a unique personality over time as it develops its own patina, turning darker and developing a one of a kind aesthetic. This is the driving force behind the use of bronze over a more precious metal of gold or platinum. It’s still on the high end of luxury watchmaking for this reason. Bronze offers this development of character over time that other materials do not. The case measures 44 mm in diameter and 14.55 mm in thickness. It’s a substantial watch when viewing its profile. The case features brushed edges along with polished lug facets for a shapely aesthetic.
The case back is a screwed down type in brushed brass with a thick ring of material on the exterior that holds the clear sapphire crystal in place to reveal the inner mechanical workings of the movement within. This feature offers an additional visual enjoyment of the watch when you flip it over.
The dial is busy with a variety of functions. The background is a glossy black with details showing minutes and seconds which are placed around the outer edge of the dial. Arabic numerals are indicated in red every five minutes. The hours are set in Arabic numerals just on the inside with applied lume in a beige coloring with white outline to lend definition. Two sub-dials sit inside with a running seconds designation and a chronograph totalizer. The tachymeter scale sits in between the two. The hands are shaped in an old style, natural cathedral styling.
The movement that powers the 1858 Split Second Chronograph is an in-house at Minerva with a lone pusher for the chronograph, set at the two o clock position with the capacity for stopping, starting and resetting the chronograph complication. The split function is controlled via the button inset into the crown.
It’s a caliber MB M16.31 movement with impressive steel work and an impressive architecture with beautiful finishing. The arrow shaped tale of the chronograph lever is of particular interest and you can see it below the split mechanism. The movement measures 38.4 mm in diameter and is 8.13 mm in depth. It’s a larger movement, hence the increased case size. It beats at 2.5 Hz at 18,000 vph in a traditional speed for a hand wound caliber featuring a total of 262 components, 25 of these being jewels. The power reserve is estimated at 50 hours.
The Mountblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition fastens to the wrist with a black leather strap that is outlined in a thick and brilliant white stitching.
Pricing and availability
The in-house movement is something that you would expect to raise the price in this high-end luxury special edition chronograph watch, but the use of Bronze material has served to keep the price below what a solid gold case would fetch. The Mountblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph will be available in May of 2019 for a retail price of $31,000. This special edition is strictly limited to a production of just 100 pieces which will be offered on a first-come first served basis. Upon its release the new chronograph will already be a rarity because of its limited number, each sequentially indicated on the case back in the order of production as confirmation of authenticity.