Is this the watch Kylo Ren would wear? By bringing its characterful chronograph to the Timewalker range, Montblanc proves the versatility of its designs, and creates a sci-fi watch worthy of a Sith Lord.
You would have to have been living deep underground for the last couple of years not to have noticed Montblanc going on a bit of a storming surge; launching the Heritage Spirit, Heritage Chronométrie and 1858 collections, as well as poaching CEO Jerome Lambert from Jaeger-LeCoultre and design director Davide Cerrato from Tudor (and landing on the cover of QP’s November 2015 issue).
Those collections have been notable for both a commitment to clean, simple designs (the Vasco da Gama editions notwithstanding) and very affordable mid-level complications – dual time pieces, worldtimers, annual calendars – with interesting watches at entry level.
And then, tucked away in the Heritage Chronometrie collection, was the Exotourbillon Chronograph. Taking as its base the MB R200 chronograph caliber developed for the Nicolas Rieussec range, it added an haute horlogerie flourish in the form of the exotourbillon – a Minerva/Villeret invention of several years ago.
It wasn’t the first time Montblanc had produced exotourbillon chronographs, but up until that point, they sat within the prestigious Villeret Collection – with the slightly overwrought classicism and six-figure price tags that that entailed.
Now, Montblanc has spun the Rubik’s cube once more, bringing the Exotourbillon Chronograph to the space-age Timewalker collection. That means hollowed-out brushed titanium lugs, a forged carbon case and copious amounts of red detailing. The overall look is reminiscent of the flagship Timewalker Chronograph 100 of 2013 – but it’s a much better looking beast than its predecessor. With the bright red notes – particularly around the edge of the sapphire – and spiky case lines, this is absolutely the watch for Star Wars villain Kylo Ren.
In the hand – not so much on the wrist, but when you’re getting a feel for the watch – these lugs are almost dangerously sharp, especially those cutaway sections that give way to the pressed-carbon caseband. The knurled, notched crown is nicely tactile too; it’s a watch that wants to be played with and used.
On turning the watch over, there’s a fair bit to look at – somewhere between the old-school awesomeness of an 1858 Chronograph and the understandably basic finish on, say, the TwinCounter. The cotes de Geneve striping is nice, if a little pronounced for some tastes, and the exposed column wheel and openworked rotor design ensure there is enough going on to impress.
Functionally, it’s unchanged from the Exotourbillon chrono as we saw it last year. You get an automatic monopusher chronograph with the same layout of minutes and seconds as the Nicholas Rieussec line. The tourbillon can be stopped to allow for precise setting down to the second; some may gripe that a tourbillon doesn’t belong in an ostensibly sporty collection; but that’s missing the point. This is a stylish sci-fi watch that’s fully justified in its whizz-bang looks and technical flourishes.
Read more about Montblanc’s 2016 SIHH releases here.