Montblanc Pre-SIHH 2019Written by Alvin Wong
For work and play, and everything else in between.
Classy or sporty? Montblanc offers options for the two biggest, fail-safe categories for its pre-show salvo. For the former, we have three Star Legacy models: the famous Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, as well as the office-appropriate Star Legacy Full Calendar and Star Legacy Automatic.
Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec 2019
The Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, which underwent a design upgrade earlier this year, returns in steel with anthracite dial, and (our preferred choice) red gold with anthracite dial.
Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec 2019
Both versions flaunt the same qualities as their forebear, boasting an in-house mono-pusher chronograph movement with column wheel and vertical coupling, and rapid-set hour and date displays.
Montblanc Star Legacy 2019
The two new Star Legacy models are classic dress watches that, like the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, were given a slight makeover earlier this year.
Montblanc Star Legacy 2019: Full Calendar (left) and Automatic
Modelled after old Minerva pocket watches, the new timepieces are decidedly pared-down yet sophisticated. Featuring subtle ornamentation, one finds star-patterned guilloché engraving on the dial (now a signature of the collection), and Roman hour numerals, a new design accent for the collection.
However, it is with the new sports watches where things get interesting for us. As an extension of its race car-inspired TimeWalker collection that was newly revamped last year, Montblanc debuts two chronographs with ‘reverse panda’ dials.
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronographs 2019
Both watches lay it thick with the throwback aura and look poised to ride the retro wave that doesn’t look to be subsiding anytime soon. If in-house movements are your thing, go for the 43mm model, distinguished by totalisers at three, six and nine o’clock. This version is powered by Montblanc’s proprietary chronograph movement with column wheel.
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronographs 2019: 41mm (left) and 43mm
That said, it is the 41mm model that catches our eye. Montblanc has tweaked this line, which is powered by third-party automatic movements, slightly by housing the watch in a case with simplified construction (still with ceramic bezel as before, though) and closed caseback. These changes have allowed Montblanc to price the watch at 3,200 Swiss francs (approximately S$4,426), which is very competitive for a branded luxury chronograph.
Montblanc’s big reveal at SIHH 2019 will be an all-new ‘Heritage’ collection, which Davide Cerrato, head of Montblanc’s watchmaking division, says will “complete” the revamp of the brand’s product line-up – a process that started two years ago. In the meantime, though, the pre-SIHH teasers offer a glimpse of the brand’s hopes for its watch repertoire: an uptick of interest with more accessible designs and competitive price tags, as well as refinement of its own horological identity by hedging on iconic designs.
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.