This watch by Montblanc, reference 112587, takes the sporty, accessible TimeWalker collection, mixes it with the sophisticated ExoTourbillon, adds the brand’s monopusher chronograph with semicircular counters, and blends it all with the latest high-tech materials. The result is a visually-satisfying watch with dynamic looks, one of the most surprising watches to be seen at the SIHH 2016 watch fair. The sports aesthetic is enhanced by red details on the dial, red stitching on the strap, and a red fillet under the watchglass. It’s fairly large at 44 mm diameter and 16.27 mm thick.
The visual codes of the TimeWalker include a narrow bezel, distinctive modern numerals, skeletonized lugs and lancet shaped hands. This piece is made with titanium, carbon fibre and DLC diamond-like carbon to make the watch lighter and stronger. In combination with the tourbillon with its arrow-shaped bridge, the chronograph counters, and the banker’s date indications on the dial, the TimeWalker ExoTourbillon becomes an interesting piece that presents a lot of information in a carefully planned way.
Time functions are shown on the off-centre dial, which has hands and numerals coated in SuperLuminova for night-time visibility. Below, the chronograph counters are for elapsed seconds on the rights, and elapsed minutes on the left. The chronograph is controlled using the pusher at 8 o’clock, which cycles through chronograph start, stop and reset.
The Montblanc ExoTourbillon
The ExoTourbillon is a Montblanc patent in which the cage, instead of enclosing the balance, is positioned underneath it and is smaller than in most tourbillon watches. This makes it possible to have a larger balance, in better view, improving the watch’s theatrical presence. The cage is also lighter and so absorbs less energy. It has the stop-seconds function, so that when the crown is pulled out to set the time, the balance stops. If you manage to do this when the seconds indicator on the tourbillon is at zero (there is a small scale just above the tourbillon), you can start it again in synchronization with an external time signal. At another crown position, you can advance just the hours hand so as not to disturb your carefully-synchronized minutes and seconds. This is particularly useful when travelling and you want to set your watch to a new time zone.
MB R230 movement
The chronograph movement is a monopusher, with column wheel and vertical coupling. It is integrated into the in-house movement MB R230, with twin mainspring barrels. The gears have a special profile to reduce friction losses during transmission. The tourbillon balance runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hertz) and the movement provides about 50 hours power reserve. It can be seen through the sapphire caseback, with a black rhodium-coated skeletonized oscillating weight. This has a circular-framed aperture at the centre, in the shape of the Montblanc star. At a certain position, it exactly frames the chronograph column wheel.
The titanium bezel is coated with scratch-resistant DLC (diamond-like carbon). The centre section of the case (visible from the side view, through the skeletonized lugs) is in carbon fibre which generates a random horizontally-striped pattern. The lugs assembly is in brushed titanium. Another nice detail is the Montblanc star on the outside of the lug. The watch is mounted on a black alligator strap with red stitching. The shape of the case, and the slight curve on the lug spring bar, ensures that the union between the strap and the case is visually seamless.
Reference and price
The Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph LE100 is reference 112587. It is a limited edition of 100 pieces. All pieces undergo the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 that simulates everyday use for 500 hours. The price of the watch is €39,500, $39,400. By now we are all used to Montblanc surprising us with prices that are incredibly accessible, and this is no exception: most tourbillons cost close to double. Perhaps the brand considers this watch, a piece that combines ingredients from different areas of Montblanc’s production, as something of an experiment: I think that this sort of product has the potential to do very well on the market.