You think you’ve seen this watch somewhere before? In a way you’re right, because it is very similar to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar (reference 1558420) launched in 2013 and replaced this year by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar Meteorite Dial.
Comparison with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar
The similarities aren’t just visual: the Montblanc piece is (like others in the Montblanc collection) subjected to the “Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 Hour” that puts the watch through its paces for 500 hours testing; Jaeger-LeCoultre submits its watches to the “1000 Hours Control” tests that last for 1,000 hours. Another significant point of similarity between Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre comes with the name of Jérôme Lambert, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre for about ten years (2002-2013) before becoming CEO of Montblanc in July 2013.
Full calendar, easy adjustment
The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Quantième Complet Vasco da Gama is a “full calendar” watch, providing indications of day, date and month, but without compensating for the different lengths of month. So it has to be adjusted at the end of all months with less than 31 days. (The other two patterns for calendar watches are the perpetual calendar, that keeps track of the different month lengths and the leap year cycle, and the annual calendar that does the same except for the leap year cycle). So easy adjustment is essential, and the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Quantième Complet Vasco da Gama is supplied with a setting stylus that can be used to press the pushers on the side of the case to adjust day, date, month and moon phase, all separately. They have been designed so that you can also use an ordinary ballpoint pen if you don’t have the stylus with you. The moon phase is on the Vasco da Gama theme, with a depiction of the Southern Cross, a constellation visible in the southern hemisphere and used by Portuguese navigator during his epic 1497 voyage to India via the Cape of Good Hope, chosen by Montblanc as the leitmotif for this year’s collection. The constellation is accurately shown with the star Gamma’s reddish colour, and its other three stars.
Movement and price
The movement is the Calibre MB 29.16, which is based on a Sellita movement with a Dubois Dépraz module for the full calendar – not an in-house movement and one of the reasons why Montblanc is able to offer a series of complication watches at remarkably low prices. It has a power reserve of 42 hours. The one thing that is missing, in comparison to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar, is a seconds hand. The sapphire caseback is engraved with a depiction of Vasco da Gama’s ship, the São Gabriel, along with Vasco’s signature. The case is in stainless steel. The price of the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Quantième Complet Vasco da Gama is €4,350, curiously about half of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar which retails at €9,350.
The watch is discreet and slim, ideal as a dress watch at 40 mm diameter and 9.7 mm thickness.