This watch has had a long development. It began in around 2006 from a concept by two young watchmakers, Johnny Girardin and Franck Orny, who were inspired by Transformers-type robots and wanted to create a watch that would change appearance and function. Metamorphosis I, presented in 2010, had a teardrop shape, and a transformation process that took about 15 seconds. At SIHH in January 2015, Metamorphosis II was presented. When the slide on the side of the watch is depressed, its classical time-date dial deconstructs and is replaced by a sporty time-chronograph dial. It is a watch made entirely by hand at the Montblanc manufacture in Villeret, originally Minerva, using time-honoured techniques and antique machinery.
From classical to modern
Metamorphosis II is circular, with a movement of 746 components and several patents, and a transformation that takes place in about 5 seconds. When the watch is in its time-date mode, it looks quite classical, with a subdial with Roman numerals at the top for the hours. The central minute hand has a retrograde action, running from 0 at the 8 o’clock position to 60 at the 4 o’clock position, and then returning instantaneously to 0. There is a subdial below for the date, and a central seconds hand.
When the watch has transformed into the chronograph, its visual character changes from classical to sporty, from silver-gold to silver-black. The hour and minute hands retain their original functions (and so you can tell the time in both configurations), while the retrograde central seconds hand becomes the chronograph seconds, and the rotating dial at the bottom indicates up to 30 chronograph minutes. The chronograph is controlled by a monopusher in the crown.
The transformation is triggered by sliding the slider on the left hand side of the case. Two flat plates on the dial slide sideways and disappear underneath the central parts of the dial, revealing the chronograph minutes counter disc, which rises a few millimetres and encapsulates the hand that previously indicated the date. At the same time, the time subdial at the top is replaced by a new dial. Sliding the slider once again returns the watch to the time-date mode. The watch continues to function while the transformation is taking place, and so you can start the chronograph in chronograph mode, change the watch to time mode, and the chronograph will still be running, and the elapsed chronograph time is shown correctly once you have returned the watch to chrono mode again. Likewise, if you keep the watch in chronograph mode for several days, the date function continues to operate normally so that when you finally return the watch to time-date mode, the correct date will still be displayed. Watch the video below for a clearer idea of the transformation process.
The watch, reference 112442, is powered by the Montblanc Calibre MB M67.40 movement. 494 of its 746 components are used for the transformation mechanism. It is hand-wound, with a power reserve of about 50 hours. The case is very large, 52 mm in diameter, 15.8 mm thickness. It has a date corrector at the 4 o’clock position on the side of the case. The case is in red gold; the dial is in gold with various types of guilloché finish. The strap is in black alligator. The watch is a limited edition of 18 pieces, price on request.
Below, the watch in its classical date-time format:
Below, in the chronograph format:
Below, the caseback:
Below, dial-side view of the movement:
Below, detail of the dial in chronograph mode:
Here is the video for the Montblanc Metamorphosis I