This Pulsograph chronograph – with a pulsometer scale – is part of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection, which comprises watches made using traditional watchmaking techniques, and so that incorporate the expertise of the Minerva manufacture in Villeret. Watches in this collection have certain distinguishing features such as applied hour markers, a Roman numeral XII, dauphin hands, classical silver-white dials, a 39 or 41 mm case, and movements with a high degree of hand-finishing.
Minerva Villeret movement
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph has all this, with a movement, MB M13.21, directly inspired by the Minerva Calibre 13.20 introduced in 1923, at that time one of the first chronograph calibres for wristwatches. The MB M13.21 has a column wheel and horizontal clutch, with a single pusher. Finish is superb, with all parts hand-finished, and gold-plated going train wheels. One of the levers terminates with an arrow, a Minerva hallmark, and the entire movement is signed Minerva Villeret. The balance is large, 11.4 mm in diameter, and runs at 2.5 Hertz, 18,000 vibrations per hour. This makes it possible to time intervals to an accuracy of a fifth of a second. The movement can be viewed through the sapphire caseback. It is hand-wound, with a power reserve of 55 hours.
The calibre reference is shown on the dial, which is admirably uncluttered, with blued steel chronograph seconds hand with a red extremity, a blued steel chronograph minutes hand on the subdial at 3 o’clock, and a subdial at 9 o’clock for running seconds. There are three scales at the edge of the dial: the most external is for measuring the pulse, graduated for 30 heartbeats. Just inside this, chronograph seconds, with fifth-second intervals. Then a seconds/minutes scale. The effect is both technical and elegant.
The Montblanc designers decided to sacrifice some of the fifth-second markers to make room for the red numerals. This is a bit of a contradiction: a chronograph capable of measuring fifths of seconds, but with a scale incapable of showing them? Likewise the pulse scale is subdivided into units of ten from 130 and above, and units of five for readings below that. Again, I find this a contradiction: a watch with a technical function, measuring a pulse, but with a scale that forces you to approximate the reading that you get.
Case and strap
The case is in gold, 41 mm in diameter, 11.8 mm thick, water resistance 3 atm/30 metres with the chronograph monopusher at 2 o’clock. A Montblanc-cut diamond (in the same shape as the logo) is set on the caseband at 6 o’clock, a detail that Montblanc uses for watches with an in-house calibre. The strap is in black alligator with a gold pin buckle.
Price and reference
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph, reference 111626, was launched on the market in autumn 2014, a limited edition of 90 watches, priced at €27,000, $34,500. The watch is still present on the Montblanc website.