Montblanc is famous for master craftsmanship, traditional design, attention to detail, and exquisite finishing. Its luxury watches span the horological spectrum, from entry-level to surprisingly high-end pieces with sophisticated complications. Surprising because Montblanc’s output has historically been fine writing tools, leather and jewellery. Not horology. Montblanc struggled to be taken seriously as a big player in the universe of horological high rollers during the first decade of its watchmaking enterprise—but then the company acquired movement makers Minerva, a respected manufacture that has been around for more than 150 years. With history comes recognition. Montblanc entered the big leagues, creating sophisticated movements and placing them in serious watches.
Every luxury watch brand has a piece that makes its name. Montblanc became a player on the launch of the impressive Star Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph. It was powered by a calibre MB R100, a manual movement, and was closely followed by an automatic, the MB R200, which has a day-night display for the second time zone.
The MB R200 features a column wheel and a vertical clutch, which will delight the true watch nerd. As will the exquisite design and finish of the movement. It also has a 72-hour power reserve. A monopusher makes it simple to reset.
The Nicolas Rieussec chronos were a smart move on both manufacture and marketing fronts. Chronograph literally translates as ‘time writer’. That’s a great touchstone for a company that made its name creating luxury pens. And Nicolas Rieussec? He’s the French watchmaker who pretty much invented the chronograph in 1821. Surprisingly, no one had named a luxury watch after him until Montblanc did so in 2008, thus aligning themselves with one of the greatest men in horology.
Montblanc aren’t just a one-trick pony. The Star Collection blends classic styling with first-rate mechanical operations. The Star Roman Chronograph UTC Automatic ‘Carpe Diem’, for example, has a list of complications as long as its name. Its three-register chrono also includes a date window, and a 24-hour hand travels sedately around the very edge of the watch. And if that’s not enough watch for you, you can always try out one of Montblanc’s ultra-high-end pieces, which are so delicately and impressively constructed the price is given on application only.
If you’re not into delicate super-watches, don’t worry. There’s a Montblanc for everyone. From pocket watches and classic, simple timepieces to muscular sports watches, Montblanc has developed an impressive range of lines in its short time in the industry. You can rock a TimeWalker, for the urban survivalist look. Or you could choose an enamel-dialled or partly skeletonised Villeret. Whatever you buy, one thing is guaranteed. You’ll get nods of appreciation from luxury watch lovers wherever you go.
This is not a brand that’s afraid of playing the luxury watch game with the very best of them. You might think Montblanc is just about the posh pen, but loyal customers of the company’s horological division already know something the rest of the world is just catching up to. Diamond-studded bezels, stop-second tourbillons, rattrapante chronographs—Montblanc’s luxury watch designers have been celebrating all that’s ‘haute’ about high horology for years.
Raise an eyebrow at Montblanc’s ambition. Roll your eyes if you want. But if it’s quality, craftsmanship, and style you’re looking for, then a Montblanc could soon be on your wrist. Perhaps it should come as no surprise. After all, Meisterstuck does mean ‘masterpiece’. And Montblanc isn’t prepared to deliver anything less.