SIHH 2013 Spotlight: Montblanc Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Chronographe Watch
The ExoTourbillon Chronographe adds another extraordinarily exclusive timepiece to the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858. This regulator wristwatch combines a large minute-hand and elapsed-seconds hand at the center of the dial, a small off-center circle for the hours, a second time zone with day/night indication, a small hand for the continually running seconds and a chronograph with a counter for 30 elapsed minutes.
This Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 Tourbillon first attracted admiring attention with its patented construction in 2010. Its balance is larger and oscillates on a different plane than the rotating cage. This exclusive timepiece now debuts in an attractive new edition which gives an entirely unprecedented look to its spectacular mechanisms. The 18 karat gold dial, which has a distinctively three-dimensional effect, is available with either black or silver-grey décor and with a finely grained texture that contrasts tastefully with shiny hands, applied subdials and polished steel components.
The ExoTourbillon Chronographe is the first watch in Montblanc’s Villeret 1858 Collection to unite two of the most avidly admired horological complications: a chronograph function and a tourbillon. Mastery of the difficulty of crafting these complications numbers among the distinguishing characteristics of the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret, which has here combined the two complications in a highly unusual fashion: the chronograph upholds the lovely tradition with a column-wheel and horizontal coupling, and the four-minute tourbillon boasts a never-before-seen innovation.
Tourbillon Chronograph with New Regulator Dial
Each model has the typical face of a regulator timepiece with a large minute-hand (and the chronograph’s elapsed-seconds hand) at the dial’s centre, complemented by an off-centre subdial for the hours with a pair of hour-hands for two different time zones: the hour in the local zone is shown by a golden hand with the same hue as the case; a blued hand indicates the hour in the other selected time zone. Various shapes arranged on different levels give the dial a strongly spatial effect that’s impossible to overlook. Time merely becomes the fourth dimension on this dial’s three dimensional stage. The performance begins with the clearly visible ExoTourbillon: its bridge is firmly screwed to a manually circular-grained plate and it offers an unobstructed view into the depths of the movement. The plate is coated with rhodium for the white gold watch; a layer of red gold gilds it in the red gold model. The main dial is crafted from solid gold and adorned with a finely grained grainé décor onto which all displays – except the small continually running second-hand at “9 o’clock” – are added as appliqués in the same color as the case. The subdial for the hours at “6 o’clock” has an outer and an inner numbered circle: these annuluses are separated from one another by a slightly inset zone with a fine sunburst pattern; both calibrated rings are circularly satin-finished and bear black Roman numerals. A slender raised border surrounds the subdial for the hours. A similar frame encloses the chronograph’s counter for 30 elapsed minutes at “3 o’clock”, where hands of different lengths and different colors serve two differently colored scales for 0 to 15 and 15 to 30 minutes.
At “4:30” is the finely encircled 24-hour subdial with a blued hand – matching the blued hand for the second time zone This subdial’s semicircular scales are colored either pale or dark to match the corresponding half of the day, and two grayish segments signify morning and evening twilight. The words “LEVER” (rise) and “COUCHER” (set) indicate the beginning and the end of the daytime hours at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
Monopusher Chronograph with Column-Wheel Control
The Calibre 16.60 is a chronograph movement with a large and centrally axial counter for the elapsed seconds, a counter for 30 elapsed minutes, a classical column-wheel and horizontal coupling. The chronograph lever is elaborately finished by hand, and the mise en fonction is likewise accomplished manually: the surfaces where the chronograph lever contacts the column-wheel and the heart disc are observed through a watchmaker’s loupe during the operation of the chronograph’s functions and are gradually and meticulously abraded to a tolerance in the hundredths-of-a-millimeter range. The steel parts and the chronograph bridge (in the “V” shape typical of Minerva’s products) are manually beveled and polished.
A finely grained stone is used to polish the lever; the bridges are manually adorned with Geneva stripes. The large and massive balance, with weight screws along its rim and a Phillips curve at one end of its balance-spring, oscillates at the classical frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz), which makes it possible to measure brief intervals to the nearest fifth of a second. The chronograph’s start, stop and return-to-zero functions are operated sequentially by depressing a button in the crown.
Second Time Zone and Day/Night Display
Frequent flyers will appreciate the fact that the ExoTourbillon Chronographe can display the time in two different time zones. The skeletonized hour-hand on the hours subdial indicates the local time, while the tip of the blued steel hour-hand points to the hour in the wearer’s home time zone. When the watch is worn in the home zone, these two hands are always positioned one atop the other; when the wearer travels to a different time zone, he or she can press the button at the “8” to advance the local-time hour-hand in single-hour increments until the hand indicates the correct local time. The current time at the wearer’s home is shown on the little 24-hour dial with day/night indicator and blued steel hand.
Montblanc Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Chronographe Watch Specifications
SKU: 109150 and 109151
Type of movement: Hand-wound with chronograph, small seconds, second time zone and four-minute tourbillon escapement
Dimensions: Diameter 38.4 mm; height 10,34 mm
No. of components: 341, including 51 components for the tourbillon cage
No. of bearing jewels: 32 (hemispherical, domed, olive-cut)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 18’000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz)
Tourbillon: One rotation every four minutes
Watch displays: The hours in the first and second time zone are shown at the “6,” the minutes are indicated from the center of the dial, continuous seconds on a subdial at the “9,” day/night indicator with 24-hour display between the “4” and the “5”
– Chronograph Center seconds, 30 minute counter at 3 o`clock indicators
Case: 18 K white or red gold; domed sapphire crystal (forme chevée), transparent pane of sapphire crystal inset into screwed back beneath hinged cover
Dimensions: Diameter 47 mm; height 16,67 mm
Water tightness: To three bar (30 meters)
Dial: 18 K gold with grained anthracite decoration (109150) / grained silver-plated decoration (109151), polished, satin-finished counters and Roman numerals
Hands: 18 K gold, chronograph’s elapsed-seconds handmade of PfinodalTM
Wristband: Hand-sewn alligator-leather pronged buckle made of 18 K red gold or 18 K white gold
Limited edition: 18 K white gold and 18 K red gold, limited to 8 pieces each
King Jewelers is an authorized dealer for Montblanc watches and writing instruments in Middle Tennessee and South Florida, as well as over forty luxury Swiss watch brands including Bell & Ross, Breguet, Breitling, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, DeWitt, Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Jaquet Droz, Roger Dubuis and TAG Heuer. King Jewelers is a member of the American Watch Guild and has been named a Leading Watch Retailer in North America by International Wristwatch Magazine. King Jewelers also offers expert watch repair and watch restoration at their retail locations in Aventura, FL and Nashville, TN. For more information on Montblanc watches, please visit www.montblanc.com or take a look at our Montblanc page.