My handwriting improves when I use my Meisterstück. So too, I’m convinced, would my timekeeping if I owned a Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph RallyTimer. But this is not to be as the limited edition of 100 would’ve been snapped up faster than Nico Rosberg can cross the finish line when Montblanc revealed the collection in January.
Inspired by the motor racing scene of the early 1900s, the Minerva manufacture developed a stopwatch capable of recording time to 1/100th of a second. Reminiscent of the original Minerva Rally Timer this new version with its 50mm rotating case is a bold statement on the wrist but it also converts easily into a pocket watch or desk top clock through neat folding lugs on the case back. It also comes with a dash mounting plate for a clearer view while you’re hurtling around the track. This collectable timepiece is powered by Montblanc’s Villeret in-house manually wound caliber MB M16.29, priced at €38000 (approx R540000) at time of launch.
When it comes to speed, even more impressive is the TimeWalker Chronograph 1000 Limited Edition 18 at €175000 (approx R2.5m). Ten years ago Montblanc acquired Minerva, which is responsible for the new calibre MB M 66.26 inside this chronograph. Race-track triumphs can now be accurately recorded to 1/1000th of a second thanks to this covetable piece in your hand — or more safely, in the hand of a friendly timekeeper. Although less retro looking, this 46.4mm chronograph in black diamond-like carbon titanium is still clearly part of the new family with their dial components inspired by car instrumentation.
(For the records: although not commercially available, the TAG Heuer Mikrogirder 2000, which was launched in 2012 can record events to even smaller intervals).
Taking readings accurately depends on your reaction time of course but this watch will give you the competitive edge. The double counter at 6 o’clock records the elapsed whole seconds (longer red-tipped hand) and minutes of up to 15 minutes. A full rotation of the main red center hand takes one second and indicates 1/100th of a second. The 1/1000th of a second is displayed at 12 o’clock along a 0 to 9 scale. Resting position is “N” for neutral, obviously.
I spoke to Jérôme Lambert, company CEO at the time of launch, the man responsible for the range that expresses the technical and sporty elements of the maison.
Working under the theme ‘Inspired by Performance’, Lambert explained that “this spirit is based on the Minerva brand that was born in 1858 and one of the founders of the measurement of time in sport. At that time everything was about racing and how you could measure this…about performance. Two of the main aspects were motorsport and Olympic Games.” Minerva was the official timekeeper for 1936 Winter Olympics.
Seeking out new markets, younger consumers are high on the agenda for many luxury watch brands this year. “They are interested in content with depth. A true expression associated with a feeling and lifestyle. They appreciate pure watchmaking, technical content, but also the lifestyle background,” says Lambert.
Lambert knows exactly how to appeal to his target audience. “Maybe these younger consumers are not so into cars for the daily commute and are using Uber but when it comes to the weekend at the racetrack, it’s all about pure adrenaline. They are the generation who watch The Fast and the Furious.”
If you’re young, fast and furious but do not have a limited edition budget, the good news is that the collection also includes the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC, TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic and TimeWalker Automatic Date.
For availability and current pricing contact RGL Africa 0113172600