Montblanc’s distinctive Nicolas Rieussec chronograph has had a design revamp this year, with a notable new ‘Homage’ edition. Although launched earlier this year, I did not have the opportunity to handle it until Watches & Wonders 2014 in Hong Kong, when I met the Montblanc Australia team.
This new Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec is a monopusher (column wheel) chronograph with a second time zone and ‘hidden’ hour indices that show their lume only in the dark. For those unfamiliar with the Nicolas Rieussec pieces, you will notice the rather distinctive twin counters that are a feature of the collection. Inspired by Rieussec’s 1821 chronograph, these twin (counter) discs, white lacquered in this instance, provide minutes and seconds indications. For some more detail (and background), go to my post about the Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours here.
The dial on this new tribute piece is simple, and to my mind at least, the better for it; white with blue on the hands and with a lovely contrasting grained time ‘dial’ that is a hybrid ceramic with SuperLumiNova perhaps the sole indulgence on an otherwise simple dial. The date display is at 3 o’clock and the day/ night indicator for the second time zone, at 9 o’clock. The second time zone’s hand is skeletonised, to make it easily identifiable.
The chronograph is operated by the monopusher at 8 o’clock. Elapsed time is via two rotating discs, with a horizontal blued-steel hand in the middle acting as a counter for both. On previous models, the measurement of elapsed time happened with a 60-seconds and 30-minutes counter hands. On this model, the hands are fixed, and it is the discs that rotate.
The lumed aspect that cannot be seen during daylight hours, the Breguet numerals showing the time, appear where the railway minute tracks are during the light hours of the day. This is a wonderfully whimsical aspect of this piece, and it is to my regret that there was no way of creating a small dark space in which to see this during my viewing.
Inside is the Montblanc automatic R200 movement with three day power reserve, made in-house by Montblanc. Self-winding with twin barrels, it has a three day power reserve.
The new Homage to Nicolas Rieussec is 43mm and comes in stainless steel and in rose gold, limited to 565 pieces and 193 pieces respectively. The ‘193’ refers to the year of Nicolas Rieussec’s first patented chronograph.
[Horologium attended Watches & Wonders 2014 at the invitation of Richemont Australia]