It would be something even more than an understatment to say that Jerome Lambert’s tenure so far at Montblanc has been an eye opener, but the subject of Horologium’s first SIHH 2015 Montblanc posts is not about something ‘new’ so much as a very attractive (arguably an improvement, aesthetically, but that’s a purely personal view) new Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph. First introduced in 2010 and also appearing in 2013 in a rattrapante form, it features the in-house developed ExoTourbillon.
For those who are familiar with the Nicolas Rieussec models you will see a design continuity with this new model that perhaps wasn’t present with the previous ExoTourbillon. This is, in fact, an ExoTourbillon integrated into the monopusher column wheel chronograph movement of the Nicolas Rieussec, with a patented hacking tourbillon.
In a tourbillon the escapement rotates in the tourbillon cage. The larger the balance, the larger the tourbillon cage has to be. This automatic movement Calibre MB R230 (50 hour power reserve) with its patented one-minute ExoTourbillon with stop-second mechanism (that directly halts the screw balance by means of a tiny spring, thus stopping the balance) has a tourbillon with a large balance that is outside (exo) the tourbillon cage. Montblanc states that this means that there is approximately one-third energy saving to the tourbillon’s functionality.
The date is indicated by a small centre hand on the same axis as the hour and minute hands. The semi-circle chronograph sectors are for 60 elapsed seconds (left) and 30 elapsed minutes (right). The chronograph’s monopusher is at 8 o’clock and the hour-hand can be independently set.
In addition to the regular production piece in a 44mm 18K red gold case there is also the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco da Gama in 18K white gold edition, limited to sixty pieces. This version features a very elegant aventurine dial that depicts the nightly sky with a Montblanc diamond at 12 o’clock and a satin-finished lower section of the dial. The non-limited edition is in 18K red gold that comes with an ivory grainé upper dial and vertical satin-finished silver dial lower dial, faceted indices, red gold plated number, hour, minute and date hands (the latter with a red crescent tip).
Both of these very good looking models come on leather straps made at the Montblanc Pelletteria, the Maison’s leather manufacture in Florence. The caseback of the limited edition model has an additional design of the Sao Gabriel that Vasco da Gama captained during his voyage to India.