Meet the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph

Montblanc introduces distressed steel for the love of patina

Montblanc TimeWalker
Montblanc

Aside from the 20-year-old Hill Climb record being smashed by an all-electric Volkswagen, the big news from Goodwood was the launch of two new watches from Montblanc, the brand celebrating its third year as official timekeeper of the motoring extravaganza.

The first is the limited edition TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, a tri-compax chronograph with a 4Hz manufacture MB25.10 automatic movement in a ‘distressed’ stainless steel case. The case is first given a black DLC coating and then run through a tumbler filled with ball bearings. The technique abrades the tough coating from the extremities creating a soft, non-uniform wear.

Montblanc TimeWalker
Montblanc

Montblanc’s managing director of watches Davide Cerrato compares the final look to tarnished Sterling silver but, in the setting of Goodwood, it could as easily reflect a heat-stained exhaust.

According to Cerrato, “the purpose here is linking [the watch] to the history of racing. You can almost smell the smoking tyres and gasoline.”

Montblanc TimeWalker
Montblanc

Until recently Montblanc hasn’t been in the habit of accepting, let alone actively seeking out imperfections such as the patina of bronze or vetting whether distressing techniques have gone too far for the likes of Quality Control.

“The aged look, the patina that bronze takes, fits very well with what we are doing," said Cerrato, “so we are always looking for something new and said, ‘wouldn’t it be fantastic to do it on steel’.”

Montblanc TimeWalker
Montblanc

It’s a sign of how much consumer tastes have changed in recent years, and it’s unlikely to be the last we’ll see of the technique at Montblanc with Cerrato admitting that the adventure/heritage-focused 1858 collection is “the perfect line to apply it”.

And if you fancy a closer look at the watch you could try tracking down Romain Dumas, the new Hill Climb record holder, who was presented with one of the 1,500 pieces for the fastest drive of the weekend.

The second new Montblanc to pop up at Goodwood was a new iteration of its 2017 Rally Timer, which was itself based on Minerva’s stopwatches and dashboard mounted Rally Timer clocks.

The 2017 piece, with its stunning Minerva-signed MB M16.29 manually wound chronograph movement and stopwatch/desk clock/watch format was something of a haute horlogerie curio and for its follow-up Cerrato and Montblanc’s creative director Zaim Kamal opted to look further back with a white and cream dial in grand feu enamel.

Montblanc Rally Timer Enamel Dial
James Buttery

“We wanted to bring in a grand feu dial already because it’s something collectors are searching for; it’s incredible because it’s something that is going to last forever. We have fantastic examples at our patrimony in Villeret, hundreds of original grand feu Minerva dials dating from 100 to 50 years ago, still in pristine condition,” explains Cerrato.

Here Montblanc has used the cloisonné technique to divide the dial up into three sections; the chapter ring and dial, both in white, and a central section in an ivory shade. It’s a clever, if unconventional, use of a technique more commonly seen in metiers d’art watches and avoids the more typical, and far riskier, method of drilling sections out of set enamel dials when creating multi-piece enamel dials.


Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

SIGN UP

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From News