Montblanc stole the show at the annual SIAR watch expo in Mexico this year with a luscious hardstone dial split-second chronograph with a design reflecting the Latin American country’s national colours.
The 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 8 clearly makes a patriotic play for Mexican collectors with a gradient dial, produced using a base of Jade Nephrite, the stronger of the two mineral varieties of Jade. It is also marks the brand’s first use of the stone.
The remaining colours of the Mexican tricolour are found in the chronograph second hand and five-minute markers (red) and the split-second chronograph hand (white). A counter for chronograph minutes sits at the three o’clock position with running seconds at the nine while two chronograph scales are featured with Telemeter around the perimeter of the dial and Tachymeter in a spiral configuration at its centre.
Interestingly Montblanc talks of an anti-magnetic treatment applied to the reverse of the sapphire crystal glass which ‘allows for greater precision of the two chronograph seconds hands’. We assume this must mean magnetised split-second chronograph hands are a common complaint (well, common by split-second standards anyway) but we’re waiting to hear more on this from Montblanc.
The MB M16.31 monopusher rattrapante movement that takes the Minerva calibre 17.29 from the 1930s as its inspiration features two column wheels, horizontal clutch and a 50-hour power reserve. The movement - with its tell-tale Minerva arrow, v-shaped chronograph bridge and large, 18,000vph screwed balance – is visible through a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback.
Montblanc has already proved the pairing of bronze cases and green dials within its 1858 collection and here its use of the deep green Jade with a 44mm bronze case is every bit as successful, with the alloy’s tone sitting somewhere between yellow and red gold and being complemented by gold printed elements on the dial. As with Montblanc’s previous experiments with hardstone dials, the organic nature of the stone makes each watch unique.
The watch is secured on a green alligator leather strap with beige stitching and Montblanc will produce just eight pieces. There's no word on pricing yet but assume a gentle premium on Montblanc's existing 1858 Split Second Chronograph reviewed by us here.
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