The Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition 100 watch gets refreshed for Watches & Wonders 2021. Vintage aesthetics with a burnt caramel dial and an 18kt rose gold case hide a “patented manufacture complication developed internally.”
Worry not, no caramel got harmed in the making of this dial. First introduced in 2019, the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar entered the ring as a competitively priced dress watch. In steel, it ran for €15,000, while the red gold version cost €25,000 – the same as this model goes for exactly two years later. It is, dare we say, a “reduced” presentation of a traditional perpetual calendar with just three subdials but with a “Montblanc twist” in that the more nuanced dial components help make it into its own thing.
The new domed and lacquered dial with its grainé finished hour ring looks very elegant and completes the brown theme – which, in turn, is not exactly a super-popular thing these days, but when done right it can unquestionably be attractive. The warm shade of brown has been realized by “a special process that takes dexterity and time to achieve.” The dial is first produced with two different motifs: a sunray decoration in the center and a grainé or grained finish on the hour ring. Once the decoration is applied, a sfumato brown color is applied to the dial to provide different shades of brown radiating from the center, getting darker toward the outside. Several layers of translucent lacquer are then applied to the dial, allowing time to dry between each layer, to enhance the sunray pattern and create a contrasting shine on the final timepieces.
This year, Montblanc neglected to supply a caseback shot, so we dug up that of the 2019 version that has the identically referenced Calibre MB 29.22 inside. Montblanc is really quite proud of its perpetual calendar complication that they claim to have developed internally over the course of three years. It is fascinating to know that the rather tame dial layout hides behind it a bespoke perpetual calendar module. The patented Manufacture Calibre MB 29.22 comprises 378 components, 259 of which are dedicated to the perpetual calendar function Plus, there is a safety feature that prevents a careless user from fiddling with the calendar mechanism between 6pm and 12pm, when manipulation could potentially grenade the movement (not exactly Montblanc’s words).
The perpetual calendar complication of the Montblanc Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar Limited-Edition 100 watch is built around a central “crown” that drives the entire system of wheels and cams, with specific rotations that allow the date to jump. The first cam is for the jumping of the date from 28th to 29th (one turn every four years), one is from 29th to 30th (one turn per year), and the last one from 30th to 31st (turns every 31-day month). The cams work independently when there is no modification of the calendar displays when the date changes from 28th to 31th, from 29th to 31st, and from 28th to 31st. Offering a 48-hour power reserve replenished by a self-winding system, the operating frequency is a modern 4 Hertz (28,800 bph), courtesy of a flat hairspring and a flat hoop, 8.00mm balance wheel with a moment of inertia of 6.3 mgcm² — that sort of stuff we normally only see Richard Mille quoting for its watches — it was fun to see Montblanc add these stats for nerds.