Replica Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph

For Montblanc, this year is all about the newly revamped TimeWalker collection. For a long time it’s been the best-selling family of watches for Montblanc in the United States, but at SIHH we saw the entire line get a redesign from top to bottom. The new TimeWalker is inspired by vintage auto racing, with the design codes, color schemes, and complications that go along with that theme. The consumer-friendly flagship is the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph, and here’s a hands-on look at Montblanc’s most important release of 2017.
There are a few new TimeWalkers, and some both more and less complicated than the chronograph, but we’re going to focus tightly on what should be considered the “base” TimeWalker. The goal with redesigning the TimeWalker is to create a truly compelling set of sports watches that can compete in the sub-$5,000 price category alongside the likes of TAG Heuer and Tudor. From the moment former Tudor creative boss Davide Cerrato took over at Montblanc, we knew big things were coming. We weren’t wrong.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph is a pretty standard three-register chronograph. It has a stainless steel case that measures 43mm across and 15.2mm thick. The chronograph has a 30-minute totalizer up top and a 12-hour totalizer at six o’clock, plus there’s a running seconds register at nine o’clock. Purists might be annoyed by the date window at three o’clock, but let’s remember that this is a watch meant for general consumers and most customers still ask for watches that show the date.
There are two dial color options – sunburst black and sunburst silver. Each offers contrasting tracks for the chronograph sub-registers and a contrasting rehaut with the more detailed timing track on it. The applied even numerals stand a nice height off the dial itself and have a vertically brushed finish that makes them look really high-end. Combined with the bright red chronograph seconds hand, the contrasty dial makes reading at a glance quickly very easy. It’s nice to see that Montblanc actually thought about making this a practical driving chronograph.
Looking at the rest of the watch, you keep finding more thoughtful details. The lugs are partially pierced, with one curved opening on the side with the pushers and two smaller cut-outs on the opposite side. Speaking of, those pushers are surrounded with little black knurled rims that match the crown and the edge of the polished black ceramic bezel. Despite being a large sports chronograph, this watch exhibits great attention to detail and is clearly trying to give wearers a lot to love that they won’t find in the competition.
Turning the watch over you’ll find a screw-down caseback with a smoked sapphire window for looking at the movement. Sure, the decoration on the caliber isn’t much to write home about, but there’s very little reason to not offer a sapphire back on a watch like this. The movement is the Montblanc caliber MB 25.07, which is their version of the Sellita SW500. It’s an automatic chronograph movement with a 46-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, and a frequency of 28,800 vph.
Overall, I have to say this watch really impressed me. When I first saw the standard press photos of it, I was a little skeptical. Sure, the design is nice, but there are a lot of nice looking sporty chronos out there these days. But the TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic shows a level of fit and finish that sets it apart, plus the kind of attention to detail that can get someone usually wary of 43mm chronographs interested. If this watch is Montblanc’s big bet for 2017, I think the odds are in its favor.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph Automatic will retail for $3,985 on either a perforated leather strap or a perforated rubber strap and for $4,290 on a stainless steel bracelet. The watches should begin hitting retailers in June.
In the last few years Montblanc has made quite the pivot away from the dressier end of the watch spectrum, to some sportier, more robust models. Case in point, the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph from a few years ago now. While Montblanc is not a mainstream chronograph brand, with watches this smart, it’s certainly worth a look …
Earlier this year I had a chance to have a look at Montblanc’s pre-SIHH offerings in scenic Wyoming, including this smart new evolution of the TimeWalker, the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph.
There are two big changes to this 43mm sports chronograph; let’s start with the most obvious first. The dial. Instead of the black or silver tones of the existing TimeWalker chronos, this time we get some added vintage style, in the form of the ever-popular ‘panda’ dial (so named because the black on white layout looks a little like the endangered bear). The matt dial finish has a slight creamy look, in line with the retro vibe that’s going on here. The small seconds subdial has the inlaid Montblanc star. You’ll also notice the ceramic bezel is now fixed, and shows a tachymetre scale instead of a 12-hour readout. All told, these changes result in a strong, high-contrast look that’s always popular, and has been used by many (many) brands over the years.
If you’re eagle-eyed, you may have noticed that this is now called the ‘Manufacture’ chronograph, and for me it’s the movement, the Calibre MB 25.10, that’s the really exciting development. This new movement is a column-wheel chrono with 46 hours of power reserve (visible through a smoked sapphire caseback). It really takes the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph into new territory, offering some genuine competition to other similarly priced sports chronographs. This TimeWalker is available either on a steel bracelet or this handsome, racing-style Sfumato strap.

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