Paying tribute to Minerva’s extraordinary heritage, Montblanc takes a journey back to the glory days of motor racing with five new TimeWalker timepieces that capture the beauty, spirit and values of motorsport history. The rebirth of these professional watches showcases the performance and innovation of the new Montblanc TimeWalker collection.
The chronograph has been one of the most popular complications since its very beginnings. This innovative complication has become far more than a mechanical timing device – it is an instrument that enforces the gentleman’s code of fair play and good sportsmanship, becoming the witness and judge to almost every type of sporting competition. Of all the motor sports, car racing is the one that has always had an intricate link to the chronograph. The history of competitive driving and performance timing are so inseparable that one could not exist without the other. With the capacity to capture and record time for eternity, the chronograph has borne witness to some outstanding automotive sporting moments.
As the development of motor racing evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries, the chronograph became a symbol of fair competition and the ultimate reminder that victory can only ever be judged by true and accurately timed results.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Collection symbolizes the spirit of racing and harks back to these instruments of glory by offering a line of new professional watches for the modern performer that take their inspiration from Minerva’s outstanding history. The Minerva Manufacture was known as an exclusive workshop that produced high-quality instruments for measuring brief intervals of time with remarkable precision. The renowned “Rally Timer”, a stopwatch that was created to time motor racing with precision, is the perfect example of this heritage. Minerva watches were the reference in the field of horological innovation, with numerous patents registered over the years in the domain of precision timers, creating a legacy of savoir-faire.
Founded in 1858 in Villeret in the Saint-Imier Valley, Minerva has been a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches. From 1908, it was already successfully pursuing new technological challenges, such as the production of watches equipped with chronograph functions and highly accurate stopwatches that measured short intervals of time. The Manufacture developed stopwatches that could measure 1/5th of a second as early as 1911, rapidly increasing to 1/10th of a second. In this innovative spirit, in 1916, the Minerva Manufacture was one of the first to produce a high-frequency movement that could measure 1/100th of a second, a development that was further technically improved in 1936, putting Minerva on the map as the specialist of professional watches and stopwatches.
The new Montblanc TimeWalker collection combines these legendary timing instruments of the past with the spirit of motor racing, encapsulating the Minerva heritage, superb technology, masculine energy, highest performance and the style of the glory days of racing.
The results are evocative, vintage-themed though contemporary, and designed for modern performers who like to express their achievements, ambitions, masculinity, style and personality in their choice of wristwatch. Perfect for both business and leisure, the new Montblanc TimeWalker timepieces command respect and admiration and underline the confidence of those who wear them.
The new Montblanc TimeWalker collection represents a strong contemporary expression of the professional sport chronograph with a 43 mm case size that has become a standard size for Montblanc’s performance timepieces. From the case to the dial, from the movement to the complications, the collection focuses on masculine energy and a vintage themed style, while combining performance, innovation, great legibility and robustness. Emblematic combinations of materials come into play in each of the models, such as high-tech black ceramic, satinated steel, titanium and rubber, highlighting the Maison’s creative spirit. The aesthetic codes of the new Montblanc TimeWalker timepieces are directly rooted in the world of racing: satinated cases and semi-skeletonized horns with architecturally carved flanks, all inspired by the aerodynamic lines of the bodywork of classic cars. Iconic details include knurled finishing on the flank of the emblematic black ceramic bezel, as well as on the crowns and pushers, which are reminiscent of vintage car caps; smoked glass case backs inspired by the glass windows that reveal sporty V12 engines; and strap holes that pay tribute to vintage leather racing gloves.
Clear legibility and visibility are achieved with strong contrasts of colour, three-dimensional counters inspired by vintage dashboards, precise scales and dauphine shaped hands with SuperLuminova for the greatest readability and performance by day and night. For utmost precision, most of the TimeWalker timepieces feature an iconic central seconds hand coated in red with the tip crafted in the shape of the Minerva arrow.
In order to guarantee the reliability of such a sporty professional product line, all the Montblanc TimeWalker models undergo over 500 hours of controls, with specific testing and general operating evaluation under extreme conditions. To also ensure sporting performance in terms of waterproofness, all the models are water-resistant to 100 metres.
The famous Rally Timer stopwatch produced by Minerva for recording road racing is the inspiration behind this new Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter Limited Edition 100. This innovative timepiece offers different ways to appreciate the time, with the possibility of transforming the wristwatch into a pocket watch or a dashboard clock.
The wristwatch, with its elegant black leather calf strap, can be easily converted into a pocket watch by simply folding the strap attachments under the case and turning the case from 0 to 180 degrees (or from 3 to 9 o’clock). The pocket watch can then be either placed on a table thanks to two arms below the case, used as a stopwatch with the strap as a handle for utmost security, or clipped into a metal plate covered with leather that attaches to a car’s dashboard, offering a highly functional and extremely legible timepiece when behind the wheel.
The contemporary design is combined with a vintage racing look and all the design codes of the Montblanc TimeWalker Collection. The 50 mm case is crafted out of grade-two titanium and has been satinated in order to enhance the structure of the metal. The middle section of the case has also been knurled and coated with black DLC to celebrate and accentuate the motor racing spirit. Satin-finished titanium is also the material of choice for the vintage-inspired knurled monopusher, crown and the versatile strap attachments. Turn the timepiece over, and the details continue with an opened caseback in the shape of a car grill that reveals the beauty of the Manufacture manually-wound monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29.
The racing codes also carry over onto the black dial with highly legible hands, indexes and chronograph functions. The chronograph’s 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock is vertically aligned with the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, reminiscent of the original Minerva Rally Timer. In the centre, the red chronograph second hand runs along a tachymeter scale, which can be used to calculate speeds over fixed distances.
The timepiece is powered by the Manufacture manually wound monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29 that features a column wheel, horizontal coupling and a power reserve of 50 hours. The calibre takes its inspiration from the original Minerva calibre 17.29 developed in the 1930s, used for both pocket watches and wristwatches. This modern-day version is recognisable thanks to its beautiful hand-crafted finishings—Côtes de Genève stripes, inner angles, circular graining and bevelling—as well as its fine details such as the iconic Minerva arrow, a chronograph bridge shaped in the form of a “V” (a shape that was patented in 1912), and a large screwed balance that has a traditional frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour.
For utmost reliability and performance, the timepiece is water-resistant to 30 metres and has been rigorously tested by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, simulating intense real-life wear for over 500 hours.