Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Novelties (W&W 2021)

1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100

Montblanc is keeping things special with the Monopusher Chronographs. The newest in the line-up is a re-edition of the 46mm military monopusher chronograph from the 1930s proudly displayed in Montblanc’s museum.

Encased in a bronze alloy, which seems to be Montblanc’s metal of choice for its heritage models, the Origins LE closely replicates the original design – case size, black dial, bicompax subdials, Arabic numerals, cathedral-shaped hands and even faux aged lume. Say what you will about faux patinated lume, it does look good on vintage-inspired designs, especially with a bronze case. With this edition, Montblanc also decided to proudly declare its ghost in the shell, the calibre MB M16.29, based on the original Minerva calibre 17.29 pocket chronograph, with a little logo on the dial.

The shout-out doesn’t stop there. The Origins LE also features an “officer” case back, laser etched with an image of the goddess Minerva, textured and coloured through the use of laser oxidation. Open up the case, and you are greeted by the engraved text “Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère suisse.”  (“Re-edition of a Minerva military chronograph from the 1930s equipped with a hand-made calibre following the Swiss watchmaking tradition.”) on the case back… um… back. Then you get the full view of the diva beneath.

As you would have come to expect from previous issues of the movement, the aesthetics do not disappoint. What is different in this iteration is the absence of the rose gold plating, which makes it less fanciful but more historically accurate and, in my opinion, more authentic to the style of a military watch.

The Origins LE is limited to 100 pieces, once again depriving the masses of a great movement. That’s the price of keeping it special, I suppose.

1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition

Since its introduction in 2019, the 1858 Split Second Chronograph has been making quite a statement as a high-end complication with a strong value proposition. Montblanc had also opted for bold colours, including the Only Watch with a blue agate dial and bronze-cased nephrite jade dial.

The 2021 version features a case in what Montblanc calls “Lime Gold”, which is a proprietary gold alloy made of 18K gold, silver and iron. This imbues a certain faint greenish hue, reminiscent of vintage gold. At least that’s what the pictures look like, and we’ll have to look at it in the metal to get a better sense of it.

Historic Minerva Spilt Seconds Chronograph.

To complement the new colour in the 44mm case is a gold sunray dial and green, well, almost everything else except for the gold central chronograph second hand and the 30-minute and small-second counters. There are some variations to the shades of green, and overall legibility is very good. The applied green Arabic numerals are full monobloc lume which create depth and should be highly visible in the dark.

The monopusher split second chronograph is powered once again by the excellent manually wound calibre MB M16.31, beautifully decorated and layered, enhanced by the gold plating on German Silver. This is a view that never gets old, and it has got its history to prove it.

The Lime Gold 1858 Split Second Chronograph is limited to only 18 pieces, so if you miss out on it and see it on someone else’s wrist, you will surely be green with envy. I apologise, but I just couldn’t help myself.