Sharing the Passion for Fine Watchmaking
Ninety years ago, Montblanc created a writing instrument that became an icon in the culture of writing: the
Montblanc Meisterstück. With functional and aesthetic design, an innovative ink supply and a manually
profiled gold nib, this fountain pen is the legendary writing instrument of our time.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection is inspired by the ninety-year heritage of the Meisterstück. With classical design, discriminating complications and sumptuous decorations, these elegant timepieces manifest the values of the Montblanc Meisterstück and the traditional features of fine Swiss watchmaking in every detail – thus making them their owners’ lifelong companions.
The Montblanc Meisterstück: A Legend from the Hands of Master Craftsmen
Meisterstück is the German word for “masterpiece”. The concept originated in medieval craftsmen’s guilds: ever since the Middle Ages, a craftsman who had successfully completed his journeyman years could apply for recognition as a Meister (master). If the guild accepted his request, the applicant was obliged to prove his abilities by fabricating an especially demanding artefact under the supervision of one of the guild’s masters. If the other masters accepted this piece as a Meisterstück, the applicant was granted the title of Meister. Today too, the word Meisterstück continues to stand for extraordinary craftsmanship, traditional techniques, high-quality materials, perfect aesthetics and outstanding functionality.
When the Meisterstück fountain pen 149 debuted in 1924, it proved that Montblanc had created an artefact which truly deserves its name. The design is elegantly reduced: the barrel and cap are made of deep black precious resin, a golden gleam beautifies both the ring around the barrel and the clip, and the entire ensemble is crowned by Montblanc’s emblem, which symbolizes the snow-covered summit of the European continent’s tallest peak. This mountain towers 4,810 metres above sea level, which is why the engraved numeral “4810” adorns the nib of every Montblanc Meisterstück writing instrument and distinguishes it as a product that embodies the acme of European craftsmanship. The passion for aesthetics, craftsmanship and quality gave birth to a highly functional, exclusive and timelessly beautiful object for daily use. This pen wrote world history: countless presidents, crowned heads and high-ranking dignitaries have used it to sign international treaties and certificates of appointment. But above all, it’s the discriminating standards and spirit, along with enduring appreciation from its owners, which have enabled the Meisterstück to become a legend.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection
This “Spirit of Meisterstück” was the starting point for the development of a new line of watches: the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection. This new collection is inspired by the standards of the Montblanc Meisterstück. Like the legendary fountain pen, these timepieces are distinguished by masterly craftsmanship, timeless design and perfect functionality.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection embodies the finest Swiss watchmaking in each and every detail. For example, the time is shown by faceted hands in the classical dauphine shape, which sweep over cambered, silver-white dials that have been tastefully embellished with sunburst patterns. Dauphine hands are extremely challenging to fabricate because their clear geometry, straight contours and perfectly smooth flanks would instantly reveal even the tiniest flaw in their manufacturing or assembly. Their elegant length is an especially distinguishing feature of fine watchmaking. The hour circle combines polished faceted appliqués in three different lengths and an eye-catching applied Roman numeral “XII”. In accord with the best watchmaking tradition, each appliqué stands atop two little feet which are firmly riveted to the dial. The classical shape of the elegant 39- or 41-mm-diameter case is accentuated by various finishings on the surfaces, for example, horizontal satin finishing on the middle piece. The crown is adorned with Montblanc’s emblem in polished, raised relief against a matte sand-blasted background.
These elaborate features distinguish all models in the Meisterstück Heritage Collection: from the classical three-handed wristwatch with date display, through the elegant moon-phase watch, to grandes complications such as a perpetual calendar and a monopusher chronograph.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph
Two Grand Traditions
The pulsometer scale of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is positioned along the periphery of the dial. This logarithmic scale is calibrated for 30 pulse beats (GRADUÉ POUR 30 PULSATIONS) with subdivisions for each tenth and fifth pulsation along a railroad-style track. This scale concentrically surrounds the chronograph’s elapsed-seconds scale, which is subdivided into fifths of a second to correspond with the balance’s frequency of 2.5 hertz. Slender black index strokes alternate with red Arabic numerals at five-minute intervals. The chronograph’s elapsed-time hands are crafted from blued steel: the large trotteuse culminates in a red tip and the small hand on the elapsed-minutes subdial bears an arrowhead. The latter is an allusion to the logo of the former Minerva Manufacture. Closer to the dial’s centre lies the minute scale with tidy black dots, hour indices in the form of sharply faceted gold-plated appliqués, and applied goldplated Roman numerals “XII” and “VI”. Styled to harmonize with the gold-plated dauphine hour-hand and minute-hand, these numerals form a chromatic unity with the elegant 18 karat rose gold case.
Classical Chronographic Mechanisms – Fabricated by Hand
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is animated by chronograph Calibre MB M13.21, which embodies all the distinguishing features of classical chronograph mechanisms and the traditional watchmaker’s art. It functions with a column-wheel and horizontal gear coupling. As a monopusher construction, it has a three-phase control which sequentially triggers the start, stop and zero-return commands. When the lone button is pressed, it activates a series of levers, each of which is painstakingly manually embellished. All levers and springs are polished on their flat surfaces, satin-finished on their sides, and manually bevelled along their edges. All functional planes are individually and manually adjusted in each movement to maximize the smoothness and reliability with which the button triggers the commands. Similarly luxurious finishing has been lavished on all other components of the movement. The plate and bridges are fabricated from rhodium-plated nickel silver; the bridges are bevelled by hand, and these chamfered surfaces are then manually polished. Classical Geneva waves embellish the planar surfaces. The V-shaped chronograph-bridge is an eye-catching and characteristic feature: inspired by its counterpart in Minerva’s legendary chronograph Calibre 13.20, its inner angles are a symbol of traditional horological craftsmanship that no machine, no matter how modern it may be, could possibly imitate. The bridge proudly bears the name “Minerva Villeret”. The pale silver-grey hue of the movement’s chassis contrasts with red jewels and a large massy screw balance that oscillates at the classical pace of 2.5 hertz. Both the balance and the hairspring, which culminates in a Philips terminal curvature, are manufactured and manually adjusted inhouse. The balance’s frequency (18,000 A/h) demands meticulous fine adjustment, but rewards this labour by accurately timing elapsed intervals to the nearest fifth of a second. The movement draws its energy from a large barrel: with circularly grained inner surfaces, the barrel is elaborately decorated even in places that ordinarily remain unseen – further proof that this calibre embodies definitive horological craftsmanship.
The positioning of the chronograph’s sole button at “2 o’clock” shows that this timepiece is a high-quality monopusher chronograph. Its handmade movement can be viewed by peering through a pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the case. Both surfaces of this crystal have been specially treated to prevent glare and reflections.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph will be available in an elegant 41-mm case made of 18 karat rose gold. A Montblanc diamond, cut and polished to form the emblem of the maison, is inset into the middle piece of the case at “6 o’clock”. As a valuable but unostentatious symbol, it shows that this watch is equipped with a manufacture calibre. The watch is worn on a black alligator-skin strap with large reptilian scales. The wristband culminates in a rose gold pronged buckle. The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph will be launched in the autumn of 2014 in a limited edition of 90 timepieces. The limitation to 90 watches pays homage to the year nine decades ago when the Meisterstück fountain pen was born (1924) and to the pen’s 90th anniversary, which it celebrates in 2014.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar
Timeless Aesthetics – Eternal Functionality
The grande complication of the perpetual calendar is both highly demanding from a mechanical viewpoint and an expression of the utmost in the watchmaker’s art. Unlike an ordinary “full calendar”, a perpetual calendar always shows the correct date and requires no manual adjustment, not even at the end of a month with fewer than 31 days and also not at the end of February in a leap year. It accordingly jumps directly from 30 June to 1 July and from 28 February to 1 March, except in a leap year, when it automatically shows 29 February.
The mechanism which supports this function requires complexly shaped rockers and cams that mechanically pre-program the variously long months and also add a 29th day to February once every four years. If the mainspring of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar is kept sufficiently wound, this timepiece’s calendar will require no manual adjustments until the year 2100. If this watch is left unworn for a longer period of time, its calendar displays can be quickly and easily returned to synchrony with the current date by pressing the inset buttons in the middle piece of the case. The perpetual calendar is powered by self-winding mechanical Calibre MB 29.15., which has a balance paced at 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 hertz).
The displays of the Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar are harmoniously arranged on the dial: the date is shown at “3 o’clock”, the day of the week at “9 o’clock”, and the month at “12 o’clock”. On the inner scale of the month display, the leap-year cycle is shown by a blue triangle and a leap year is indicated by a red “4”. The moon’s phases are emulated in a window at “6 o’clock”; the moon’s age is indicated in days at this window’s upper edge.
The calendar’s finely blued hands elegantly contrast with the silver-white, cambered dial, which is adorned with a sunburst pattern. A gold-plated hour-hand and minute-hand harmonize with the 39-mm-diameter case, which is crafted from 18 karat rose gold. A pane of sapphire crystal in the back offers a clear view of elaborately embellished self-winding Calibre MB 29.15. This new classic wristwatch is affixed to a black alligator-leather strap with an 18 karat rose gold pronged buckle. The closure’s curved crosspieces harmoniously repeat the curvature of the watch’s case. This too is another of the many details that distinguish timelessly perfect design in full accord with the traditions of haute horlogerie.
Each Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar wristwatch is subjected to a comprehensive 500-hour quality test at the manufacture in Le Locle. Developed by Montblanc, this rigorous examination verifies the accuracy of the watch’s rate, the watertightness of its case, the timepiece’s overall performance and robustness, and the functionality of the individual displays. Only after its examiners are convinced that a watch upholds Montblanc’s strict quality standards do they release it for subsequent delivery. Each watch that passes the 500-hour test is individually issued a test certificate. The Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar will be launched in the summer of 2014.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase
Watch aficionados appreciate the classical complication of the moon-phase display not only because of the cleverness of the mechanical solution, but also and especially thanks to its aesthetic styling. The moonphase display of the Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase is integrated into the scale of the date display, which relies on a classical blued hand. The moon’s phases appear in the traditional manner inside a semicircular window along a “double-bubble” line, which gives the moon’s silhouette its gradually changing faces on the underlying disc.
This moon-phase watch has all the characteristic features associated with Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage design. The 39-mm-diameter case is made of 18 karat rose gold (5N). Its flanks, which descend vertically, are beautified with horizontal satin finishing. The bezel is narrow, convexly rounded and polished to a glossy finish. This component surrounds the slightly cambered dial, which has a finely shimmering sunburst pattern. The hour circle is made of clearly faceted, applied indices and an applied Roman numeral “XII”, above which the sharply faceted and sharply tapering dauphine hands reliably sweep their orbits. The precise progress of the hands is assured by automatic Calibre MB 29.14. Its mechanisms – especially its winding rotor and the gleaming golden 4-hertz balance – can be viewed through a pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the case. A black alligator-skin wristband with large reptilian scales and a pronged buckle made of 18 karat rose gold round out the timelessly elegant appearance of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Date Automatic
With its four displays (hours, minutes, seconds and date), the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Date concentrates on all essential functions. Embodying the tasteful styling associated with the Meisterstück Heritage line, it self-confidently combines understatement and elegance.
The dial’s design embodies an aesthetic based on pure functionality so that the highlights of the Meisterstück philosophy can be especially well expressed: the cambered dial with fine black indices for the minutes along the downwardly sloping periphery of the dial, the sharply faceted applied indices in various lengths, the applied Roman numeral “XII”, the date window with polished frame and the fine sunburst pattern with a radiant shimmer that wanders across the dial in response to the incident lighting. All this forms the background for the circular motions of the rhodium-plated and polished hour-hand and minute-hand, each in dauphine style, with sharply tapering facets that beautifully match the applied indices. The large blued second-hand is another characteristic of the traditional codes of artistic Swiss watchmaking. The hands are propelled by self-winding mechanical Calibre MB 24.17. A pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the case invites connoisseurs to admire the movement’s finishing and its gleaming golden balance, which oscillates at a precise pace of four hertz. The movement is ensconced in a stainless steel case that boasts all the distinguishing features of Meisterstück Heritage design: a narrow, convex, polished bezel; vertically descending flanks with horizontal satin finishing; finely arcing horns; a cambered crystal, treated on both its surfaces to prevent reflections, above the dial; and a brown alligator-skin strap with large reptilian scales and a stainless steel pronged buckle.