In 2008, Montblanc has introduced yet another TimeWalker. Delivered in nicely styled stainless steel with black ceramic elements decorating its body and comfortable-looking bracelet, the chronograph makes a good impression although its sticker price may scare a lot of potential customers away to more traditional models with better-advertised brand names printed on their dials.
Although Montblanc is mostly known for its writing instruments, the bubble of the luxury watches market expands so fast and there is so much hope that everything must go among investors that many of them go head-first into the dark territory of accessories that often cost like a small Korean hatchback.
The Swiss brand Montblanc, too, succumbed to the fad, but it at least exercises a more conservative approach trying to feel its way into the market with watches that nicely mix classic and modern design languages. Of course, only time will tell how successful this particular model will be, but so far the future looks promising.
This collection is a great example of Montblanc’s approach to design. As you can see from the pictures, they didn’t invent anything new here. Their designers basically took the concept of a two-tone watch where gold elements of different colors replace the usual steel on the bezel, crown, and, if any, link elements on the bracelet and replaced them with the same elements crafted from glossy black ceramic.
Although the idea will not stun you with its novelty, as a result, we have a watch that looks bold in real life and can be worn not only with a business suit but also with something more democratic like a pair of jeans. I think you can even wear it while going to a black-tie event, although in that case, you should probably try not to mix it with accessories crafted from yellow or rose gold.
Since it is still prohibitively expensive for brands like Montblanc to produce their own fully-ceramic watches, the Swiss brand, which is mostly known for its writing instruments, has presented the chronograph in a “hybrid” body that, as I have already mentioned, looks good with all elements producing a sort of synergetic effect making a rather plain-looking device seem dressy and energetic.
The TimeWalker Chronograph‘s polished stainless steel case features an elegantly thin fixed bezel that is made from black glossy ceramic, which plays nicely with the mirror-polished steel surfaces.
The theme of the high-tech mixt is further supported by the comfortable-looking bracelet that combines stainless steel and ceramic elements.
The push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock and the branded setting crown with the signature Montblanc star are also made of steel and ceramic respectively.
Coming in a medium-sized 43-millimeter body, the watch can look both elegant or sporty if worn with business attire or with a more casual dress.
However, you must understand that together with relatively long lugs, the case measures around whole 50 millimeters long and may not look good on you if you happen to have a narrower wrist.
Dial & Legibility
While most chronographs tend to give their owners a hard time when it comes to serving their secondary function -measuring lapses of time- this particular gadget with its simplistic and highly legible interface looks surprisingly adequate for the job.
The recipe for success is simplicity.
Its six Arabic numerals are easily readable and pleasant to look at and the doubled baton-shaped hour markers are supported with glowing dots of Superluminova. The luminous substance is also present on the broad hour and minute hands so that nighttime legibility is never a problem.
Still, I feel obliged to draw your attention to skinny strips of lume on the hands: if your eyesight is far from perfect, they may sometimes be harder to read, although from the point of view of pure esthetics they are just great.
According to the Swiss brand’s press release, the watch is powered by the Montblanc 4810/502 self-winding movement. The caliber is based on the omnipresent ETA Valjoux 7750 ebauche, which, while not terribly exclusive, is known for its reliability, robustness, and accuracy.
Frankly, given its impressive price, I would rather have something more advanced at least in terms of exterior decor: a set of polished and blued screw heads and some Geneva striping on the branded oscillating weight doesn’t seem to be adequate to justify the high price tag. This sort of cost-cutting is absolutely fine with me when it comes to watches in the sub-$700 or even sub-$1000 category, but here it is sort of embarrassing.
The guys from marketing who made the decision should be really ashamed of themselves.
Available for $6300, the TimeWalker is expensive, but, if you own a Montblanc pen and would like to make your image complete, go for it.
Review Score: 4.5/5
Build quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 3.5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph (ref. 103094) specification
Price: MSRP $6300
Movement: Caliber Montblanc 4810/502, based on ETA Valjoux 7750 movement, automatic, Swiss Made
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Complications: Chronograph, date
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case: Stainless steel, ceramic bezel and crown
Size: 43.00 mm
Height: 14.50 mm
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Stainless steel / black ceramic bracelet with triple-folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, domed, anti-reflective coating on both sides