Unveiled at the SIHH 2010 show, the high-tech TimeWriter I Metamorphosis was one of the most exciting premieres from Montblanc.
Coming in a case reminiscent of Dali’s famous melting clocks, the new timepiece also features a futuristic ‘transformer’ dial. With a push of a slide, you can transform the regulator-style civil time display watch into a chronograph.
In its normal layout, the watch features a “lone” hour hand sub-dial at 12 o’clock, a retrograde minute hand that travels from 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock and back, and the third sub-dial with a hand indicator displays the current date.
Sliding the lever on the left side of the case from 10 to 8 o’clock, one can transform the watch into a chronograph with the hour and minute totalizers at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively. After the slide is moved to the new position, the dial takes about 15 seconds to open, slide under one another and finally hide behind the dial two wings at 12 o’clock and four wings at 6 o’clock while lifting a new sub-dial disc that eventually “swallows” the date hand.
As you have probably guessed, the chronograph is operated via a single push-piece in the timekeeper’s crown. Although this sort of design makes the crown longer and thus less comfortable in certain circumstances, some consider ‘mono-pushers’ a bit more ergonomic since it is easier to control the timer with either your right index finger or left thumb depending on where you prefer to wear your timepiece.
The complication adds 315 extra parts to the original 252 parts of the hand-wound Minerva Kaliber 16-29.
Based on a relatively new Minerva Caliber 16-15 (a mechanism that was completely redesigned back in early 2000 to adapt to the new generation of computer-controlled watchmaking machinery), this retro-styled movement features a column-wheel chronograph mechanism.
With its a bit archaic design, the caliber 16-29 beats at a rather slow pace of just 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour that, together with its twin-barrel design, allowed to extend its power reserve to more or less standard 55 hours.
Although there is nothing special about it, it became the main base caliber for Montblanc after Minerva brand was acquired by Richemont in 2006. So, for all things practical, you can say that this new Metamorphosis model is powered by an in-house mechanism, which certainly adds some extra value to this timekeeper.
Originally designed with pocket watches in mind (and later adapted to power oversized accessories that are still popular in certain parts of the world), the mechanism measures almost 38.5 millimeters in diameter and is more than 11 millimeters thick. Together with the butterfly-style shutter mechanism, it required a large case.
Crafted from 18-karat white gold, the peculiarly shaped body is some 47 millimeters long and is almost 15 millimeters thick. Not that it makes it a monster considering the fancy complication that it houses, but the Metamorphosis would still look better in a display box than on a wrist.
If I understand it correctly, the Metamorphosis is still in its prototype phase, but the 3d-presentation by Montblanc looks truly astonishing.
Montblanc Metamorphosis specification
Movement: Minerva Kaliber 16-29, hand-wound, 18,000 vph, twin barrels, in-house, Swiss Made
Complications: Chronograph, date, dial transformation
Power reserve: 55 hours
Case: 18-karat white gold
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire
Size: 47.00 mm
Height: 14.80 mm
Dial: Black, three-dimensional
Numerals: Arabic and Roman
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 30 meters