The new Montblanc TimeWriter I Metamorphosis was one of the most exciting premieres from the young Swiss watch making brand at this year’s SIHH 2010 show.
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 regulateur-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 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 hour and minute totalizers at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively. After the slide is moved to the new position, the watch 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 ‘monopushers’ 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 watch.
The complication adds 315 extra parts to the original 252 parts of the Minerva Kaliber 16-29 hand-wound movement.
Based on a relatively new Minerva Caliber 16-15 (a mechanism that was completely redesigned back in early 2000 in order 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 terribly special about it, it became a main base caliber for Montblanc after Minerva brand was acquired by Richemont in 2006. So, for all things practical, you can actually 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 wristwatches that are still very 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 clearly required a large case.
Crafted from 18-carat 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 watch would still look better in a display box than on a wrist.
If I understand it correctly, the Montblanc Metamorphosis watch is still in its prototype phase, but the 3d-presentation by Montblanc looks truly astonishing.
Montblanc Metamorphosis watch specification
Price range: TBA
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 material: 18-carat white gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Case shape: Teardrop
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire case back
Case size: 47.00 mm
Case height: 14.80 mm
Dial: Black, three-dimensional
Numerals: Arabic and Roman
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 30 meters