Montblanc, the maker of the iconic writing tools, will soon update its high-end Collection Villeret family with a new Villeret Vintage Pulsographe (ref. 106497) limited-edition chronograph that is animated by a hand-wound -and, technically, in-house- caliber.
The annual SIHH trade show is getting closer and the major brands start their regular PR bombardment.
Among them is Montblanc — the maker of expensive writing instruments that made good use of its recently acquired Minerva manufacturing facility, which is based in Villeret, Switzerland.
The 2011 Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe is equipped with the Calibre MBM 13.21 hand-winding mono-pusher chronograph movement that is a refinished and fine-tuned to modern standards of timekeeping vintage Minerva 13.21 mechanism.
Being 29.50 mm in diameter and 6.40 mm in height, the movement is built of 239 components and, thanks to its oversized mainspring barrel, features a formidable power reserve of 60 hours.
The “monopusher” part in its name means that all usual chronograph operations –start, stop, and reset– are performed with consecutive pushes of the same button.
While most expensive monopushers have the push-piece placed in the center of the crown, this particular model will come with the pusher located at 2 o’clock.
I am a great fan of all sorts of chronographs and can only welcome this solution: it is physiologically easier to operate a small button, which is located in the upper part of the case, than the one staying in its middle.
Another outstanding feature of the Pulsographe (and the entire Villeret collection) is the gorgeous Grand Feu enameled dial. Depending on the model, the solid gold disk of the dial is coated either in black or in white enamel (for the models in red gold and white gold respectively.)
As it is almost always the case with vintage-styled models, the dial is perfectly legible and will cause no strain on your eyes, whether you will find yourself checking the current time or operating the chronograph.
Speaking of which, I must add that this is not the usual chrono with a tachymetric scale (a useful feature if your car’s speedometer has just died and you want to check your speed on a freeway, right.)
This model comes with a lot less familiar to most customers “pulsograph” function.
Calibrated up to 30 heartbeats, the pulsograph scale makes it easier to check patient’s (or your own, whether you are a sportsman or a hypochondriac) pulse without the need to wait for a whole second. Just start the chronograph, count 30 heartbeats, stop the chrono and check its readings on the red outer scale. Well, it was always easier for me to count the number of heartbeats in the first fifteen seconds and then just multiply the result by four, but, well, it is still a nice complication!
The 1858 Vintage Pulsographe will be offered both in red gold and white gold versions at a price of approximately €35,000 (the MSRP may vary greatly across the world depending on how protectionist a local government is). Only 58 pieces of each model will be made.
Montblanc Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe (ref. 106497) specification
Movement: Calibre MBM 13.21, 18,000 vph, 239 components, 22 jewels, diameter: 29.50 mm, height: 6.40 mm, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, monopusher chronograph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case: Red gold or White gold
Size: 39.00 mm
Case height: 12.03 mm
Dial: Black or White
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-sewn alligator-leather with a pronged buckle made of solid gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective