Celebrating the 90th anniversary of its legendary Meisterstuck pen that Montblanc has first released in 1924, the Swiss luxury brand releases the dressy Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Pulsograph by Minerva. Limited to just 90 pieces, the timekeeper features a working mechanical pulsometer: a thing that was popular among wealthy medical doctors during the first decades of the last century.
Powered by their in-house, hand-assembled Montblanc Calibre MB M13.21 hand-wound movement (a mechanism that Montblanc says was inspired by the almost mythical Minerva Calibre 13.20), it is based on their Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe that the brand has introduced in 2011 in order to let everybody know that their then recently purchased Minerva manufacturing facility was alive and well and ready to churn out beautifully designed movements of the highest quality.
Compared to the 2011 model, the new version looks a lot more usable with its easy to read pulsometer scale, which is still calibrated for 30 heartbeats, and a better choice of colors that make the watch more legible in normal lighting conditions.
Although in real life the watch doesn’t look as majestic as on these promotional photos, the silver-toned dial still offers enough contrast for the gold-plated hands and hour markers, while the off-white color of the pulsometer scale gives the watch that nice vintage feel.
Of course, as the name implies, the mechanism plays the center stage here. Clearly visible through the sapphire case back cover, the caliber MB M13.21 features that vintage design that lots of people still love so dearly. With all the unnecessary metal carefully removed by skillful hands, with all the minute details decorated with so much love, it is indeed a shame that the tiny engine will spend most of its life hidden from admiring eyes by the silver dial of the timekeeper.
Like most archaic mechanisms, this one beats at a glacier speed of just 18,000 vibrations per hour, but in return, you get 60 hours of power reserve, which is nice indeed for a timekeeper that needs manual winding. Perhaps, the only drawback here is the way the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock moves in visible jerks. For those who have already got used to the usual 28,800 vph of a modern mechanical watch, that may be a bit annoying or even disappointing.
A bit unexpectedly, the Meisterstuck Heritage Pulsograph by Minerva comes in a compact case of just 39 millimeters in diameter. The choice of sizing not only makes it an almost perfect dress watch but also gives a lot more satisfying experience when it comes to wearing this device on a daily basis.
What bothers me here is that the styling of the watch is, putting it mildly, somewhat secondary. I don’t want to push my opinion on you, but doesn’t the watch look similar to this gorgeous Girard-Perregaux 1966 Chronograph that GP has first introduced four years ago at SIHH 2010 and then presented its slightly face-lifted (and also powered by a new movement) version 49542-52-151-BK6A in 2012?
Yes, while comparing both watches, you probably won’t find any similar part: the hands are different, the numerals and hour markers are not the same, but the total feel of the new homage to Meisterstuck will always bug you with the same question: where have I seen this thing before?
All in all, the dial is as spotless, albeit a bit generic. All of its elements are easily readable, tastefully designed and meticulously executed. Frankly, I don’t see anything to negatively affect its maximum 5/5 legibility rating. The fact that it comes without a single drop of luminous substance is irrelevant here, although some persons may miss it.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Pulsograph by Minerva specification
Movement: Hand-wound, Montblanc Calibre MB M13.21 (inspired by Minerva Calibre 13.20), 239 components, diameter: 29.50 mm, height: 6.40 mm, hand-assembled, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 22
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, polished screws, skeletonized
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, pulsometer
Case: Rose gold
Size: 39.00 mm
Dial: Silver and off-white
Numerals: Roman, gold-plated
Hour markers: Applied, gold-plated
Hands: Blued and gold-plated
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap