Sunday, December 27, 2015

Monthblanc Collection Villeret 1858 - The Full Package in the Pulsographe

One feels excited when one acquires a new timepiece but the Collection Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe from Manufacture Montblanc is special.

Manufacture Montblanc you say? Well back in 2007, the two heavy weights Montblanc and Minerva teamed up to form Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie. Montblanc was to use the movement of Minerva in a special range the commission as the Collection Villeret 1858.

Movement specialist Minerva was founded back in 1858 in the St. Imier valley in Switzerland and their logo was an arrowhead. All Minerva movements have an arrowhead and in this case, the folks at Montblanc worked with Minerva to refine the movement and make some improvements too. Today, the manufacture is located in Villeret the historical location of Minerva and the manufacture concentrates on performing as many manufacturing and finishing steps in-house as much as possible thus limiting the number of timepieces they can produce each year.

The first collection of four watches in Collection Villeret 1858 was released limited numbers - 1 unique piece in Platinum, 8 pieces in white gold and 58 pieces in red gold to signify the year 1858. All Collection Villeret 1858 timepieces will be encased in precious metal - much like Lange & Sohne. And following in the tradition of traditional watchmaking, the balance wheels of the 1858 timepieces beats at the classic 18,000 vph (or 2.5 Hertz).

I was first acquainted with Collection Villeret 1858 in 2009 and then again in 2013 when I visited the Montblanc Boutique in Mandarin Orchard. The beauty of the Vintage Pulsographe took to me and I was sold. The finishing in the movement is top notch and the Grand Feu enamel dial was exquisite!

Black enamel as I understand is far more difficult to make than white enamel. And to fire it in the oven layer by layer in temperatures exceed 850 degrees Celcius is no small feat. From the naked eye, it looks flawless - the white and red numerals on a black background lends a nice contrast to the black enamel.

I love the beautiful contrast between the black enamel dial and the red and white numerals.

Look at the finishing on the enamel dial...

and the clear reflection...

The monopusher is located at the 2 O'Clock position starts, stops and resets the chronograph function unlike the two button chronographs.

The movement is the one that gets your pulse racing (pun intended)! A vintage Minerva movement improved and finished to the highest standard by the Manufacture in Villeret. The manually wound movement has a power reserve of 60 hours and the column wheel is visible through the sapphire case back.

Minerva Calibre 13-21 is a column wheel chronograph movement with horizontal clutch system. The complete movement is 239 parts and the plates and bridges are made in German silver.

The Devil is in the details or should I say the Devil's Tail is in the movement - Look out for the signature "Devil's Tail" on the Minerva movement and the large balance wheel.

The level of finesse goes beyond the dial and the movement. In this timepiece, the Montblanc logo on the crown is made of Mother-of-Pearl.

The 39mm timepiece is encased in red gold and the dial has a pulsometer scale. Dubbed "Doctor's Watch", the pulsometer scale allows for the users to take the pulse without going the full one minute. All one needs to do is start the chronograph and measure 30 beats of the pulse and stops the chronograph. The reading on the scale will correspond to the heart rate of that individual.

Quite the chronograph to have in one's collection. This model comes in two colour combination - the rose gold case with a black enamel dial and a white gold case with white enamel dial and blue hands. Both in my humble opinion are equally attractive timepieces.

There is such a thing as love at first sight and I chronicle that in the Deployant article. As I said it before, this is one keeper for me. Loved it when I first laid eyes on it and it was only recently that I managed to get my hands on it.