I just had my hands on the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante

Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante

This is the latest masterpiece made by Minerva for Montblanc. It´s an outstanding timepiece! Enjoy my photos and the short HD-video

For those of you who thought I was lazy the last two days, since there was no new post to read, I can assure you I wasn´t. I simply hadn’t the time to upload any new stories because I am pretty busy these days doing presentations and evening moderations for Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc.

Today I am in Zürich and in just a while I will also meet Jerome Lambert, the new CEO of Montblanc. I will tape an interview with him and put it online this afternoon CET.

The Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante will later then be one of stars of the tonight´s evening event here in Zürich. But before the watch could be decorated into its vitrine I quickly took some photos and made a short video.

I invite you to discover one of the most spectacular complicated watches that was presented this year only a few days ago in Hong Kong at Watches & Wonders.

With the rattrapante mechanism as the most complicated form of chronograph, the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret demonstrates its competence in the most challenging “freestyle” aspect of the chronographic discipline.

 

Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante
Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante

 

The Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante live filmed here in Zürich some minutes ago. What you hear in the background are the typical streest-sounds of Zürich. The light inside was so bad, that I decided to take the 250.000 Euro watch outside on the street to film it … 🙂

 

 

Manufacture Calibre 16.61

Type of movement: Hand-wound movement with split-second chronograph, small seconds, second time zone with 24-hour display and separate four-minute tourbillon

Chronograph: Split-second chronograph mechanism with two column-wheels, rattrapante-clamps with springs at both sides and horizontal coupling with sliding gear

Dimensions: Diameter = 38.4 mm; height = 11.9 mm

No. of components: 411

Power reserve: 55 hours

Balance: Screw balance; diameter = 14.5 mm; 59 mgcm2

Frequency: 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz)

Tourbillon: One rotation every four minutes

Hairspring: With Phillips terminal curvature

Plate: Rhodium-plated nickel silver with circular graining on both sides, hand-chamfered edges

Bridges: Rhodium-plated nickel silver with côtes de Genève (Geneva waves) recesses circular-grained on both sides, hand-chamfered edges

Gear-train Wheels: gold-plated, circular-grained, chamfered, diamond hubs on both sides

Pinions: polished faces and toothing, burnished pivots

Displays (watch): Hours in the first and second time zones at “6 o’clock”, minutes from the centre, small seconds at “9 o’clock”, day/night indication with 24-hour display at “4:30”

Displays: Chronograph’s elapsed-seconds and split-second hand from the     centre, counter for thirty elapsed minutes at “3 o’clock”

Case: Limited edition of eighteen watches with 18 karat white gold cases; domed sapphire crystal (forme chevée), screwed back with pane of sapphire crystal

Dimensions of case: Diameter = 47 mm; height = 17.5 mm

Water resistance: To three bar (thirty metres)

Crown: With integrated chronograph button

Push-pieces: At “2 o’clock” for the rattrapante function and at “8 o’clock” to reset the     time in a second zone

Dial: 18 karat gold with grainé décor, applied scales in grand feu enamel on gold for the continually running seconds, the hours, the 24-hour display and up to thirty elapsed minutes

Hands: Blued steel, chronograph’s hand made of PfinodalTM

Wristband: Hand-sewn alligator-leather strap, pronged buckle made of 18-karat white gold

Price: 250.000 Euro

 

For further or the first information about the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante please quickly go through these lines I have put together for you…

Unlike a conventional tourbillon, Montblanc’s ExoTourbillon frees the large screw balance from the burden of the rotating cage. Rather than offering a mere chronograph, the new model encases a split-second chronograph with two column-wheels and a classical double clamp. And instead of an ordinary face, the watch’s dial is a fascinating three-dimensional arena of massive gold and grand feu enamel. This masterful combination of the traditional watchmaker’s art and trailblazing innovations comes with an 18 karat white gold case and a regulator dial. The exceptional novelty shows the time in a second zone, includes a day/night indicator and is manufactured in a limited edition of eighteen timepieces. Ordinary chronographs define the upper limit of so-called “everyday” or “petites complications”, but split-second chronographs are grandes complications in the truest sense of the phrase.

Extraordinary mechanical complexity and almost 70% more components than for a conventional chronograph mechanism are needed to enable them to perform their useful function, i.e. momentarily halting the split-second hand to indicate an intervening interval without interrupting the ongoing measurement of an elapsing interval by the chronograph’s elapsed-second hand per se. The watchmakers’ efforts are all the more laborious for delicate steel parts, which impose the utmost demands in manufacturing, finishing and assembly. Fabrication at Montblanc in Villeret occurs almost entirely by traditional manual craftsmanship, so significantly more time and labor are required. All this prior to the “mise en fonction”, when hours or days of meticulous work are lavished on all functional parts of the chronograph and split-second mechanism, which are finely adjusted and, if necessary, delicately abraded. The “mise en fonction” is performed on the fully assembled mechanism: the desired function is triggered and the interplay is scrutinized under a loupe; after noting even the slightest irregularities, the watchmaker disassembles the mechanism and finely tunes it, e.g. filing away a mere 1/100th of a millimeter or making a miniscule shift in the position of a lever; the movement is then reassembled and re-examined under magnification. This process may need to be repeated five, six or more times until everything interacts as expected from a movement made by Montblanc in Villeret. The result is a split-second chronograph movement that elicits sighs of rapture from every watch aficionado who beholds it.

When a connoisseurs trigger the chronograph’s functions, many of them will peer through the pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the case and admire the column-wheel (which controls the basic chronographic functions), the split-second column-wheel (which opens and closes the brake-clamps of the split-second wheel), and the manually bevelled steel levers (which, when the corresponding buttons are pressed, transfer their commands to the column-wheels and thence to the gear-coupling, the zero-return hearts and the brake-clamps). Also visible are the slender, elegantly curved, steel springs that press the rattrapante-clamps against the split-second wheel when the rattrapante button at “2 o’clock” is pressed to allow the user to read the duration of an intervening interval. When this button is pressed again, the clamps spread apart and the zero-return heart automatically returns the split-second wheel to synchrony with the chronograph-wheel so that the split-second hand re-joins the chronograph’s elapsed-seconds hand and resumes running in unison with it.

Montblanc has further optimized the ingenious tourbillon mechanism and made it even more attractive. The Ancient Greek prefix “exo” means “outside”. This exteriority is meant in two senses for the ExoTourbillon from the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858. First, the rotating cage and the escapement are positioned outside the movement’s plate per se and are located, so to speak, alongside the movement. Second, the balance is installed outside the rotating cage and oscillates on a different plane. Timepieces in the Montblanc Collection Villeret 1858 reap significant benefits from this novel repositioning. The uncommonly large and massy balance would have required a larger rotating cage if it had been mounted inside a conventional tourbillon construction. But the ExoTourbillon cage has a smaller diameter than the balance and rotates beneath the gleaming golden screw balance. The balance is borne between two bridges, the upper of which has a looped shape that recalls a horizontal figure-of-eight as the symbol of infinity. The tourbillon rotates in a two-point bearing at the foot of the axis.

Another exclusive feature of the ExoTourbillon is the speed of its rotations, each of which requires four minutes. Conventional tourbillons typically complete one rotation per minute. Slowing the speed of the rotations enhances the observer’s pleasure and requires less energy from the barrel, but produces the same compensating effect as a speedier tourbillon. The hairspring with an upward Phillips curvature at its outer end oscillates at the traditional pace of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz) and thus enables this chronograph to measure elapsed intervals to the nearest fifth of a second. Reducing the tourbillon’s rotational speed by 75% yields considerable energy savings. The rotating cage is smaller and has less mass, so its rotary motion requires less energy as well. Furthermore, the balance is freed from the weight of the rotating cage, which yields a further reduction in its energy requirements. Montblanc’s innovative device requires more than 30% less energy than conventional constructions, and this is advantageous for the functioning of the split-second chronograph. Another essential benefit ensues from separating the balance and the rotating cage: the accuracy of the balance’s amplitude is improved because the balance is not influenced by the inertia of the cage.

Due to the ExoTourbillon’s innovative configuration and despite the greater mechanical complexity of the split-second chronograph, the rattrapante can function more precisely. It can at the same time rely on the same barrel and the same power reserve as the basic chronograph movement. These advantages would not have been possible in a chronograph that does not rely on the patented ExoTourbillon construction.

Thanks to a patented energy-saving mechanism in the ExoTourbillon Rattrapante, the precision of measurements of the overall elapsed time and the intervening intervals by the ExoTourbillon with chronograph function is wed with a cleverly designed split-second function.

With the rattrapante mechanism as the most complicated form of chronograph, the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret demonstrates its competence in the most challenging “freestyle” aspect of the chronographic discipline.

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  • It is almost impossible to read the time. Sometimes less is more. The same is true for the price. If you have so much to spend, you rather go for PP or LS…

  • Beautiful watch and outstanding workmanship.

    Does it have a fly back function also? Didn’t see that mentioned.

  • Apart from being creators of fabulous writing instruments, Montblanc is fast becoming creators of fantastic watches as well.

    Thanks for the fine write-up as well as lovely pictures!

  • Very interesting movement excellent pictures. The design of the dial reminds me a bit of Breguet though.

  • Really a very very nice watch – and a beauty of a movement !

    Thanks for sharing, and great idea to go out to capture the video 😉

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