The Montblanc timepiece has two faces: One shows “simply” the time and date, the other acts as a chronograph. What happens in-between seems to be incredible, in fact it seems to be the trick of a magician. Click on “read more” to get the story…
The real striking feature of the Montblanc timepiece is its “metamorphosis” concept which is driven by a complex mechanical movement with 746 components and protected by several patents that took over four years to develop.
It was at SIHH 2010 when Montblanc first introduced connoisseurs to the astounding concept of overlaid dials, which open majestically like a theatre curtain. The aim of this unique complication is to offer a spectacular change of design and function of the timepiece from classic time to chronograph and back using the same movement. This is a creative and innovative way to combine the characteristics of traditional fine watchmaking with revolutionary principles of innovation.
Montblanc Metamorphosis II is the first timepiece to perform such a capacity for transformation. To master this challenge, the master watchmakers took the 156 years of expertise as a chronograph specialist of the Montblanc manufacture in Villeret – the former Manufacture Minerva – and borrowed traditional methods from the art of automaton manufacture, an age-old artisanal craft long practised alongside fine watchmaking in the Swiss Jura mountains.
This timepiece is crafted entirely by hand. Metamorphosis II represents the perfect symbiosis of tradition and innovation, and will rightfully claim its place among the grand complications in the world of fine watchmaking. It is a skilful alchemy between classical, timeless beauty and sporty elegance, the new aesthetic of the Metamorphosis II enables Montblanc to open up a new chapter in the history of horological design.
In brief this is what happens:
While the retrograde minute hand retains its original function, the central seconds hand changes its function to serve as the chronograph second hand. The chronograph minutes counter in black rises from inside the movement to the level of the dial and is actuated by pressing the pusher integrated in the crown.
During the metamorphosis, which is controlled by the sliding bolt situated between “10 o’clock” and “8 o’clock” on the middle case, two wings fold in on themselves inside the lower part of the dial, gradually disappearing on each side. They unveil a chronograph counter disc for counting down the minutes, which rises gradually like a lifting ramp inside the movement until it “absorbs” the hand that indicates the date, thanks to a subtly defined opening. Similar transformation is performed in parallel in the upper part of the dial. Two wings also move apart on the left and right sides, causing the classic time display with Roman numerals to disappear. They reveal a new dial in a new design with Arabic numerals and index, ensuring optimal readability of the chronograph face.
This process is reversible, and the opposite movement is initiated when the control device is actuated again: the sliding wings at the top and bottom of the dial are re-deployed, concealing the chronograph counter, which is once more lowered out of sight inside the movement, and bringing the timepiece ‘s classic, elegant face back to the fore. One of the most innovative, technical characteristics of the Metamorphosis II is its ability to permanently retain all of its functions irrespective of the chosen face. The chronograph and date functions remain active independently of the watch face. Hence, when the timepiece is in classic mode and the chronograph is actuated, the chronograph minute counter continues to run. When the chronograph face is revealed again, the elapsed time is indicated instantly. The same happens for the date: even if the chronograph mode has been active for several days, the date continues to run in the background, and is displayed again with complete accuracy when the watch returns to the classic mode. It only takes around five seconds to switch from one face to the other. During this time, numerous components of the timepiece – the wheels, cams, pinions – begin a perfectly choreographed mechanical dance, driven by a separate barrel and precisely controlled by a force regulator.
A total of 82 moving components, all of them meticulously crafted by hand, are involved in this extraordinary watchmaking metamorphoses.
With its monopusher column wheel chronograph mechanism, horizontal clutch and large balance wheel with Phillips terminal curve, operating at a traditional frequency of 18,000 A/h (=2,5 Hz), Montblanc pays tribute to the legacy of the legendary Minerva-chronographs, produced since 1858 in the Villeret manufacture. Once the brief time intervals have been measured, the slide can simply be slid across to return the Metamorphosis II to its original configuration featuring its classic face.
Now I invite you to see Alexander Schmiedt, Managing Director of Watches at Montblanc, explaining all the functions of the watch to a very selected group of journalist by a personal video message.
Although the message was personally addressed to me, my friend and Austrian fellow Alexander gave me the permission to show you guys his video message.
Incorporating a total of 746 components made from precious materials and decorated entirely by hand – 494 of which are dedicated exclusively to the metamorphosis function – this extraordinary new timepiece is the subject of numerous patents and ranks among the most complex of contemporary watches. In the spirit of all the timepieces of the prestigious Collection Montblanc Villeret 1858, the new Metamorphosis II remains faithful to its dedication to perfection in terms of traditional artisanal craftsmanship and innovative construction, aesthetic refinement and reliability.
This incomparable timepiece will be produced in a very limited edition of eighteen pieces, offering a unique interpretation of the metamorphosis of time.
Now before reading the watches technical data on page 2 please have a look to the official presentation video of the Montblanc Metamorphosis II
>>> Continue to read the story on page 2 >>>