Overall, I have to say this watch really impressed me. When I saw the normal press photos of it, I was somewhat skeptical. Sure, the layout is nice, however there are a lot of nice looking sporty chronos on the market nowadays. But the TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic shows a level of fit and finish that sets it apart, in addition to the type of attention to detail that can get someone usually cautious of 43mm chronographs interested. If this watch is Montblanc’s large bet for 2017, then I believe the odds are in its favor.The Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic will retail for $3,985 on either a perforated leather strap or a perforated rubber strap and for $4,290 to a stainless steel bracelet. The watches should Start hitting retailers in June.head of their upcoming SIHH 2018 and also to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Montblanc Star Legacy Collection, the brand has announced two new models: the Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph along with the Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph. Though both versions are chronographs, have “Star Legacy” in their titles, and are being announced collectively, these are vastly different timepieces occupying separate price brackets.The Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Chronograph is the more affordable version of the two, and features a dual-pusher, three-register chronograph in a 42mm by 14.23mm case. The comparison between the silvery-white dial and large black Arabic numerals provides good legibility, along with the monochromatic color scheme is well complemented with the pops of blue on the leaf-shaped hour and minute hands and chronograph hands. The running moments counter can be found in 9 o’clock, and a date window is discreetly (some may say distractingly) placed at 4:30. The elapsed hour counter at 6 o’clock also includes Montblanc’s signature star-shaped design in guilloché that’s echoed on the counterweight on the central chronograph seconds hand in addition to on the crown.
Now that Montblanc‘s watch division is being led by dapper Italian Davide Cerrato, the pen maker’s timekeepers are rapidly acquiring retro-infused flair, with the recent salmon dial 1858 chronograph being a good example. Even its more affordable watches are undergoing a similar facelift, with the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph getting both a “panda” dial as well as a new movement.
Reminiscent of Universal and Heuer chronographs of the 1960s and 1970s – Cerrato is keen follower of vintage watches and a regular at watch auctions in Geneva – the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph gets to the point quickly. The dal is white with black registers, matched with the flange and ceramic bezel in black, with a dash of red. A noteworthy detail are the applied hour markers that alternate between baton indices and Arabics; the numerals have a vertical brushed finish that’s evident only up close.
The case is stainless steel and 43mm, with lugs that aren’t too long, giving the watch a moderate footprint on the wrist. The flanks of the case are shallowly hollowed out, which gives the case a slightly more interesting profile.
Over on the back the sapphire crystal is tinted grey, with the “manufacture” MB 25.10 movement underneath. It’s automatic and constructed with a column wheel and horizontal coupling. It also looks familiar: the calibre is actually a variant of the IWC cal. 69000 movement found in the IWC Ingenieur chronograph (which was likely devised by ValFleurier, a little known movement maker owned by Richemont). Designed as replacement for the Valjoux 7750 – the two have almost exactly the same dimensions – the IWC calibre has a 46 hour power reserve and runs at 28,800 beats per hour.
Besides the steering wheel-inspired tungsten rotor, the movement has another Montblanc-specific touch: a semi-arrowhead shape on the end of the chronograph lever, visible just above the balance cock. That’s a reference to the arrowhead logo of Minerva, the chronograph specialist that’s now responsible for Montblanc’s top of the line movements.
Notably, the Montblanc costs about 20% less than the IWC, which makes it a compelling buy in comparison, especially since it has the extra of a ceramic bezel. It will, however, be a long wait before they hit stores.
Price and availability
The Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph (ref. 118488) is priced at €4990, including 19% German tax. That’s about US$5900. It will only be available starting September 2018.