The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection
Sharing the Passion for Fine Watchmaking
Ninety years ago, Montblanc created a writing instrument that became an icon in the culture of writing: the Montblanc Meisterstück. With functional and aesthetic design, an innovative ink supply and a manually profiled gold nib, this fountain pen is the legendary writing instrument of our time.
Ever since 1924, the Meisterstück has represented consummate excellence, the striving for perfection and masterly craftsmanship – and has thus embodied the principles that pervade Montblanc’s production, innovation and products. Precisely this attitude also determines the extremely high standards that Montblanc upholds so that it can consistently develop and produce the finest timepieces and innovative calibres on the highest echelons of the traditional art of Swiss watchmaking in its manufactures in the Swiss Jura, in Villeret and Le Locle.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection is inspired by the ninety-year heritage of the Meisterstück. With classical design, discriminating complications and sumptuous decorations, these elegant timepieces manifest the values of the Montblanc Meisterstück and the traditional features of fine Swiss watchmaking in every detail – thus making them their owners’ lifelong companions.
The Montblanc Meisterstück: A Legend from the Hands of Master Craftsmen
Meisterstück is the German word for “masterpiece”. The concept originated in medieval craftsmen’s guilds: ever since the Middle Ages, a craftsman who had successfully completed his journeyman years could apply for recognition as a Meister (master). If the guild accepted his request, the applicant was obliged to prove his abilities by fabricating an especially demanding artefact under the supervision of one of the guild’s masters. If the other masters accepted this piece as a Meisterstück, the applicant was granted the title of Meister. Today too, the word Meisterstück continues to stand for extraordinary craftsmanship, traditional techniques, high-quality materials, perfect aesthetics and outstanding functionality.
When the Meisterstück fountain pen 149 debuted in 1924, it proved that Montblanc had created an artefact which truly deserves its name. The design is elegantly reduced: the barrel and cap are made of deep black precious resin, a golden gleam beautifies both the ring around the barrel and the clip, and the entire ensemble is crowned by Montblanc’s emblem, which symbolizes the snow-covered summit of the European continent’s tallest peak. This mountain towers 4,810 metres above sea level, which is why the engraved numeral “4810” adorns the nib of every Montblanc Meisterstück writing instrument and distinguishes it as a product that embodies the acme of European craftsmanship.
The passion for aesthetics, craftsmanship and quality gave birth to a highly functional, exclusive and timelessly beautiful object for daily use.
This pen wrote world history: countless presidents, crowned heads and high-ranking dignitaries have used it to sign international treaties and certificates of appointment. But above all, it’s the discriminating standards and spirit, along with enduring appreciation from its owners, which have enabled the Meisterstück to become a legend.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection
This “Spirit of Meisterstück” was the starting point for the development of a new line of watches: the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection. This new collection is inspired by the standards of the Montblanc Meisterstück. Like the legendary fountain pen, these timepieces are distinguished by masterly craftsmanship, timeless design and perfect functionality.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Collection embodies the finest Swiss watchmaking in each and every detail. For example, the time is shown by faceted hands in the classical dauphine shape, which sweep over cambered, silver-white dials that have been tastefully embellished with sunburst patterns. Dauphine hands are extremely challenging to fabricate because their clear geometry, straight contours and perfectly smooth flanks would instantly reveal even the tiniest flaw in their manufacturing or assembly. Their elegant length is an especially distinguishing feature of fine watchmaking.
The hour circle combines polished faceted appliqués in three different lengths and an eye-catching applied Roman numeral “XII”. In accord with the best watchmaking tradition, each appliqué stands atop two little feet which are firmly riveted to the dial. The classical shape of the elegant 39- or 41-mm-diameter case is accentuated by various finishings on the surfaces, for example, horizontal satin finishing on the middle piece. The crown is adorned with Montblanc’s emblem in polished, raised relief against a matte sand-blasted background.
These elaborate features distinguish all models in the Meisterstück Heritage Collection: from the classical three-handed wristwatch with date display, through the elegant moon-phase watch, to grandes complications such as a perpetual calendar and a monopusher chronograph.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph
Two Grand Traditions
The Minerva Manufacture, which is the direct ancestor of the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret, fabricated in 1923 one of the first chronograph calibres for wristwatches and thus paved the way for the success of mechanical wristwatch chronographs. Equipped with pulsometer scales, these precise measurers of brief intervals were especially popular among physicians. Calibrated for 30 pulse beats, a pulsometer scale enables a doctor to read the pulse rate per minute without having to continue feeling the patient’s pulse for a full sixty seconds. These watches were animated by the noteworthy Minerva Calibre 13.20, which was first encased in 1923 – i.e. almost simultaneously with the Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen 149.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph continues this horological tradition. Its chronograph movement (Montblanc Calibre MB M13.21) is inspired by Minerva Calibre 13.20. Like its predecessor, the contemporary movement is manually fabricated and finely adjusted in accord with the principles of the traditional art of Swiss watchmaking. In combination with authentic Meisterstück design, the Heritage Pulsograph thus embodies two grand traditions.
The pulsometer scale of the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is positioned along the periphery of the dial. This logarithmic scale is calibrated for 30 pulse beats (GRADUÉ POUR 30 PULSATIONS) with subdivisions for each tenth and fifth pulsation along a railroad-style track. This scale concentrically surrounds the chronograph’s elapsed-seconds scale, which is subdivided into fifths of a second to correspond with the balance’s frequency of 2.5 hertz. Slender black index strokes alternate with red Arabic numerals at five-minute intervals. The chronograph’s elapsed-time hands are crafted from blued steel: the large trotteuse culminates in a red tip and the small hand on the elapsed-minutes subdial bears an arrowhead. The latter is an allusion to the logo of the former Minerva Manufacture. Closer to the dial’s centre lies the minute scale with tidy black dots, hour indices in the form of sharply faceted gold-plated appliqués, and applied gold- plated Roman numerals “XII” and “VI”. Styled to harmonize with the gold-plated dauphine hour-hand and minute-hand, these numerals form a chromatic unity with the elegant 18 karat rose gold case.
Classical Chronographic Mechanisms – Fabricated by Hand
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph is animated by chronograph Calibre MB M13.21, which embodies all the distinguishing features of classical chronograph mechanisms and the traditional watchmaker’s art. It functions with a column-wheel and horizontal gear coupling. As a monopusher construction, it has a three-phase control which sequentially triggers the start, stop and zero-return commands. When the lone button is pressed, it activates a series of levers, each of which is painstakingly manually embellished. All levers and springs are polished on their flat surfaces, satin-finished on their sides, and manually bevelled along their edges. All functional planes are individually and manually adjusted in each movement to maximize the smoothness and reliability with which the button triggers the commands. Similarly luxurious finishing has been lavished on all other components of the movement. The plate and bridges are fabricated from rhodium-plated nickel silver; the bridges are bevelled by hand, and these chamfered surfaces are then manually polished. Classical Geneva waves embellish the planar surfaces. The V-shaped chronograph-bridge is an eye-catching and characteristic feature: inspired by its counterpart in Minerva’s legendary chronograph Calibre 13.20, its inner angles are a symbol of traditional horological craftsmanship that no machine, no matter how modern it may be, could possibly imitate. The bridge proudly bears the name “Minerva Villeret”. The pale silver-grey hue of the movement’s chassis contrasts with red jewels and a large massy screw balance that oscillates at the classical pace of 2.5 hertz. Both the balance and the hairspring, which culminates in a Philips terminal curvature, are manufactured and manually adjusted inhouse. The balance’s frequency (18,000 A/h) demands meticulous fine adjustment, but rewards this labour by accurately timing elapsed intervals to the nearest fifth of a second. The movement draws its energy from a large barrel: with circularly grained inner surfaces, the barrel is elaborately decorated even in places that ordinarily remain unseen – further proof that this calibre embodies definitive horological craftsmanship.
The positioning of the chronograph’s sole button at “2 o’clock” shows that this timepiece is a high-quality monopusher chronograph. Its handmade movement can be viewed by peering through a pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the case. Both surfaces of this crystal have been specially treated to prevent glare and reflections.
The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph will be available in an elegant 41-mm case made of 18 karat rose gold. A Montblanc diamond, cut and polished to form the emblem of the maison, is inset into the middle piece of the case at “6 o’clock”. As a valuable but unostentatious symbol, it shows that this watch is equipped with a manufacture calibre. The watch is worn on a black alligator-skin strap with large reptilian scales. The wristband culminates in a rose gold pronged buckle. The Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph will be launched in the autumn of 2014 in a limited edition of 90 timepieces, each of which will sell for a retail price of 27,000 euros. The limitation to 90 watches pays homage to the year nine decades ago when the Meisterstück fountain pen was born (1924) and to the pen’s 90th anniversary, which it celebrates in 2014.
- Type of movement Calibre MB M13.21, mechanical, with manual winding and monopusher chronograph
- No. of components 239
- No. of rubies 22
- Power reserve Ca. 55 Std.
- Balance Screw balance, diameter = 11.4 mm; 26 mgcm²
- Hairspring With Phillips terminal curve
- Frequency 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz)
- Plate Rhodium-plated nickel silver, circular graining on both sides
- Bridges Rhodium-plated nickel silver, côtes de Genève
- Gear-train Gold-plated, faceted arms, hubs with polished centres
- Displays (watch) Hours and minutes from the centre, subdial for the seconds at “9 o’clock”
- Displays (chronograph) Elapsed seconds from the centre, counter for 30 elapsed minutes at “3 o’clock”, pulsometer scale
- 18 karat rose gold (5N), polished bezel, horizontal satin finishing on middle piece, chronograph button at “2 o’clock”
- 0.055 ct diamond in the shape of the maison’s emblem set at “6 o’clock”
- Dimensions Diameter = 41 mm, height = 11.8 mm
- Watertightness To 3 bar
- Crystal Scratch-resistant, cambered and antireflective sapphire crystal
- Back 18 karat rose gold (5N) with inset sapphire crystal
- Crown 18 karat rose gold (5N) with Montblanc’s emblem in raised relief
- Dial Silvery white with sunburst pattern, slightly cambered, faceted hour indices and Roman numeral “XII” as gold-plated appliqués, gold-plated dauphine hour-hand and minute-hand, gold-plated dauphine second-hand, blued steel elapsed-second hand with counterweight, blued steel hand with arrowhead for 30 elapsed minutes
- Wristband Black alligator-skin strap, 18 karat rose gold (5N) pronged buckle