Montblanc certainly had tongues wagging at SIHH 2014. The company, which is often associated with writing instruments and luxury leather goods, has also been making impressive timepieces for many years. A few months ago, Jerome Lambert was appointed as the new CEO of Montblanc.
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar in steel
Within a matter of months, Mr Lambert, former CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, has made his mark with a new range of timepieces, the Meisterstück Heritage Collection. Named after the famous fountain pens sharing the same nomen, Meisterstück, they are aggressively priced and deliver remarkable value for money.
A perfect illustration of this is the Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar. Presented in a 39mm diameter case, it is available in stainless steel or 18-carat red gold, priced at €10,000 and €16,900, respectively. Focusing upon the stainless steel model, the specification is very impressive. The sunray finish dial features red-gold plated indexes. Elegant gold-plated dauphine hands convey hours and minutes while blued hands are used on the subdials.
The case is well executed, with no obvious signs of cost cutting. The model features an exhibition caseback providing sight of the self-winding Montblanc Calibre MB 29.15.
The array of functions provided is mouthwatering. Typical of a perpetual calendar it features day, date, month, moon-phase and leap-year indications. Furthermore, the grand complication means, providing it is kept wound, it will only require adjustment every one hundred years.
I do feel the subdials are a little close together and it would have been preferable to have seen solid gold hands and indexes, however, neither issue should unduly detract from the numerous qualities this timepiece possesses. Like many watch collectors, I have always wanted to own a perpetual calendar, but sadly I have lacked the fiscal means to realise this dream. By launching this new timepiece, Montblanc has made this expensive complication accessible to a broader audience.
Chatting to various acquaintances who work in the industry for rival brands, the reaction to hearing about this model was, unanimously, one of astonishment. Whilst not purporting to rival the heights of fellow Richemont siblings, Vacheron Constantin or A. Lange & Söhne, this new Montblanc timepiece is very refined and based on the price may well cause some CEO’s of rival brands a few sleepless nights. (www.montblanc.com)
SIHH 2014 Highlights – Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Métrographe
At SIHH 2014, Parmigiani Fleurier launched a range of more accessible timepieces, aimed at appealing to a younger audience. Namely, the Tonda Métrographe for gentlemen and the ladies Tonda Métropolitaine.
Everything associated with Parmigiani Fleurier is executed to an exceptional standard and the finishing is delivered to an altitudinously high level where few other brands breathe. Needless to say, with excellence comes the commensurate price tag. However, the Tonda Métrographe and the Tonda Métropolitaine bring the quality haute horlogerie work of Parmigiani Fleurier within the financial grasp of a larger audience, thanks to more accessible pricing.
Various dial options are available in both model lines, but I have chosen to focus upon a model which I would readily wear, the Tonda Métrographe ref PFC274-0002400. Presented with a grained white dial and featuring rose gold plated applied indexes, it is beautiful.
Despite these timepieces being more accessible, Parmigiani Fleurier has not eschewed the design DNA common to its more expensive models, such as the delta-shaped hands and the articulated lugs.
The hour and minute hands feature luminous coating and are a model of clarity. Two subdials, a 30-minute chronograph counter and 12-hour chronograph counter, are arranged in a skewed figure of eight on the dial. Presented in a silver colour with snailed detail, they provide charming contrast to the adjacent cream dial canvas. A date aperture is located in the lower portion of the 12-hour chronograph counter and a small seconds display is located adjacent 3 o’clock.
The sapphire crystal adorning the caseback exposes the self-winding Calibre PF315. The oscillating mass is partly open-worked, allowing a better view of the finishing beneath. Containing 351 components and decorated to a high standard, with Côtes de Genève motif and bevelled bridges, the movement is an absolute paragon.
Featuring two series-coupled barrels, I would have expected the power reserve to be greater than the stated 42 hours. Nevertheless, this would not deter me from selecting this timepiece. Parmigiani Fleurier has produced a beauty with the Tonda Métrographe, with much mechanical excellence housed within and I suspect I won’t be alone in holding this opinion. (www.parmigiani.ch)
SIHH 2014 Highlights – Parting words
Given my professional role as a watch journalist, I frequently find myself being put in the way of temptation. I am a self-confessed watch addict and passing over the allure of a comely timepiece is purely a matter of financial necessity. Indeed, there were numerous watches at SIHH 2014 to tempt me.
The watch industry appears to be buoyant and there was little evidence of the exhibiting brands holding back. There were many horological delights which garnered my attention and covetous stares. There has never been a better time to be a watch lover and my assembled list of models is merely a snap-shot of the many watches that I viewed during the event. Moreover, as further models cross my desk, I suspect my wish list for 2014 can only grow ever larger.