Based on a reference design from the 1930s, Montblanc has just announced the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100, a 46mm bronze chronograph boasting a seriously pretty hand-wound monopusher movement from Minerva. They are calling it “Origins,” as the original design (which can be seen below) formed the basis for the creation of Montblanc’s heritage-themed 1858 lineup.
Offered in bronze with a black dial and an old-world “new vintage” look further supported by faux aged lume, the Origins LE is 46mm wide, 14.5mm thick, and has an officer-style hinged caseback (made of bronze-coated titanium) that better connects with the antique quality of the original model (which is based on a military-derived design held in Montblanc’s museum). Production is limited to just 100 units, and the inside of the caseback cover is engraved, “Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère suisse.” (“Re-edition of a Minerva military chronograph from the 1930s equipped with a hand-made calibre following the Swiss watchmaking tradition.”)
Tucked inside the oversized bronze case, we find a thoroughly appropriate movement (given the, ahem, origins), the Montblanc manufacture MB M16.29. Hand-wound, with plate and bridges in German silver (aka Maillechort) before being treated to a wide array of fine finishing, the MB M16.29 is a massive movement (38.4mm wide) that ticks at 18,000 vph while supporting a column-wheel chronograph controlled via a single pusher set into the winding crown.
Fitted with lumed Arabic numerals, gold-tone cathedral hands, and a warmly brown Sfumato alligator strap, the Origins LE certainly looks like a vintage-inspired chronograph, but I do wonder why Montblanc opted for bronze when the original is steel (and looks really good in steel, see below). As far as the movement is concerned, it’s really cool to see such a similar movement used in the Origins LE and to see Montblanc continue Minerva’s tradition of creating monopusher chronographs. The movement, caliber M16.29, plays a starring role in Montblanc’s Minerva chronographs (Montblanc used it, for instance, in a 2017 LE monopusher chrono, with a salmon dial – also in a bronze case).
As mentioned, Montblanc will make only 100 examples of the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 and each will retail for the collector-driven price of EUR 30,000. That’s about $ 36,200, and at that price, Montblanc is really preaching to the choir, which presumably includes no small number of Montblanc fans and Minerva nerds.
Model: 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100
Reference Number: 128506
Case Material: Bronze
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Painted, Arabic
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Leather strap
Caliber: Montblanc Manufacture MB M16.29
Functions: Hours, minutes, 30-minute chronograph
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 18,000 vph
Additional Details: Monopusher with column wheel
Pricing & Availability
Price: EUR 30,000 (~$ 36,200)
Limited Edition: 100 pieces.