Based in an alpine valley in the Jura Mountains, Swiss Montblanc Montre S.A. is far removed from today’s hectic world. The region around Le Locle has been at the heart of fine Swiss watchmaking for centuries. Behind the panoramic glass facade of a historic villa, their master watchmakers work in an atmosphere of extreme concentration and meticulous attention to detail. Their manual skills are allied with state-of-the-art technology, reflecting the belief that innovation and tradition belong together.
This new timepiece from Montblanc will be unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2015 in Hong Kong at the end of October. It pays tribute to legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who, in 1498, was the first mariner to sail directly from Europe to India.
The 41mm stainless steel Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time Vasco da Gama watch features a case built into three parts, with the middle and case back in stainless steel and an 18 K red gold-finish bezel.
The watch is powered by the MB 29.19 automatic caliber with a Dual Time complication, developed in-house at Villeret by Montblanc’s own master watchmakers. Naturally the movement can be viewed through a transparent case back displaying. The difference is it has a drawing of the S?o Gabriel, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s flagship, together with his signature.
On the dial is displayed the home time and that of a second time-zone, together on the main dial: the central gold-plated hand shows local time while the blued one marks the home time, which can be viewed in conjunction with the 24-hour display to determine whether it is day or night at home. Also, the display of the second time zone indication second hour hand can be set so as to be perfectly superimposed over its counterpart for the time back home.
The gold-plated hand is set via a simple adjustment of the winding crown to the time zone indication for the country being visited and advances by hourly steps, without affecting the position of the blued hand.
The gold-plated hand is mechanically isolated from the movement, and any adjustment made to it does not affect the operation of the other hands including the second hand, thereby ensuring that the watch continues to function precisely and always displays the correct time.
The reading of the minutes for both time zones is provided by the long, slender gold-plated central hand, and the seconds are indicated by the hand located at 6 o’clock. The local time is synchronized with the date displayed in the window at 3 o’clock, which remains the same or moves forward or backward in keeping with the time zone selected.
Details include two delicately worked counters inspired by Vasco da Gama’s voyage. The first, positioned at 12 o’clock, is fitted around its perimeter with a 24-hour graduated scale. It is linked to the home time and is decorated at its center with a representation of the night-sky in the southern hemisphere which guided Vasco da Gama. The Southern Cross constellation is clearly outlined. The second counter at 6 o’clock, slightly cambered, features a miniature three-dimensional map of the world.
The watch is limited to 238 pieces, the reason being it serves as a reference to the “Cape Point Peak” lighthouse, which was built at precisely 238 meters above sea level at the Cape of Good Hope, around which Vasco da Gama first sailed in late November 1497.It’s comes on a black alligator-skin strap created at Montblanc’s own Pelletteria in Florence, Italy, and is equipped with a stainless steel triple-folding clasp.
The Montblanc Heritage Spirit Date Automatic translates the spirit of Montblanc’s iconic Meisterstück fountain pen into the Montblanc Heritage Spirit Watch collection. The Montblanc Heritage Spirit Automatic focuses on essential and useful functionalities embodying the finest Swiss watchmaking codes: pure elegance, bombé dial with sunburst finish, applied indexes, faceted hands in the classical dauphine shape, a central seconds hand and differentiated polished and satin surface finishes on the case.