Star families are renamed, and we get our first taste of what that looks like with an automatic chronograph and a Nicolas Rieussec piece
Hot on the heels of some new additions to Montblanc’s now-petrol-infused TimeWalker range, we have news of two much more classic chronographs. It would seem that Montblanc is giving something of an overhaul to the Star and Star Classique collections: we are now being introduced to “Star Legacy”, with a promise of better finishing and more sophisticated design.
It’s not clear at this point what will remain of Star and Star Classique or how many new Star Legacy references we’re going to see: for now, we have two chronos to talk about.
Very much a “does what it says on the tin” watch, this. It’s an automatic chronograph, and true to the brief, it does have a more sophisticated look to it (previously the Star collection chronographs ran a 12-6-9 layout and majored in bimetal dial designs and heavy Roman numerals. Also, they all packed a UTC complication into the bargain – there was no simple chronograph). There is a heritage feel to it (in keeping with all modern Montblanc, it has a link back to vintage Minerva) but it’s not overdone. There are hints of Longines in there but also – whisper it – Patek Philippe. You can’t ever go too far wrong with Breguet numerals and railroad subdial tracks.
Inside is Montblanc Calibre 25.02, aka a modified ETA 7753, running at 4Hz with a 46 hour power reserve. It’s the same movement you’d have seen in the old TimeWalker chronographs, and is a trusty workhorse. The watch itself measures 42mm across, is 14mm thick and comes on a blue alligator leather Sfumato strap. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s as commercially-minded as you like; we don’t know final prices yet but are assured it will be below £4,000. As well it should, too.
It’s not difficult to intuit, among the successes of things like the 1858, the Heritage Chronometrie and the Summit smartwatch, that Montblanc doesn’t quite know what to do with the Nicolas Rieussec label – especially since old Nic was found not to have invented the chronograph after all. So this year it makes sense to find that Nicolas Rieussec will cease to be a collection in its own right (so we understand, at least), and will instead become an imprint of sorts; a template that will be used across Montblanc’s other ranges.
And that begin with this piece, which lives in the new Star Legacy collection. It certainly seems a natural fit; the concept and dial layout of the Rieussec has always lent itself better to this kind of ultra-traditional look, with those feuille hands, guilloché dial and emphatic date window. Everything’s a bit slimmer, a bit neater, a bit finer: the chronograph discs and hours dial are domed, giving the watch more three-dimensionality than before.
What’s not slimmer is the watch itself; the movement dictates it remain a fairly stocky 44.8mm wide and 15mm tall. But we’ve had it on our wrists and thanks to the case shape and tapered lug design, it does wear a little smaller. Within is the same monopusher chronograph movement from previous Nicolas Rieussec pieces, with 72 hours of power and a column wheel/vertical clutch construction. Also in common with existing models, it features a second timezone via a discreet skeletonised hour hand on the main display.
This article was first published on Salon QP
Dubai Ruler’s GMT-Master ref. 1675 included in Christie’s Important Watches auction.