The Maison unveils a bezel-activated chronograph function to celebrate 165 years of Minerva watchmaking as well as the 100th anniversary of its first wristwatch chronograph movement.
Montblanc introduces its new Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva, a timepiece that rethinks the expected. Based on a historic calibre from 1923, all the traditional Minerva design codes and watchmaking finishes are present, and yet this chronograph is highly avant-garde. A keen eye will immediately notice the absence of chronograph pushers, raising the question – how does this chronograph work?
Thanks to a new mechanical function, the Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva chronograph is activated via its elegant 18K gold fluted bezel, a feature that defines all new timepieces crafted at the manufacture in Villeret. Just one click of the bezel will start the chronograph, a second click will stop it, and a third click will reset it, transforming the way a chronograph has traditionally been activated. This hidden feature respects the beauty of the historic calibre, while incorporating modern-day know-how to create a contemporary timepiece.
A Double Anniversary
This year marks the 165th anniversary of the founding of the Minerva Manufacture, as well as the 100th anniversary of its first wristwatch chronograph movement, the Calibre 13.20. This historic calibre from 1923 was reworked in 2003 with new materials and finishings to make it more contemporary, although the original construction remained the same, with just the reference changing to Calibre 13.21. This year, an intriguing new chronograph function is being added to the Calibre 13.21 in celebration of these milestones, attesting to Minerva’s history in the production of professional timekeepers.
Despite the 100th anniversary of the Calibre 13.20 movement, the Maison’s chronograph story goes back even further in time. Montblanc’s Villeret watchmaking tradition began in 1858 when Charles-Yvan Robert founded a watch workshop in the Saint-Imier valley. As early as the 1880s, the Minerva Manufacture in Villeret had already gained international recognition for its precise timekeepers. In 1909, Minerva started to develop chronographs, quickly becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches, and in 1923 – exactly a century ago – it unveiled its first manually wound monopusher chronograph dedicated to wristwatches.
Fast-forward 100 years, Montblanc is now unveiling a chronograph function that shows how Montblanc is continuing the Minerva legacy, transforming it from the past to the present through design, style, and technical expertise.
The Story of the White Gold Fluted Bezel
In 1927, Minerva was among the first manufactures to make a fluted bezel as well as an internal countdown rotating bezel. This was followed in 1939 by its first wristwatch chronograph with an external rotating bezel and a reset function.
In 2022, the Maison unveiled the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow LE88 inspired by these rare external rotating bezel models. The key elements from the past included a fluted bezel, now in white gold, and Minerva’s recognizable red arrow that allowed a quick and easy reading of elapsed time.
The Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva
The new Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva takes the fluted bezel from the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow and turns it into a chronograph function, marking the first time in Montblanc’s watchmaking repertoire it has been possible to activate a chronograph without having to push on something. The chronograph function is operated through the unidirectional rotating bezel (turning clockwise), avoiding any mishandling. One click will start the chronograph, the second will stop it, and the third will reset it. The bezel has 30 jumps/steps per whole turn, meaning that it can time 10 separate events in one complete turn. Montblanc is one of the rare watchmaking company to have developed such a system and has filed several patent applications for it.
The Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper is being debuted with two limited editions. The first comes in a stainless steel case with an 18K white gold bezel, blue dial, and red accents. This model is limited to 100 pieces in reference to the 100-year anniversary of the Calibre 13.20. The second limited edition is housed in a Lime Gold case, features a dark green dial, and comes in a more exclusive limited edition.
Both timepieces come in a 42mm size with a dial design that is inspired by Minerva chronographs from between the 1940s and 1960s with their sunray finishing; luminescent hands, numerals, and indexes; elegant sub-dials; tachymetre scales (with a base of 1000m, 400m, and 200m); and colored accents for easy reading. Each model is fitted with a matching-colored interchangeable alligator leather strap.
Calibre MB M13.21
The Calibre MB M13.21 is the latest version of the historical Calibre 13.20 movement that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The Calibre MB M13.21 is a hand-finished, manually wound movement with a 60-hour power reserve. The chronograph seconds are indicated with a contrasting colored chronograph seconds hand with the Minerva arrow as the counterweight, while a 30-minute chronograph counter is positioned at three o’clock, and a small seconds’ indication balances the dial at nine o’clock.