For the fifth edition of Only Watch charity auction, Montblanc is reinforcing its commitment by supporting in-depth research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy with the donation of a unique timepiece: the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. For this exclusive event, Montblanc has designed and developed this unique watch – an alliance of red gold and steel with dual carbon treatment – in its Manufacture in Le Locle.
The handcrafted masterpiece will be auctioned on September 28th 2013 in Monaco with proceeds benefitting the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophies. Organised by the auction house “Antiquorum”, the unique timepiece will travel for exhibition purposes prior to the auctioning from September 6th to 28th 2013 to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York and Geneva giving collectors and watch enthusiasts the opportunity to view it.
The appearance of this unique piece reveals that it is not a conventional one. It illustrates how the art of contrast refinement and the judicious use of colours gives rise to an exceptional piece exclusively developed for Only Watch.
The Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco features a black dial with grain d’orge guilloché décor which ranks among the most traditional decorative techniques in the art of watchmaking. It is encased in a 43 mm stainless steel with a glossy DLC («Diamond Like Carbon») finish. The extremely resistant surface of the DLC coating is completed by the stainless steel material of the case, that is also especially hardened to assure that the steel, which is already very strong, will be even more unyielding. A thermal treatment applied to the 0.03-mm-thick outer layer of the case’s surface fuses it with additional carbon atoms to further increase the hardness of the exterior stratum to as much as 1,000 Vickers. Only afterwards is the black DLC coating applied. The outstanding results of this Dual Carbon process speak for themselves: the case of the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco is not only significantly more resistant than the cases of standard DLC watches, it’s also five times harder than a conventional stainless steel case. This toughness predestines it for an active life in our modern, dynamic world.
The case is equipped with finely terraced horns that hold a black alligator-skin strap with a contrasting red-gold coloured stitching. A triple-folding clasp made of red gold closes and opens the strap. The fluted crown, which is likewise made of 18 ct red gold, bears a mother-of-pearl inlay shaped like Montblanc’s emblem.
This wristwatch is a stylistic statement that transcends mere externals. The deep black of the case, dial and wristband sets a timelessly contemporary chromatic trend that simultaneously expresses a high degree of technical sovereignty. The glow of red gold produces fascinatingly warm contrasts to give the desired “human touch” to this technical ensemble. The domed sapphire crystal above the dial is antireflective on both its surfaces. A second pane of sapphire is inserted into the screwed back to reveal the winding black rotor.
The exterior of the Rising Hours unmistakably announces that this is a Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec timepiece. Characteristic features include rotating discs under motionless pointers for the elapsed minutes and seconds, as well as a two-armed bridge at “6 o’clock” with bright red ruby bearings which makes the dial look as though it was smiling. Above it is the off-centre dial to show the ordinary time of day or night via a skeletonised minute-hand and digital hour numerals. The day of the week appears in a semicircular aperture at its left, the date in a similar window at the right. The unoccupied spaces between and alongside these displays are embellished with grain d’orge (barleycorn) guilloche.
For this exclusive event, the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco features a special engraving on the case back: “ONLY WATCH ’13 UNIQUE PIECE.
A digital hour display wouldn’t have been anything new per se. The hour numerals simply come and go beneath a stationary index, while the minute-hand turns its circles in the conventional manner. But the way the hours are shown on the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco is technically revolutionary. Like all models of this collection, this watch too has a slightly off-centre dial for the ordinary time of day. But instead of an hour-hand, there is a circular aperture at the “12” in which a disc bearing Arabic numerals for the twelve hours turns below a little triangular index. Aficionados will no doubt have seen similar digital hour displays on other timepieces in the past, but the Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco goes one decisive step further: its hour numerals change colour depending on the time of day or night. The numerals are blue during night time hours and black during the day. At a glance, this interesting function assigns each hour to the day or night and makes it easier to properly set the date display so that the date changes correctly at midnight rather than mistakenly at midday.
This unusual time display is made possible by the new manufacture calibre MB R220, which boasts an elaborate patented mechanism consisting of two rotating discs positioned one atop the other. The Arabic numerals 1 to 12 are cut from the upper disc. This twelve-hour disc turns above the bi-colour day/night disc, which is half blue and half black so that a light or dark hue appears in the skeletonised numeral in the window depending on the time of day or night. The twelve-hour disc rotates continually, while the day/night disc turns in intervals and at variable speeds to produce the desired colour change (blue for the night, black for the day) in the cut-out numerals. This complex motion is controlled with the aid of a Maltese cross mechanism consisting of two cam-like wheels. One of these cams is mounted on the propelling staff of the day/night disc; the other is affixed to an extension of the hour-staff.
Each cam’s profile is specially shaped so that the cams turn idly past one another between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (and again between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.); the day/night disc is accordingly motionless throughout both these intervals. Meshing begins at 3 a.m. (and 3 p.m.). This engagement causes the day/night disc to turn at an increasingly faster pace until two teeth on either side engage in a way that the day/night disc no longer accelerates but instead continues to turn synchronously with the twelve-hour disc – this occurs from 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. (and from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.). Afterwards, the day/night disc decelerates between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. (and between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.) until the meshing is completely separated, whereupon the day/night disc comes to a standstill.
This patented “Rising Hours” mechanism is particularly self-explanatory twice a day: at six o’clock each morning, the pierced digit “6” appears blue on the left and black on the right to symbolize that night is ending and day is dawning; at six o’clock each evening, black daylight at the left yields to blue night-time hours at the right.
In addition to this double-disc mechanism, four other disc displays rotate in the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco. The day of the week is shown in a window at the “9” and the date appears in an aperture at the “3”. Naturally, the chronograph’s function likewise relies on the same unmistakable concept, with one disc to count sixty elapsed seconds and another to tally up to thirty elapsed minutes. This chronograph has only one button, which is unconventionally but ergonomically positioned at “8 o’clock”, where the wearer’s thumb can conveniently operate it. In accord with tradition, this chronograph is controlled by a column-wheel which couples and uncouples in a very modern and low-wear manner via a vertical friction coupling.
Also noteworthy are the innovative profiles on the gear-train’s teeth, which optimize energy transfer while minimizing both wear and energy consumption. The rate is regulated by a massy 10-mm-diameter screw balance which oscillates very regularly thanks to its high moment of inertia (12 mgcm²) and its frequency of 28,800 A/h (4 Hz). The regularity of the rate is further enhanced by the double barrel, which amasses a 72-hour power reserve and maintains a very constant level of torque throughout a lengthy interval. A self-winding mechanism keeps the power reserve constantly high as long as the watch is worn.
Presented in a special packaging and equipped with a 500 hours quality certificate, this timepiece is really an exclusive piece that will enchant collectors and watch afficionados.
Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours for Monaco
Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB R220
Type of movement: Mechanical movement with automatic winding mechanism and twin barrels
Chronograph: Monopusher with column-wheel control and vertical disc clutch
No. of components: 343
No. of jewels: 42
Power reserve: 72 hours
Balance: Screw balance Ø 9,70 mm ; Moment of inertia: 12 mgcm²
Frequency: 28’800 bph (4 Hz)
Plate: Rhodium plated and circular grained
Bridges: Rhodium-plated, Geneva stripes
Gear train: Special toothing for more efficient power transmission
– Hours and minutes on off-center dial
– Digital hour display with integrated day/night indication
– Day by disc
– Date by disc
Chronograph : Chronograph tallies 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minutes on rotating discs with motionless hands
Stainless steel case with dual carbon treatment
Crown, pushers and screws of the case back in 18 K red gold (5N)
Domed sapphire crystal with double antireflective coating
Screwed case back with transparent sapphire crystal
Water resistance: To 3 bar / 30 m
Dimensions: Ø 43 mm; Height: 15.10 mm
Crown: 18 K red gold (5N) with inlaid mother-of-pearl Montblanc emblem
Push-piece: Monopusher in 18 K red gold (5N) at 8 o’clock
Black dial with “Grain d’orge” guilloché
Digital hour display
Black alligator-skin strap with red gold coloured stitching
Buckle: Pin buckle made of 18 K red gold (5N)