Montblanc unveils a limited edition diamond studded version of the elegant ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco da Gama timepiece which made its debut in a white gold version at SIHH Geneva this year.
The Montblanc ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco da Gama Diamonds combines two of the most important chronometric complication: a chronograph to measure the duration of brief intervals and a patented tourbillon construction for absolute precision.
For this limited edition, the Montblanc ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco da Gama Diamonds has been the focus of particularly elaborate decorative work. Its 44 mm-diameter white gold case, polished and satin-finished to emphasise the elegance of the entire timepiece, is fitted with a bezel adorned with 76 diamonds.
Constantly pushing back the limits of precision, the master watchmakers and engineers of the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret have conceived the ExoTourbillon, an ultra-precise regulating organ, equipped with an original structure that performs one revolution per minute.
In this in house-developed and patented structure, the bottom of the tourbillon cage, smaller than that of the screw balance, carries the escape-wheel, the pallets and the balance-spring stud that is attached to the balance-staff collet at both ends of the cage.
This innovative cage driven by the movement’s gear-train turns without friction in in a two-point bearing at the foot of its staff. Pierced at its center, it allows the passage of the extremely long balance-staff, the pivots of which rotate against jewels. This unique structure allows the balance, as it oscillates outside the cage and on a higher plane, to remain isolated from the cage.
Due to its reduced size and the fact that it is freed from the weight of the balance, the cage requires 30% less energy than a conventional tourbillon to drive its rotational movement.
A further advantage of this innovative construction (the name of which derives from the Greek prefix “Exo”, meaning “outside” or “external”) is also found in terms of precision, since the balance, now isolated from the rotating cage, is not disturbed by its inertia.
In order to benefit from the increased precision of this patented ExoTourbillon, Montblanc has incorporated into its movement a stop-second function obtained by inserting a small spring that is directly halting the screw balance, now freed from its cage allowing to precisely set the time without the tourbillon continuing to turn.
In order to precisely adjust the time, the tourbillon cage integrates a red marker in form of an arrow, which allows reading the seconds on the respective scale printed on the opening of the dial around the tourbillon.
This innovative Tourbillon construction is integrated in Montblanc’s own in-house developed chronograph calibre that combines all the elements of a traditional chronograph with a contemporary highly performant construction: monopusher with column wheel, efficient and precise vertical coupling, automatic winding and two barrels.
Two semicircular counters with hands of different lengths to match the appropriate sectorial scales, enable the Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Diamonds to tally elapsed seconds and minutes. The date, always an extremely practical indication, is soberly displayed in the centre of the dial by a dedicated hand pointing to a circular scale arranged around the blue “flinqué” guilloché circle.
The hour hand is set to advance in hourly steps, a highly practical feature in that it allows for fast and easy setting when travelling. The setting of the hour-hand has no effect on the minute and second-hands, thus ensuring that precise time is always preserved.
To set the date display, the user advances or retreats the hour-hand through 24 hours. Whenever this hand’s tip passes the 24th hour, the hand of the date display either advances or retreats accordingly.
The sophisticated dial of the Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco da Gama Diamonds with different levels and refined finishes reflects the two complications of the timepiece.
The eye is first caught by the oscillations of the balance wheel, which, as it performs each revolution every minute, arouses our curiosity about the functioning of this mysterious tourbillon. It is surrounded by a slice of aventurine, dyed dark blue of which attracts the eye, and numerous small dots evoke a starry night-sky, in reference to the sky of the southern hemisphere that guided Vasco da Gama during his voyage.
Amid this star-spangled firmament, a diamond with a patented cut in the shape of the Montblanc emblem shines with all its brilliance at 12 o’clock. In the centre of the dial, the display with the date hand is adorned with a blue “flinqué” guilloché wave pattern, referring to the nocturlabium (star clock), which was one of the navigational instruments aboard the São Gabriel.
The pane of sapphire crystal inset into the back of the case is adorned with a sketch of Vasco da Gama’s floating flagship, the São Gabriel, together with the signature of the intrepid explorer and seafarer. The series is strictly limited to 25 pieces, referring to the geographical latitude of 25° N, the northern-most visibility point of the Southern Cross constellation.
Model: Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco Da Gama Diamonds Limited Edition 25, Ident. No. 113356
Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB R230
Mechanical movement with double barrel, automatic winding mechanism, one-minute patented ExoTourbillon with stop-seconds mechanism
Chronograph Monopusher with column-wheel and vertical coupling
Dimensions: Diameter = 33.7 mm; height = 8.65 mm
No. of components: 296
No. of jewels: 44
Power reserve: About 50 hours
Balance: Screw balance, diameter = 9.7 mm; moment of inertia = 12 mg.cm2
Frequency: 21,600 vib/h (3 Hz)
Plate: Rhodium finish and circular-graining
Bridges: Rhodium finish and Côtes de Genève
Gear-train: Special tooth profile improves the efficiency of the power transmission
Off-centre hours and minutes
Date on an off-centre subdial
Patented ExoTourbillon at 6 o’clock (one revolution per minute to indicate the seconds) with a rhodium-finish tourbillon bridge
Chronograph: 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minute counters with double indication hands and corresponding sectorial scales
Travel function with rapid resetting of hour hand and date display, either forward or backward
Tourbillon can be stopped by directly halting the balance wheel
18 K white gold, polished case with satin-finish between the horns, bezel set with 76 diamonds
Crystal: Scratch-resistant, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both surfaces
Back: Screwed 18 K white gold back with inset pane of sapphire crystal with Vasco da Gama’s flagship, the São Gabriel, and his signature
Dimensions: Diameter = 44 mm; height = 14.79 mm
Water-resistance: 3 bar
Crown: 18 K white gold with Montblanc emblem in raised relief
Push-piece: Monopusher at 8 o’clock
Upper part made of aventurine depicts the sky at night with the patented Montblanc diamond at 12 o’clock and vertical satin-finished on the lower part, rhodium-finish sword-shaped hour and minute hands, date shown by a hand with a little red crescent at its tip on a blue flinqué guilloché wave pattern decoration on off-centre dial, chronograph with two counters with silver “fillets” (one counter for 60 elapsed seconds at 8 o’clock and a second counter for 30 elapsed minutes at 4 o’clock) with double indication hands and corresponding sectorial scales
Black alligator-skin strap crafted at the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence with 18 K white gold pin buckle
Limited Edition of 25 pieces
Certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500