Hands on with the Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition of 8

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Not a watch for the faint ‘wristed’, the newest iteration of the popular split second chronograph by Montblanc now comes in a burgundy colored dial. It is a retailer limited edition – Sincere edition with a limited edition of 8 pieces.

Retail price is SGD 51,000 with GST.

Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Sincere Edition

The Case and Dial

Housed in a robust, satin-finished, 44 mm Grade 5 titanium case, the Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 8 comes with a red gradated lacquered dial that has been created using a special process that takes dexterity and time to achieve.

First, a red varnish is applied to give the colour, then the dial is gradated by fading the centre. Fifteen layers of translucent lacquer are then applied to the dial, allowing time to dry between each layer for a contrasting shine. Finally, it is polished in order to avoid impurities, resulting in a distinctive dial.

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The red coloured background is paired with white elements that accentuate the vintage style, while also providing readability of the complications both at day and night.

The Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 8 has a white telemeter scale that runs around the dial, making it possible to measure the distance both visible and audible phenomenon, like the lightning and thunder in a storm. The user starts the chronograph hand as  soon as the phenomenon is seen (lightning) and then stops it when the sound is heard (thunder). 

This Split Second Chronograph is also equipped with a tachymeter (base 1000) at the centre of  the dial in a colimaçon (snail shape) — allowing the wearer to measure a length of time of up to  three minutes, as compared to one minute in most traditional chronograph scales.

The Movement

The timepiece is combined with a complex “rattrapante” (split second) complication developed  by the Montblanc engineers that enables the wearer to measure intermediate times without  interrupting the ongoing measurement of a longer elapsed time.

For increased legibility, the chronograph indications are displayed via a beige central chronograph second hand, an orange split second hand to measure a second time interval, and a  chronograph minute counter at three o’clock.  

The Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 8 is built with the Manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.31 that features two column wheels, horizontal coupling, and a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement is an evolution of the calibre MB M16.29 that was inspired by the original Minerva calibre 17.29 developed in the 1930s and made for both pocket watches and wristwatches. 

Like its predecessor, it is composed of the same V-shape bridge (its design was protected in 1912) and a large balance wheel with 18 screws  beating at the traditional frequency of 2.5 Hz / 18,000 A/H. The calibre MB M16.31 also brings the  17.29 lineage to a high level of fine watchmaking hand-finishing and manufacturing mastery.

The calibre MB M16.31 is particularly beautiful thanks to its handcrafted traditional finishing such  as “Côtes de Genève” (Geneva stripes), inner angles, circular graining, and bevelling, as well as  its fine details such as the recognizable Minerva arrow, the chronograph bridge shaped in the  form of a “V”, and a large screwed balance that has a traditional frequency of 18,000 semi oscillations per hour – all made at the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret. The Split Second  mechanism in the centre brings even more light to the entire movement. 

Concluding thoughts

It’s a large 44mm by 15mm watch, and has a busy tachymeter dial. But if you can forget those features and bask in the beauty of the Minerva based M16.31 movement, then you’re in for a real ride. The movement finishing is nothing short of brilliant, and what a sight it is with the centerpiece rattrapante mechanism. And yes, the fumé lacquer dial is also a stunner.

The Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph is a Sincere (Singapore retailer) limited edition of 8 and is priced at S$51,000.


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