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Review: Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph LE100

by Chester Lau on December 17, 2015

Just last week, Montblanc gave us a pre-SIHH glimpse of the TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph LE100. Truth be told, we are once again impressed with their lineup. Although not an entirely new model, this redesigned limited edition ExoTourbillon reminds us that Montblanc is a force to be reckoned with. It’s no longer just ‘that pen brand’.

montblanc-ezotourbillon-dialup

The Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph LE100, limited edition to 100 pieces.

The Case

The Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph LE100 is a sporty interpretation of the previous Heritage ExoTourbillon model. It uses a reinvented case made in titanium and uses a auto inspired red and black colour theme. The case design is an interesting one. Similar to the fusion concept that was first popularised by Audemars Piguet and Hublot, the ExoTourbillon plays with the combination of materials, finish and colours of the case.

montblanc-ezotourbillon-oblique

Side profile features the unique cut out lugs on a full titanium case. The trademark Montblanc insignia on the crown and lugs.

Side profile shows the centre main case chamber that is made of titanium with a carbon fibre exterior.

The case construction is unique, with cut out lugs attached to a main central case along the sides. The lugs component of the case is made of titanium with a matte finish, while the central case is titanium and covered in carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is a material made from compressed resin through a phyiscal and chemical process under high heat. Carbon fibre is used extensively in modern supercars and race cars due to its extreme lightweight and strength. This makes its use on the case consistent to the watch’s automotive theme. The bezel of the watch is made from DLC sandblasted titanium.

montblanc-ezotourbillon-dial

The Monopusher button at the 8 o’clock position is used to start stop and reset the chronograph movement.

The Dial

The colour theme and numerals font on the dial once again reinforce the sporty look of the watch. In particular, the subdials and counters create a dashboard effect that makes the watch look like it came right out of a sports car. While the dial looks cluttered, with an over expression of information, the symmetry of its layout reassures its wearer. Space is an issue when the chronograph is fitted with an ExoTourbillon.

The small minute tourbillon cage is the centre piece of the dial, seen here with nicely chamfered bridges.

The small minute tourbillon cage is the centre piece of the dial, seen here with nicely chamfered bridges.

And for this reason, we have to objectively say that the dial is used with great economy. Noteworthy is the innovative seconds and minutes counter displays which use semicircle markings instead of a full circle display as per traditional chronographs. With the counter cut in half and the hands still going the full circle (not jumping, sadly), Montblanc comes up with a simple solution for readability. It uses a double hand. With the white longer side running on the white outside track and the red shorter side running on the inner red track. This way, both subdials are halved and there is more space for the ExoTourbillon.

montblanc-ezotourbillon-back

Open caseback reveals the twin barrel movement designed based on Nicolas Rieussec’s movement. The calibre MB R230 has approximately 50 hours power reserve.

The Movement

The Montblanc TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph LE100 uses the calibre MB R230. It features a time display, date pointer, monopusher minutes chronograph and an ExoTourbillon. The movement is a twin barrel integrated column wheel chronograph that has approximately 50 hours power reserve. It beats at 3 Hz and houses 230 components. Unique to Montblanc, the ExoTourbillon has hack seconds and has its balance wheel outside of the cage. Isolated from the disturbing inertia of the cage, the balance oscillates with greater isochronism.

montblanc-ezotourbillon-columnwheel

The movement plate has a cut out that reveals the column wheel of the movement.

The movement plates are rhodium plated and finished with circular grains. Further innovation includes the deliberate cut out portion on the main plate which gives light to the column wheel pivotal to the function of the monopusher chronograph. While the quality of finish is not as substantial as it is on the Minerva movements, the ExoTourbillon is nonetheless adequately finished for its price range. With the multiple complications, the extremely difficult to make Monopusher chronograph layered with an ExoTourbillon and priced at S$62,000, Montblanc once again delivers value for money.

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