The Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph is a tribute to the inventor of the first chronograph, Nicolas Rieussec, who patented his device in 1821. The watch features a distinctive design that replicates the original chronograph’s rotating discs and ink markers, which were used to measure the elapsed time of horse races.
Press Release with commentary in italics.
New: Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec
The Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph 43mm (Ident. 130986) and the Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph 43mm – Limited Edition 500 (Ident. 130985) are two new versions of the watch.
The watches have two subdials for the chronograph minutes and seconds, which are aligned along the vertical axis and have a skeletonized design that reveals the movement underneath. The watches also have a third subdial for the second time zone, which can be adjusted by a monopusher at 8 o’clock. The date window is located at 6 o’clock, and the day/night indicator is integrated into the second time zone subdial.
The main difference between the two models is the color scheme and the case material. The regular version (Ident. 130986) has a stainless steel case with a blue dial and a matching blue strap. The limited edition version (Ident. 130985) has a DLC-coated stainless steel case with a black dial and a brown strap. The limited edition version is also restricted to 500 pieces worldwide and has a special engraving on the caseback that reads “Limited Edition of 500”.
Both watches are powered by the Montblanc Caliber MB R200, an in-house automatic movement that boasts a column wheel, a vertical clutch, and a double barrel that provides a 72-hour power reserve. The movement also has a silicon hairspring that enhances its accuracy and resistance to magnetic fields. The movement can be admired through the sapphire caseback, which also displays the signature of Nicolas Rieussec.
The Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph 43mm and the Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph 43mm – Limited Edition 500 are fascinating watches that combine historical inspiration, technical innovation, and aesthetic refinement. They are versatile as a modern classic design watch with a rather large case, but with just the right amount of innovation.
Following the release of two new Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph models in a smaller 43mm case size in 2022, Montblanc returns with two new contemporary interpretations of the special model that are a beautiful continuation of this timekeeping story.
The first is a limited edition of 500 pieces in a stainless steel case with a black DLC coating and an anthracite dial, and the second, unlimited edition, comes in stainless steel with a deep blue dial with rhodium-coated hands and counters.
How It Started
The story started on Saturday 1st September 1821 at Paris’s famous Champs-de-Mars horse racing track where Nicolas Rieussec was testing one of his latest inventions, a timekeeper designed to record the precise times of all the horses as they crossed the finish line.
Nicolas Rieussec (1781-1866) was not only the sixth royal watchmaker to the King of France; he was also a businessman with an eye for opportunity. Horse races in Paris at this time were big business and being able to scientifically record the winners would be a gamechanger for the sport.
How Did Nicolas Rieussec’s Device Work?
Nicolas Rieussec’s device worked using a fixed nib that would place a drop of ink on two rotating counters (one for the minutes, the other for the seconds) each time a horse crossed the finish line. His invention was a success and a few weeks later, he presented it to the Academy of Sciences in Paris, whose members were fascinated by the timing device and named it a “chronograph,” taken from the Greek word chronos for time and graphein to write. The word chronograph was born and Nicolas Rieussec became the inventor of the world’s first inking chronograph, marking the history of fine watchmaking.
The Very First Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Collection
Fast forward to the modern day and the year 2007, Montblanc unveiled an intriguing wristwatch version of Nicolas Rieussec’s technology, featuring its first in-house movement. The configuration of Rieussec’s design was interpreted with two horizontally aligned chronograph counters, one for elapsed 60 seconds and the other indicating 30 minutes. Instead of each counter being static with its own rotating hand, the counters were the ones to turn and a single index marker placed between the two counters indicated the elapsed time.
A New Era
Over the years, Montblanc has presented an array of different iterations of the design with different materials, finishings and colors. This year, the classic timepiece returns with two new looks. One comes in a stainless steel case with a black DLC coating, anthracite-colored dial, and rose gold-coated hands and indexes, while the second has been designed with a stainless steel case and a deep blue dial with rhodium-coated hands and indexes. Both new models feature several details that reinforce the historical Paris connection, where the story first began.
The Parisian Connection
There are a number of elements that celebrate The City of Light. Firstly, there is a graphic Clous de Paris motif on the dial (replacing the previous Grain d’Orge design) a traditional design that originates from the geometric design of Paris’s cobbled streets. The motif, not uncommon in fine watchmaking, is continued onto the textile strap and the oscillating weight, which is quite unusual, and enhances the contemporary aesthetic of the timepiece.
Other modern details include open-worked indexes, dynamic dauphine hands with Super-LumiNova, baton indexes, a black semi-transparent sapphire crystal on the caseback, blued screws on the movement, and strong color contrasts between the different elements on each dial. Completing the Paris connection, a mention in French of the “Académie des Sciences de Paris” is engraved on the flange, as a reminder that the academy validated Rieussec’s invention in 1821. The name “Chronographe Nicolas Rieussec” is also engraved at 12 o’clock.
The Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph is powered by the self-winding Manufacture monopusher chronograph movement MB R200 that was the very first in-house movement by the Maison. Everything in the movement has been designed to reach a high level of technical efficiency and aesthetics.
As someone would expect from a Manufacture Chronograph, it is equipped with a column-wheel that controls the monopusher mechanism. To improve the chronograph’s start, the connection between the gear train and the chronograph’s wheels is alternately engaged and disengaged by a vertical disc clutch and functions without any wear and tear. This mechanism prevents the elapsed time discs from jumping when the chronograph is switched on. The timepiece features a monopusher which is ergonomically positioned at 8 o’clock, where the wearer’s thumb can conveniently operate it.
Additionally, a rapid-reset mechanism for the hour and date is very practical for travelers who journey from one time zone to another. These indicators can be reset either clockwise or counter- clockwise without affecting the position of the minute-hand.
The rate is regulated by a large 10-mm-diameter balance wheel with screws, which oscillates regularly thanks to its high moment of inertia (12 mgcm2) and its frequency of 28,800 A/h (4 Hz). The stable rate is further enhanced by the double barrel, providing 72 hours of power reserve. Furthermore, the balance bridge is open-worked, ensuring the precise positioning of the oscillator for optimal shock resistance.
The new Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph pay homage to Rieussec’s invention and the city of its birth. Numerous new design elements take this classic timepiece firmly into the future of fine watchmaking for further generations of watch lovers to enjoy.