Montblanc sits in comfortably with its new status as best value proposition with yet another stunning piece. The Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim. The watch is as utilitarian as it gets. It is well sized for the job, with adequate technical performance and priced at a steal. Most men or even ladies looking for a good bang for the buck should consider this piece.
Montblanc has been turning heads with this year’s SIHH, especially with the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum that we have covered previously. Their purchase of Minerva and the assimilation of the watch makers into its ecosystem have been largely welcome by observers of the brand. However, due to its thick associations with writing instruments and lean association with watchmaking, we find that Montblanc is still struggling to find a distinct identity in their watches. That said, we are hopeful, given the line up that they have presented this year. Now on to the watch.
Sized at 38 mm in diameter and 5.8 mm in height, the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim is thin, light and classic. In our view, calling the 5.8 mm case height an Ultra Thin is stretching the facts a bit too much. As a comparison, the Lange Saxonia Thin measures 5.9 mm high. Note Lange does not call it an ultra thin watch. In the true ultra thin category, the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee is only 4.05 mm, and the Piaget Altiplano is only 3.69 mm,
The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim comes in two versions, one in 18k rose gold and the other in stainless steel. The case is a simple 3 piece construction, consisting of the bezel, middle case and a see through sapphire case back. The lugs are slightly arched and is angled with a taper, and sits comfortably on the wrist. The entire case is polished. The stainless steel model is priced at USD $2260 and the solid gold model at USD $6400.
The dial is silver in colour and finished with a slight sun burst radial effect. Although reflective lines of the sunburst pattern are visible, the dial is otherwise matte and highly discreet. The arabic numerals and stick markers are highly legible on the clean dial with Dauphine hands and railroad minute markers. The brand nomenclature and subtitle are printed in an off black shade, almost grey in appearance. While we love that it is a two hand watch, we have heard some argue that a third hand in the form of a seconds hand or a seconds hand on a subdial at 6 would have made the dial look more complete.
The ultra thin uses the calibre MB 23.01 with manual winding mechanism. For the movement spotters, it is clear at a glance that the movement is the Perseaux/ETA 7001. The characteristic straight lines which defines the shapes of the bridges are the tell tale signs. The MB 23.01 is a simple, cost efficient yet bullet proof movement. It is adequately finished, with ‘Montblanc’ engraved on the bridge plate. The movement runs with approximately 40 hours on a full wind.
Montblanc is definitely riding the high wind with its new line up. They are challenging prices within the industry and are indeed making the news. Like with this ultra slim, we thought it was executed well and serves its intended purpose.
The only qualm that we have with it, is its uncanny visual similarity to Jaeger LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin collection. Be it the case design or dial layout, the ultra slim from both manufactures look negligibly different, though as noted the JLC trumps the Montblanc in the thin-ness game by quite a margin. Coincidentally, Montblanc’s CEO, Jérôme was previously CEO of Jaeger LeCoultre. Perhaps that might be a connection, although JLC’s ultra thins pre-dates Jérôme. The Le Sentier firm’s ultra thin days began in earnest decades ago in 1907 with the ultra thin pocket watch measuring 4.05 mm thick. While we love Montblanc’s transformation, and it having a ‘watch guy’ at its helm, we are equally excited to see the brand build its own style and hopefully break away from comparisons to its sibling.