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SIHH 2015: Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama

by Nick Gould on January 20, 2015

The new Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama pays tribute to the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama whose feat connected people’s lives on both the northern and southern hemispheres for centuries, not only geographically but also commercially and culturally.

Far more than merely a complicated wristwatch, the Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama also performs an unconventional horological performance.  The watch features a triple time zone with local time is displayed in the form of hours and minutes; the continually running and independently adjustable display for the home time is presented on a three-dimensional twelve-hour compass rose at “6 o’clock”; and a pair of globes depict the World´s 24 time zones in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, along with the passage of the days and nights.

Engraving and miniature painting on these two halved balls indicate in relief the outlines of the continents, their borders and the oceans that separate them. The passage of time accordingly becomes an impressive and daily recurring spectacle on the wearer’s wrist and recalls the sea route through the Earth’s two hemispheres that Vasco da Gama sailed in 1497.

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The Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama

The globes illustrate the passage of the days and nights in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Their elaborately crafted and finely detailed design also shows the circles of latitude and longitude. The two globes are motionlessly affixed to the movement, while two 24-hour worldtime indicator discs with the day/night rotate once per day around them. The disc for the Northern Hemisphere turns clockwise; its counterpart for the Southern Hemisphere rotates anticlockwise. This arrangement enables the watch’s wearer to view, in the course of a single day, the sunlit halves of the two globes and the halves that are currently turned away from the sun. With the aid of the meridians of longitude, the viewer can read the current hour in any desired part of the world by following the 24-hour world-time display on the two discs.

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North and South: The two globes representing the Northen and South Hemispheres

The continually running and independently adjustable display for the home time at “6 o’clock” on the dial of the Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama is inspired by the gigantic marble compass rose at the base of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This monument, which commemorates Portuguese discoverers, stands in the civil parish of Belém in Lisbon. Comparable to a miniature sculpture, the watch’s compass rose is composed of four parts, each of which is entirely handmade and manually decorated.

Montblanc developed the 281-part hand-wound Calibre MB M68.40 featuring a 91-part tourbillon mechanism with a cylindrical hairspring which guarantees a power reserve of 48 hours. The balance’s frequency is 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz). Thanks to its 14.5-mm diameter, the balance’s moment of inertia is an 59 mgcm². Few manufactures nowadays employ artisans with the necessary know-how and craftsmanly skills to fabricate their own balance wheels and hairsprings. Without these abilities, Montblanc could never have developed the cylindrical hairspring for the Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama.

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The tourbillon mechanism with a cylindrical hairspring

A master watchmaker requires more than seven days to entirely handcraft this distinctive tourbillon bridge and to give it an absolutely immaculate polished finish.

Montblanc’s 16¾-line Calibre MB M68.40 is embedded in a 47-mm-diameter and 15.38-mm-height red gold case. The wristband is made of alligator-skin on both sides and is affixed between two pairs of rounded, elaborately hand-polished horns. The names of 24 cities in the Northern Hemisphere and another two dozen metropolises in the Southern Hemisphere are engraved along with the matching time zones on the back of the case. The limitation numbers from “01/18” to “18/18”, the serial number and the reference numbers are engraved on the sapphire crystal in the back of the case.

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Caseback: The names of 24 cities engraved into the caseback along with the matching timezones

The Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama is a Limited Edition of 18 pieces.

Specifications from Press Release

Montblanc Collection Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama- Ident.111675 –  Limited to 18 Pieces

Movement

Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB M68.40 Movement

  • Type of movement: Hand-wound mechanical movement with one-minute tourbillon
    and cylindrical hairspring; triple time zone with local-time, home time and worldtime indication
  • Dimensions :16¾ lines (38.40 mm); height = 10.50 mm
  • No. of components 281, including 91 for the tourbillon cage
  • No. of rubies 18
  • Power reserve Approx. 48 hours
  • Balance Screw balance, diameter = 14.5 mm, moment of inertia = 59 mgcm²
  • Frequency 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 Hz)
  • Hairspring Cylindrical hairspring with double Phillips terminal curves
  • Tourbillon One-minute tourbillon with cylindrical hairspring
  • Main plate Rhodium-plated nickel silver with circular graining on both sides
  • Bridges Rhodium-plated nickel silver with côtes de Genève
  • Going-train Gold-plated, faceted arms, diamond-polished surfaces

Case

  • Case 18-karat red gold (5N)
  • Crystal Scratch-resistant, domed sapphire crystal with antireflective treatment on both surfaces
  • Back 18-karat red gold (5N) back with 24 cities of both hemispheres engraved and with inset pane of sapphire crystal
  • Dimensions Diameter = 47 mm, height = 15.38 mm
  • Watertightness 3 bar

Dial

18-karat gold hands, hand-guilloché wave decoration around the tourbillon cage and “grainé” pattern on the lower part, tourbillon with cylindrical hairspring and double-infinity bridge. Worldtime indication on two discs with 24-hour time zones with day and night indication revolving around two fixed globes with traditional hand-painted peinture miniature for the oceans and engraving for the continents and the meridians showing the Northern Hemisphere on the left and the Southern Hemisphere on the right. Home-time indication at “6 o’clock” above a three-dimensional handcrafted rose des vents subdial; 18-karat red gold hour- and minute-hand in the centre, blued “Fleur-de-Lys” home-time hand at “6 o’clock”

Other Features

  • Crown 18-karat red gold (5N) crown with Montblanc’s emblem in mother -of-pearl
  • Pusher Local-time pusher at “8 o’clock” and home-time corrector at “4 o’clock”
  • Strap Hand-sewn black alligator-skin strap with alligator lining and with a folding clasp made of 18-karat red gold (5N)
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