The Montblanc Experience
First, I wish to thank Deployant for giving me this chance to do a write-up documenting my experience with Montblanc, the excellent service and value provided by their team.
My close friend, Nick from the Deployant Team extended an invite to me to attend Montblanc’s “2016 Novelties” event at the Marina Bay Sands back in March. It was truly a great evening not only due to the fine champagne & food present there but rather, the extensive display of Montblanc’s Villeret Collection. The Villeret collection was as a result of the partnership between Minerva and Montblanc after parent company Richemont’s acquisition of Fabrique d’Horlogerie Minerva SA back in 2006. This subsequently led to the establishment of the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie to continue the fine watchmaking traditions of Minerva.
One of Montblanc’s challenge is having the need to raise awareness of its fine watch collections namely, the Villeret Collection. This is not only to dispel the notion that they are only pen makers but rather, to start establishing themselves as serious competitors in the fine watchmaking industry.
The “2016 Novelties” event allowed all invited guests to have a closer understanding of Minerva’s traditions and values, especially the level of commitment the people at Minerva put behind watchmaking. Of course, this would not have been possible without the presence of Mr. Julien Miribel, Villeret watchmaker, who is ever passionate about sharing the Minerva story and history of the watches to allow individuals like myself to better appreciate the quality of work that goes behind the collection. Also, credits must be given to all the Montblanc sales associates for readily attending to guests during the evening. I would like to thank sales associate, Mr. Deric Tham for taking every opportunity to show and introduce to me the different collections present in the boutique and Deric was patient and thorough in answering any question I had on the watches displayed, kudos to that!
In fact, I was so impressed by both service and the quality of the watches that I arranged for an appointment with both Julien and Deric the following day to view the watches once more.
Once again, this is where I feel Montblanc really sets itself apart from other watchmakers. Both Julien and Deric took their time to share with me on the various aspects & challenges of fine watchmaking as well as the points of differentiation between Montblanc Villeret and other brands. In addition to that, they also arranged for a hands-on session to allow for a better understanding as to the challenges each watchmaker has to contend with in making an exceptional watch such as the Montblanc Villeret.
After the session, Julien very kindly recommended me to purchase the Vintage Tachydate from The Collection Villeret 1858 Vintage. This is a very special collection because it pays tribute to Minerva’s past, a time where chronograph watches are entirely hand-made and carries with it functionality such as speed measurement.
Here is my quick review of the watch I bought:
Case, dial and hands
The case is made of 18K white gold, beautifully finished. One of the more captivating features of the watch is the white dial, simple and elegant. The white dial complements well with the blued hands and red chronograph hand. What stands out is the Minerva stamp at the base of the watch, recognizing the Minerva connection of the watch. There are two smaller dials located at the 3 & 9 o’clock positions of the watch for the use of the chronograph function.
Also, it is worth mentioning that this is the first Minerva Chronograph with a date display at the 6 o’clock position, giving the watch a modern touch to it
along with the double tachymeter scale that measures speed of up to 1000 km/h. The latter highlights the quality of work and design put behind the watch that spans more than a hundred years ago where such scale of measurements were able to be taken using instruments that could only be made entirely by hand back in the past.
Watch In-house Movement: Montblanc Calibre 16.32
The movement is a true mark of excellence, every component is finished by hand and this is where a true watch collector will recognize the value of the watch.
The Minerva movement is easily recognizable from the Minerva bridge design and its curved tails a.k.a “the devil’s tail”. The movement bears similar size to that of the Minerva 16.29 in the 1858 Chronograph while it is bigger in size when compared to the Minerva 13.21 used in the Villeret Collection Pulsograph. Considering the watch is a manually wound monopusher chronograph, it does show the great level of complexity behind the movement design. Like the Minerva 16.29, the watch movement runs at 18,000 bph and as shared by Julien, the movement is made entirely in-house in the Villeret factory which further adds value to the watch.
Quality of Service
I have to add that purchasing my watch from Montblanc is definitely a memorable experience and this is only possible with the dedication and professionalism from both Deric and Julien. They went great depths to ensure that the customer like myself truly understands what Montblanc Villeret stood for. This enabled me to not only know what I am buying but also recognize the value of the watch and enjoy appreciating it. Julien also took great effort to give the watch a full refurbishment before handing it over to me; polishing, re-oiling of parts and calibration.
For any watch collectors out there, I would strongly recommend having a look at Montblanc’s watch offerings. They may be renowned for their pens but I am sure that if you take both the time and opportunity to understand their value proposition as well as experience the quality service by them, you will be in for a surprise!