Voltaire knew that “Perfect is the enemy of good.” In this sense, the excitement of Davide Cerrato, Managing Director Montblanc Watch Division is completely justifiable. He currently has one of the brand’s best watch stories to tell – the origins of the Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38. He calls this watch “magical”, a rare collectors dream, and a true lucky strike thanks to a fortunate find in the still slightly jumbled Minerva archives.
In there, they discovered 38 calibres of the manual wound movement Minerva MB M62.00 from 2003, which is inspired by a Minerva Pythagore calibre from 1948 – with an identical setup, yet an improved finishing. The large escapement in this movement runs with a slow-paced frequency of 18.000 vph (2,5 Hz) and offers a power reserve of 50 hours. Emerging from these 38 movements, Montblanc now established the new Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38.
Due to its particular genesis, it is a watch that relays very different stages of the brand’s history – from decades of upswing of the manufacture that was founded in 1858, the highly praised calibres of the first half of the 20th century, the time after the quartz crisis, to the many years under the lead of former owner Emilio Gnutti and his demand of highest workmanship. And, eventually, from the acquisition by Richemont in 2006, when Minerva’s history was implemented into the horological ambitions of Montblanc, that today belongs to the Richemont Group.
Ever since, Minerva – based in the Swiss town of Villeret – is responsible for the most exquisite pieces amongst the precious watches of the Montblanc collection. And the Heritage Small Second Limited Edition 38 is one of the most extraordinary models of recent times. It is not superficially limited for marketing reasons, but rather due to the lack of ‘material’ – in this case new-old-stock-movements.
Inspired by design elements from the 1940s, one can certainly spot a touch of vintage. At the same time, Super-LumiNova has been used for hands, numerals and indices to combine the beauty of the past with modern technical approaches. Hence, the horological possibilities of 2020 meet with 160 years of tradition – today and yesterday and ere yesterday mingle in this timeless dress watch.
The dial with a small seconds indication at six o’clock is decorated in two nostalgic-romantic rose shades and will most likely please vintage collectors as well as fans of contemporary design. This shade is highly coveted at the moment. Another subtle highlight reveals itself just underneath the 4 and 5 o’clock position – it shows a Minerva lettering on the dial, that Montblanc calls a secret signature. This is the very first time it has been included since the acquisition of the manufacture by Montblanc, and it ought to remain an exception, as a unique homage to underline the brand’s history.
The movement and dial are cased in a very classic, fully polished stainless-steel case with curved horns, 39 mm case diameter and a domed box-shaped sapphire crystal glass. The watch wears comfortably on almost any wrist. However, at a price of 17.900 euros, one or the other potential wearer might probably have wished for a white-gold case. Anyhow, it is a watch with a unique story, has the name of Minerva on the dial and is undoubtedly a very tempting model for Minerva and Montblanc collectors.
A production limit of only 38 pieces means there are only a few watches per continent available, Davide Cerrato emphasises. To actually meet another person with this exceptional piece is highly unlikely, even in the watch world. But if it happens, one thing is for sure: They will get on well and take a rose-tinted look into the past, not to mention future.