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Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph - ink no longer required
Better known as the producers of writing instruments of the finest quality, Montblanc is a relatively newcomer to the world of haute horlogerie. Since it first presented its watches in 1997, the Montblanc’s collection manufactured in Le Locle has gained a credible reputation for its respect of tradition as well as its innovation. The Montblanc Villeret hand-made collection, formally known as Minerva and acquired in 2007, sealed the company as one which epitomizes the art of high-quality Swiss watchmaking,
Nicolas Rieussec and an equine related debut
September 1st, 1821, a race meeting in Paris, and Nicolas Rieussec succeeds in recording the times of horses passing the finishing post to an accuracy of a 1/4 of a second.
The times were recorded on two discs beneath an ink-filled marker.
He then sought to protect his idea and on March 9th, 1822 Nicolas Rieussec registered the patent for the first chronograph. It allowed for time to be measured at an accuracy of 1/5 of a second. Montblanc have honoured him. In 2008 came the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, followed in 2009 by the introduction of the Open Date model. Now a strictly, limited edition of 25, has been produced to mark the 190th anniversary of Rieussec’s patent, the Anniversary Edition, in which the lever and escapement are made of silicon. It is a fitting tribute because in its making Montblanc have presented an exemplar of traditional craftsmanship but also innovation in the movement and the overall design.
The wonder of silicon
That Montblanc have chosen to use silicon in the making of this timepiece offers the opportunity to create components which can be wafer thin, lightweight, durable, and non-magnetic and which are not subject to corrosion. So both lever and escape-wheel are fashioned from silicon. It also means greater reliability because being lighter the escapement’s action uses less energy, conserving the power reserve, plus silicon components being smooth and scratch resistant there is less wear.
White and partly skeletonised, the dial is white to which the red gold imparts warmth.
The hours and minutes are displayed in the upper portion of the dial, off set from the centre.
The date is indicated by a disc which rotates against a fixed hand set below the hours and minutes hands.
The hands are blued, parabolic with an open aspect. The Arabic numerals are bold and curvaceous and stand out boldly, not being subdued by the static and moving elements of the three sub-dials.
The open date dial and chronograph dials are partly skeletonized which affords viewing of the movement within.
The chronograph measures 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minutes on rotating discs whilst the blued hands remain static. The two dials are connected by Clos de Paris de Paris pattern and an interesting bridge with blued screws, again this adds interest, another distinctive feature, not one which confuses but one which draws the eye to the information being imparted.
It is the combination of static and motion and the view of the movement which adds particular interest to the face.
A lot is happening on the dial and the visibility of the movement adds to that and yet all is clear and well laid out.
Classical, traditional, free flowing, the gently curving smooth lines of the case compliment the details of the face and do not vie with it. At 43mm it is quite large but it is gracefully fashioned, does not appear bulky but is reserved, eye-catching without being overstated. The depth is 14.8 mm and the whole has a pleasing strength in appearance that says reliability and dependability. The simple form enhances the dial’s layout. Delicately the dial is encircled and the outer edge of the case defined whilst a simple stepping on the outer edge of the lugs adds a touch of interest.
The knurled crown with its Montblanc emblem rests at 3 o’clock whilst the chronograph is operated by a simple pusher, smoothly rectangular, which is discretely set at 8 o’clock. Neither detracts from form or line.
The crown is operated gently when setting the time. There is a delicacy in the operation and also practicality because the Anniversary edition can be set both forward and backwards.
The lugs align neatly with case both front and back. The brown alligator strap sits well with the red gold case and the double clasp, also in red gold, operates with ease when treated reverently, just as the crown does.
The sapphire crystal back allows the power reserve displayed there to be viewed. The watch has a power reserve of 72 hours.
The movement, the Montblanc Calibre MB R120 is manual. It is based on the MB R110 but with the refinement of the silicon lever and escape-wheel. An attribute clearly emblazoned in the arch above the fixed date hand; “SILICON ESCAPEMENT”.
It has 31 jewels. The rubies, there to reduce friction are on view.
The plate and bridges are rhodium plated the former circularly grained, the latter with Geneva stripes. Here the attention to detail and traditional craftsmanship is to be applauded.
A special feature, to reiterate, is the travel function with fast forward and backward resetting of the hour hand and also of the date display.
This is a watch impressive in appearance which allows access to view those special touches which make it remarkable and worthy of carrying the Nicolas Rieussec name.
Now you can rejoice in the measurement of time without ink!
- Model: Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Silicon Escapement
- Movement: Manual wind Calibre MB R120.
- Silicon escapement.
- Jewels: 31
- Power Reserve: 72 hours
- Case: Red gold, 43 mm
- Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds: Chronograph; date.
- Strap: Brown alligator, red gold double clasp