When Montblanc’s parent company, the Richemont Group, acquired storied movement manufacture Minerva in 2006, there was no shortage of potential applications within the Group’s extensive portfolio, which includes the likes of IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre Piaget, and Panerai. Thankfully, becoming a mere production site for these and other prestige brands wasn’t in the cards for Minerva. Instead, their movements would be reserved solely for Montblanc and their new Villeret collection. Throw in the addition of ex-Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Jérôme Lambert in 2013, and Montblanc had a new lease on life.
Bringing Minerva into the fold and the subsequent shakeup in management cast a new light on Montblanc, and brought new interest from buyers more accustomed to living upstream from the brand widely known for fine pens. The new reputation also brought an opportunity to re-establish their line of entry-level watches. Taking the lead in this realm is the Heritage Chronométrie Collection; one watch in particular, the Quantième Complet, is a perfect example of a serious complication without the sticker shock.
The Heritage Chronométrie Quantième Complet is a full calendar watch, meaning it’ll track the day, date and month, but will need adjustments on months that don’t contain 31 days (via an inset button on the side of the case). A classic dial arrangement is beset with contemporary design cues, highlighted by the “12, 3, 9” applied hour indices. Day and month apertures reside beside one another at 12:00, with the date relegated to the outer edge of the dial, read via the blue hand with a crescent at its business end. A theatrical touch comes in the form of a moonphase display, complete with stylized moon and stars at 6 o’clock on the dial.
It’s a practical design executed with minimal fuss, and while it may not be original, it gets the important details (proportions, materials and size) just right. The steel case is 40mm in diameter and a pinch under 10mm in height, so it’ll slip under a cuff with ease and won’t be susceptible to shifting trends.
The Quantième Complet’s movement is a Montblanc caliber MB 29.16, built using an off-the-shelf base from Sellita, paired with a Dubois Dépraz module for the full calendar. It’s not the sexy Minerva movement, but it’s nothing to scoff at. Best of all, it keeps the price under five grand — so you might have enough left to get in on a fine pen to match your watch.