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With its Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Home Time, Montblanc pays tribute to a watchmaking genius


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25 February 2013

Montblanc’s success story began its course in 1906 when Alfred Nehemias, a Hamburg-based businessman, and August Eberstein, an engineer from Berlin, returned from travels in the United States. Fascinated by a not quite fully developed invention they had seen there, the fountain pen, they made it their goal to perfect it. Some two years later, their hearts swelling with pride, they launched the high-end 'Rouge et Noir' fountain pen, with a stylish body fashioned from ebony and topped by a red cap. This fountain pen didn’t leak and proved to be monumentally popular with customers. But instead of resting on their laurels, Nehemias and Eberstein developed a new design that went hand in hand with decisive improvements. Thus, the Montblanc fountain pen sporting the distinctive white star was born.

Their first shop, offering exclusively Montblanc writing instruments and corresponding stationery goods, opened its doors in Hamburg in 1919. This showroom was a forerunner of today’s modern luxury boutiques. Once again, the visionary founders were far ahead of their times. Their “Meisterstück“ was indeed a masterpiece of fine craftsmanship that would evolve into an international bestseller whose original shape remains all but unchanged to this very day.

Over the years, Montblanc became a synonym for precision work and the luxury of taking extra time as needed. As a logical consequence, Montblanc entered a related business, which requires the same kind of precision and time expenditure. In 1997, a Montblanc proprietary timepiece manufacture in Le Locle, at the heart of the Swiss Jura range, was established. With the acquisition of Minera, a small Villeret-based traditional watchmaking business well-known for its unusual hand-crafted products, Montblanc was able to broaden its own horological expertise.

Le Locle offers a welcome respite from our fast-paced society where one trend follows on the heels of another; where technology quickly becomes obsolete and is replaced, and where we dash from one appointment to the next. Le Locle is a rare haven where time doesn’t seem to play a role – even though time is, in fact, at the centre of everything here. The location of the Montblanc Manufacture is an almost magical place. Here, you still have time. The time needed to carry out the numerous individual steps that lead to a consummately perfect, highly precise instrument. Montblanc’s master watchmakers are deeply rooted in their craft, which presupposes exceptionally sure instincts and plenty of heart and soul. Everything in Le Locle is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the pioneering Nicolas Rieussec, who was vaulted into the annals of watchmaking history over 190 years ago when his chronograph was patented.

The creative team at Montblanc was spot on in forging the instantly recognizable Nicolas Rieussec chronographs. Unlike other chronographs, instead of featuring two pushers next to the crown, this timepiece has a single pusher at 8 o’clock. A monopusher chronograph unifies the three functions of start, stop and reset, thus allowing ergonomically optimal operation with the right thumb. Moreover, modelled after the first Rieussec chronographs, this chronograph has a pair of rotating discs. At the 8 o’clock position, a small disc counts the elapsed stop seconds. The second disc at the 4 o’clock position tallies up to 30 elapsed minutes. The twin discs on the new Rieussec chronographs are affixed to the dial by means of a red gold-plated bridge into which eye-catching ruby bearings are inserted to accept the tips of the staffs of the elapsed-seconds and elapsed-minutes hands.

This watch is perfectly suited for the modern cosmopolitan. Its elegant dial has an off-centre sub-dial to show the ordinary time as well as large apertures which allow a view to the partially skeletonised twelve-hour disc. This in turn reveals a second time zone, the home time. In place of a hand, here too, Rieussec’s rotating disc principle is put into action. The ingenious technical solution with three rotating discs gives this timepiece its outrageous aesthetic appeal and makes the dial part of the movement – absolutely stunning!
Under its distinctive face lies the new MB R210 self-winding in-house movement which combines classic chronograph mechanics with technological advances in a unique way. This innovative movement is precision-engineered with painstaking care at the Montblanc Manufacture.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Before the timepieces are ready to leave the manufacture in Le Locle they are subjected to a strict 500-hour test that simulates the watch’s first years of operation. This technique guarantees that each part, however fragile, will work reliably and durably.

An outstanding movement should be enhanced by an appropriate casing. The sapphire crystal watchback provides a view of the spectacular interior. The case and clasp are in 18-carat red gold; the armband is shaped from exquisite alligator leather and provides the finishing touch. The new Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Home Time has athletic appeal while also being elegant. This timepiece helps you to keep your fingers on the pulse of time. It enthrals with its unmistakable, timelessly beautiful design and technical precision down to the last detail. This is the Swiss art of watchmaking at its very finest.